Frequently Asked Questions - Municipal Code and Land Development Code
Please note that by their very nature, most of these FAQs are brief, or carry a shortened version of the actual code section that covers any specific question. You are encouraged to read the actual section available on-line in the Code Compliance, Ordinances & Backflow Prevention page to obtain the full code.
1. My neighbor parks his car in the front yard, is that legal?
See the Land Development Code section 4.203, X
Probably not, the Town of Gilbert regulates the parking of vehicles; all vehicles must be parked on an improved surface of asphalt, concrete, cement or gravel that is done in such a manner that it meets conditions of the code. The only areas approved for parking are the garage, the drive leading to the garage, or an improved area adjacent to the driveway. So parking a vehicle on grass or the landscaped front yard would be a violation of Town codes.
There is a junk car in the neighbor's yard. What can be done about it?
See the Land Development Code section 4.5014, C
Inoperable vehicles must be stored in a fenced area, a fully enclosed building, or at a business engaged in Vehicle Services or Motor Vehicle Sales and Leasing.
Note: a fenced area may be a person’s backyard and the fence does not necessarily have to be non-see through. For example, a ranch-style fence is sufficient and vehicles may still be seen through this type of fence even though they are legally stored
Inoperable vehicles are those which are incapable of being legally driven on a street.
3. What is the code on commercial vehicles?
See the Land Development Code section 4.203, W
The code defines a Commercial Vehicle as 'Any vehicle licensed as a commercial vehicle'. In other words, a vehicle may appear to be a commercial vehicle in that it carries ladders, parts or equipment, or may have a company name or logo painted on it, but it would not be considered a Commercial Vehicle unless it was licensed as such.
One commercial vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle rating of more than 5 tons may be parked on residential lots or parcels 1 acre or larger, subject to the following conditions:
a. The vehicle shall be parked behind the rear wall plane of the main building on the lot or parcel;
b. The vehicle shall be no closer than 10 feet from any property line; and
c. The vehicle shall be screened from view from any streets and abutting property by a solid fence or landscaping.
2. One commercial vehicle with a manufacturer's gross vehicle rating of 5 tons or less may be parked on residential lots or parcels less than 1 acre, subject to the following conditions:
a. The vehicle shall not be parked in the required street front or street side setback area; and (this would include the driveway)
b. The vehicle shall be screened from view from streets and abutting property by a solid wall or landscaping.
4. My neighbor's house has weeds litter and junk stored everywhere, what can be done?
Litter includes accumulations of trash, litter, weeds, auto parts, open storage and other similar uses. Allowing the accumulation of litter, debris, open storage of personal items and/or the growth of weeds in excess of ten (10) inches are all prohibited by Code.
Generally, the Town does not intrude into peoples back and side yards and will only deal with that which is clearly visible from a public place.
The house behind us has a really junky backyard, I can see it from my balcony can anything be done about it?
The litter code as well as most other codes is based on the impact and visibility of the violations from outside the property. As such, things that are stored in the rear yard are not subject to regulations and/or enforcement, the exception would be something that would still cause a nuisance or hazard to neighbors. For example, animal droppings or other putrescible waste that is causing odor and having a impact on neighbors would be prohibited. Another example might be a pool or pond with stagnant water that is causing insect as well as odor problems.
Even weeds are not regulated in a rear yard unless there is an impact. Screened from view is determined at a standard person’s height and as such screening from a second story window or balcony is not required.
Does a storage shed require a Town Building Permit?
This is strictly a matter of size and use, any building that is 120 square feet in size or larger requires a building permit. A permit is required also if any utilities such as electrical and/or plumbing are installed in the storage shed or if the storage shed is connected to the house or another structure of any kind. Structures of less than 120 square feet do not require a permit from the Town to build, but proper setbacks are required. Although your own specific development may vary, as rule a five (5) foot setback is required for any structure six (6) feet in height, a further one (1) foot setback is required for each additional one (1) foot in height. For additional information, please contact Development Services (480) 503-6700.
What is the Town code on Pool Fencing and gates into pool areas?
See the Land Development Code 4.107, B
All swimming pools shall be enclosed by walls of a single-family residential building or by a solid wall or a chain link or wrought iron fence not less than five (5) feet nor more than six (6) feet in height. If the design or the material of the fence or gate is such that there are openings, such openings shall be of a size to prohibit a spherical object four inches in diameter from passing through or under the fence or gate.
All gates shall be substantially the same height as the wall or the fence and shall be self-closing and self-latching and be constructed in such a manner as to prevent uninvited access.
Exception: Double width (RV) gates which are not the sole means of ingress and egress shall not be required to be self-closing and self-latching but must be padlocked at all times when not being used.
