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FAQ: Environmental Health Administrative Hearings


QUESTIONS ANSWERS
How much time do I have to correct violations listed in the Official Inspection Report (OIR)? Contra Costa Environmental Health does its best to allow reasonable amounts of time for the health permit holder to correct violations listed on OIRs, depending on the required correction. Critical violations that require immediate closure of the business or stop-work orders must be corrected before the business or project can resume normal operations. Other corrections listed on the written notice must be completed within the time specified by the inspector.
Do I have the right to dispute the alleged violations? Health permit holders who dispute findings on the OIR may contact the inspector's supervisor in writing. Health permit holders also have the right to request an administrative hearing to show why a health permit should not be suspended or revoked, their facility closed, a stop-work order imposed or other enforcement action taken. The health permit holder may request a hearing within 15 calendar days after receiving a notice of violation. All requests for hearings must be in writing. Hearing requests must be sent to Contra Costa Environmental Health, 2120 Diamond Blvd., Suite 200, Concord, CA 94520.
I received a Notice of Administrative Hearing. Will my health permit be suspended? An administrative hearing is necessary when repeat violations have not been corrected within a reasonable timeframe. Contra Costa Environmental Health conducts hearings to provide health permit holders an opportunity to show why a health permit should not be suspended or revoked, their facility closed, a stop-work order imposed or other enforcement action taken. A health permit may be suspended or revoked following an administrative hearing.
I have corrected the violations listed in the Notice of Administrative Hearing. Do I still need to attend the hearing? Call 925-692-2500 after the listed violations have been corrected. If a follow-up inspection shows that the violations have been corrected, a hearing may no longer be necessary. The inspector who conducts the follow-up inspection will let you know.
What if I cannot attend the administrative hearing as scheduled by Contra Costa Environmental Health? Call 925-692-2500 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday to set a new date and time for your administrative hearing.
What should I expect at my administrative hearing? A hearing officer will review the violations and facility file listed in the written Notice of Administrative Hearing and give you the opportunity to show why the health permit should not be suspended, revoked, or other legal action should not be taken against the business. You may bring any supporting evidence to this hearing. Often, an agreement can be reached that allows a facility to operate as long as certain conditions are met. The written decision of the hearing officer will be sent to the health permit holder within five working days of the hearing. If the decision is to suspend the health permit, the notice will list the violations as well as the conditions of the suspension. If the decision is in your favor, you may continue to operate in compliance with established standards.
Can I have an interpreter at the administrative hearing? Yes. Call 925-692-2521 at least five days before the administrative hearing so an appropriate interpreter can be reserved for your preferred spoken language. There is no additional cost for an interpreter.
How do I appeal the decision of my administrative hearing? If you are dissatisfied with the decision made at your administrative hearing, send a written notice to Contra Costa Environmental Health, 2120 Diamond Blvd. Suite 200, Concord, CA 94520 within 15 days to appeal to the County Health Officer.
Can I appeal the decision of the County Health Officer at my second administrative hearing? Food safety decisions made by the County Health Officer cannot be appealed. However, Health Officer appeal hearing decisions regarding land use issues may be appealed to the County Board of Supervisors or to the City Council, whichever has jurisdiction regarding the affected property.
What should I do if my health permit is suspended? A list of conditions was included in the written notice of suspension from the hearing officer. Call 925-692-2500 when these conditions have been met or if you need an additional copy of the written notice of suspension.
What should I do if my health permit is revoked? If your health permit has been revoked, you can no longer operate your business in Contra Costa County. In order to reopen, an application would need to be submitted for approval, including all past due (if any) and current fees.
I've completed the conditions of my hearing agreement. What happens now? If you signed a conditional agreement during an administrative hearing and have successfully complied with all conditions of the agreement and the probationary period has passed, no further action is necessary.
Why do I have to pay a fee for the administrative hearing/re-inspection? Administrative hearings and re-inspections take considerable amounts of staff time for preparation and extra inspections of a facility. Fees are required, as listed in the Contra Costa Environmental Health fee schedule. Health permit fees cover routine inspections, routine re-inspections and non-validated complaint inspections but not the cost of validated complaint inspections, or repeat inspections for non-compliance.
Where can I find the relevant Codes? - The California Retail Food Code (CA Dept. Public Health)
- Public Pool and Spa Codes (CA Dept. Public Health)
- County Ordinance Codes regarding wells and onsite sewage disposal systems
How can solid waste matters be appealed? Some of these matters must be appealed to CalRecycle under separate rules.
How can I get further information about Environmental Health hearings? Call the Environmental Health office at 925-692-2500 between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Staff will be happy to provide the related information.