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Important Ordinances in the City of Pacific Grove

Pacific Grove, located on the beautiful Monterey Peninsula, is a charming coastal city known for its natural beauty, Victorian architecture, and rich history. If you're considering buying or selling real estate in Pacific Grove, it's important to understand the local ordinances that govern property transactions. These ordinances ensure the preservation of the city's unique character and help maintain the high quality of life for its residents. Here are some key ordinances that can impact real estate sales in Pacific Grove.

1. Historic Preservation Ordinance:

Pacific Grove takes pride in its well-preserved historic buildings and neighborhoods. The city's Historic Preservation Ordinance aims to protect the architectural integrity of designated historic properties. If you own or plan to purchase a property, there may be specific guidelines and restrictions on modifications and renovations. Obtaining permits and approvals from the city's Historic Resources Committee may be required to ensure compliance with the ordinance. As a reminder, age is not the only factor that designates a historic home. A neighborhood, a type of architecture, a well-known architect, a historically significant resident or home owner that lived in the home are just a few of the considerations. If you plan on buying and making any changes to your home, always check with the city BEFORE you buy to make sure you understand it's designation.

2. Short-Term Rental Regulations:

Pacific Grove has implemented regulations on short-term vacation rentals to strike a balance between tourism and the residential character of the community. The city restricts short-term rentals (30 days or less) exclusively to the coastal zone. All other areas of Pacific Grove are off limits to STR's so it's crucial to familiarize yourself with the zoning regulations and permit requirements.

3. Tree Preservation Ordinance:

Monterey County is home to a vast number of beautiful trees and Pacific Grove is no exception. A tree preservation ordinance exists throughout the county to preserve heritage and landmark trees. If you plan to make changes to the landscaping or remove trees on a property, you may need to consult an arborist, obtain permits, and follow specific guidelines for tree trimming and removal. Protected species include; All Gowen cypress, regardless of size; all Coast live oak, Monterey cypress, Shore pine, Torrey pine, and Monterey pine six inches or greater in trunk diameter, measured at 54 inches above native grade. Consult the County and City guidelines for more details

4. Water Conservation Measures:

As a coastal city, Pacific Grove falls under the jurisdiction of the Monterey Peninsula Water Management District. Each title transfer will require a water inspection and retrofit certification to ensure that the transferred property is compliant with current water conserving guidelines. These may include low-flush toilets, low-flow shower heads, aerators on faucets, and rain sensors for irrigation systems. You can't add bathrooms or water fixtures to your property unless you have additional water credits so make sure you understand your water availability. One more note, we are required to follow weekly water schedules that restrict watering days and times.

5. Point of Sale Ordinance:

This ordinance requires that a Residential Zoning Records Report (RZRR - also known as City Report) be completed prior to the close of escrow, transfer of title for sale or exchange of any residential property, on all single-family dwellings, condos and apartment buildings. This process involves research of records on file and an exterior inspection of the property.

There are other rules and regulations that relate to building codes including height restrictions, set backs, fencing etc. Each property is unique and warrants individual research. The term "buyer beware" is relevant here. Do your due diligence and research before buying. By understanding and adhering to the regulations, you can ensure a smooth and compliant real estate transaction while contributing to the preservation of Pacific Grove's character and natural beauty.

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