My neighbor is running a business out of his house is that legal?
See the Land Development Code 4.107, B
Home Occupations are allowed in all zoning districts subject to the guidelines below:
A. Incidental to Principal Residential Use. A Home Occupation use is incidental to the principal use of the dwelling unit for residential purposes.
B. Location. Other than Home Occupation Day Care, a Home Occupation use may only be conducted within the dwelling unit or an accessory structure.
1. Other than family members residing within the dwelling unit located on the lot or parcel, there shall be no more than one full time equivalent employee working at the home occupation.
2. The lot or parcel shall not be used as a headquarters for the assembly of employees for instruction or other purposes, including dispatch to other locations.
D. Exterior Appearance.
1. The residential character of the property shall be maintained. There shall be no signs, display of merchandise or stock in trade, outdoor storage of materials, or other exterior indication of a home occupation.
2. When a Home Occupation use is conducted within any garage, the doors to the garage shall remain closed.
3. A Home Occupation use shall not result in any structural alterations or additions to a building that will change its primary use or building code occupancy classification.
E. Storage. On-site storage of hazardous materials including toxic, explosive, noxious, combustible, or flammable materials beyond those normally incidental to residential use is prohibited.
F. Neighborhood Impacts. A Home Occupation use shall not produce noise, odors,
vibrations, glare, dust, fumes, or electrical interference above those levels normally expected in the residential neighborhood.
G. Traffic Generation. A Home Occupation use shall not generate vehicular or truck traffic in greater volume than that normally expected in the residential district in which the home occupation is located.
H. Parking. Any parking for the Home Occupation use shall be on site and comply with the requirements of Article 4.2: Off-Street Parking and Loading Regulations.
I. Licensing. Home Occupations shall comply with applicable licensing requirements.
9. The neighbor's dog is barking all the time, can something be done about the constant noise its driving us crazy?
See Municipal Code section 6.2
Yes, barking dogs are handled by the Gilbert Police Department and the Code Compliance Department on a complaint basis, the Municipal Code section on barking dogs reads as follows:
It is unlawful to keep or harbor any dog which by frequent, habitual or continued barking, yelping or howling shall cause an annoyance or inconvenience to a neighbor or to people passing to and from upon the public streets or sidewalks. No summons and complaint shall be issued nor shall there be a conviction for violation of this subsection unless there are at least two complaining witnesses from separate households who shall have signed such complaint and shall have testified at trial.
It is important to note that the Town cannot move forward with court action without having the required two complainants
How many farm animals are allowed on a residential lot?
See the Municipal Code section 6-126 for definitions and the Land Development Code section 2.107 for numbers allowed, minimum lot sizes, etc.
Questions about livestock and other non-domestic animals should be directed to the Code Compliance Department.
Livestock are divided into several categories namely; Large Livestock, Small Livestock, Fowl and Rodents.
MINIMUM AREA (LIVESTOCK): A minimum lot size of 15,000 square feet is required and there must be 10,000 square feet of lot for each large livestock and 5,000 square feet of lot size for each small livestock. Or any combination of such animals. For example, A lot size of 20,000 sq ft could have two horses, a horse and two sheep or 4 sheep.
MINIMUM AREA (FOWL AND RODENTS): On each lot up to 20,000 sq ft any combination of up to 25 fowl and rodents are permitted. For each additional 20,000 sq ft, you are allowed a further 25.
Does the Town of Gilbert allow Pot-Bellied pigs?
Yes, the Town of Gilbert does allow the keeping of exotic animals, so even though the keeping of swine in Gilbert is prohibited the Town will allow Vietnamese Pot-Bellied pigs as an exotic pet. If it lives with you in your home and yard as a domestic pet, it is allowed. However if you treat it like a standard swine or farm animal it will not be allowed in the Town of Gilbert.
12. Does the Town have a leash law?
See the Municipal Code section 6-60
Yes we do it is enforced by the Police Department and is called Running at Large.
13. Is there a law that people have to clean up after their dogs when they are out walking them?
See the Municipal Code, section 6-62
Yes there is a law on cleaning up after your pet, please see the above section. Again, this is enforce by the Police Department
What about cats in my area? How many cats can the neighbor have?
Cats are considered free-range animals. Since there are no leash laws to restrict them, and since cats do not need to be licensed or wear tags, they are not controlled by our codes. Although there is no restriction on the number of cats a person may have, the owner must give consideration to municipal code, section 42-202; ‘offensive premises’. This states that it is unlawful for any person to allow their premises to become foul or offensive to the senses or prejudicial to the public health or comfort.
15. My neighbor parks their car on the street in front of my house and I don't like it, what can be done about it?
In most cases nothing, the street is public and as such a person can park their car anywhere on the public street. There are restrictions about blocking a private driveway and all other parking laws and regulations would apply but if everything is legal, it is allowed. A homeowner does not own or control the public street in front of their home. Please call Gilbert police to help you with concerns about parking on the street.
16. I have heard the Town does not allow garbage cans to be left out where everyone can see them is that true?
That is true; Public works has regulations as follows;
Rollout containers shall not be placed for collection at the curb line before 6:00 p.m. of the day preceding regular collection and shall be removed from the curb by 6:00 a.m. of the day after collection. These receptacles shall be stored and kept, between collection days, in such a manner that they are not visible from the street.
17. What about my bulk trash?
See the Municipal Code section 66-286 to 66-292
These sections deal with the ‘what’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of bulk trash and are a little long to cover here. Please view the above section which will tell you everything you need to know. Please call the Public Works Department on 480-503-6400 with any questions you may have.
18. Five people live in the house down the street it is a single family home, what can be done about it?
There have been a lot of changes in the legal system about how to define a family and what regulations can be imposed. The current law basically states that if a group of people is living together as a family unit, they will be treated as a family unit. This means that if they are sharing costs and household activities in a manner similar to a traditional family nothing can be done. Obviously this makes enforcement difficult as there are no longer simple rules on number and relationship of members residing in the home , each case is considered individually.
19. The neighbor’s garage is so full with trash that he cannot park his cars in there / I think they may have converted the garage into living space, is this illegal?
Town code prohibits converting a garage to another use unless the same number of covered/enclosed parking spaces are available. This means that a homeowner cannot remove the garage door and convert the space into a workshop or family room. However as long as the garage door remains in place and it would be possible to park cars in the garage (even if cleaning were required first) no codes have been broken. There are no requirements that you have to park in the garage, just that you are able to.
20. I live in a new area and construction crews start work very early in the morning doesn't the Town have a noise ordinance?
See the Municipal Code section 42-63 for all noise-related concerns
It applies to the following;
- Operating construction related equipment,
- Performing outside construction work,
- Performing outside repair work on buildings, structures or projects,
- Operating a pile driver, power shovel, pneumatic hammer, derrick, power hoist or other construction-type device.
Residential Zones - Construction within five hundred feet of a residential zone: construction work shall not begin prior to 5:00 a.m. and must stop by 10:00 p.m. each day.
Commercial and Industrial Zones - Construction work within five hundred feet (500') of a residential zone shall not begin prior to 5:00 a.m. and must stop by 10:00 p.m.
Weekends and Holidays - Construction work shall not begin prior to 7:00 a.m. and must stop by 7:00 p.m. and concrete pouring shall not begin prior to 6:00 a.m. and must stop by 7:00 p.m.
21. What kind of regulations does the Town have for control dust?
Dust from everything but an agricultural use is a Maricopa County issue rather than a Town issue and, as such, Maricopa County Air Pollution Control currently handles dust complaints. To report a dust control problem contact Maricopa County Earthmoving Department. (602) 506-6616.
22. There is an abandoned or vacant home in our neighborhood, who is responsible for maintaining it?
The owners of the home are responsible for maintaining the home just as you are responsible for maintaining your home. The difficulty is finding the owner or if there even is an owner. When a house is abandoned by its owners a long complex process begins where the bank or even the US government is taking the house back legally, this usually lasts anywhere between six and eighteen months. During this time, there really is not much that can be done to make the property look better especially if the house is open. We as a Town do what we can. The good news is that a new owner will be established and they are usually anxious to settle in as soon as the repossession/foreclosure action is completed, so once ownership is established things usually improve quickly.
23. What about an empty home with a green pool or mosquitoes in the pool
The Municipal Code, section 42-202 deals with offensive premises and states: -
It is unlawful for any person to suffer or permit any premises belonging to or occupied by him, or any cellar, privy, vault, pool, sewer or private drain therein to become nauseous, foul or offensive to the senses or prejudicial to the public health or comfort. Any such premise or use shall be considered a public nuisance.
Although not pleasant, a green pool is not generally considered a problem unless there are mosquitoes breeding in it.
As mosquitoes are considered a disease-carrying insect, Maricopa County health is the responsible party they will come out and treat a pool in several different ways including chemicals or even small fish that eat the insect larvae. They will continue to treat until an owner is located or the water evaporates. The pool might still look bad but the insect problem is removed. Contact Maricopa County Vector Control at (602) 506-6616.
Additional Information and Assistance are available at:
(More information on this service can be obtained from the Code Compliance Department, 480-503-6879, or the Neighborhood Services Department, 480-503-6760.)
For mediation of civil matters contact Solve It