Aerial photos helping tax assessor find unpermitted structures

Peter Aldana, Riverside County Assessor, County Clerk-Recorder, explains the function of his office to those attending the Feb. 8 Anza Municipal Advisory Council meeting in the Community Hall in Anza. Tony Ault photo
Peter Aldana, Riverside County Assessor, County Clerk-Recorder, explains the function of his office to those attending the Feb. 8 Anza Municipal Advisory Council meeting in the Community Hall in Anza. Tony Ault photo

Elected Riverside County Tax Assessor-County Clerk-Recorder Peter Aldana during a special appearance at the Feb. 8 Anza Municipal Advisory Council meeting said his office is in the process of compiling new aerial images of the Valley to determine how many new structures have been built to make updated tax assessments.

Aldana said his office did a pilot program “chase detection” aerial survey pilot program last year and found new structures that many not have been assessed. He said the data was put together with the structures found in the flyover. He said it showed “what we have before and what we have now,” being used to determine any new assessments. Greenhouses and the surrounding equipment as seen from the air, if it is determined they are not on the tax rolls or not permitted, the structure will be assessed at the current market value and a letter informing the property owner of that assessment, explained Aldana.

“We do not assess the crop,” he said, in reference to the marijuana grows in the area, “we only assess the structures.” He said his office is not code enforcement, although they have been invited to share information in their aerial imagery programs. “There is fine line between code enforcement and us,” he explained. “We are not going to pay code enforcement for aerial imagery.”

He heard from several residents at the meeting that there are a large number of new greenhouse being constructed in the valley and should be looked at.

He noted that several more aerial flyovers may be taking place soon. He was asked by a resident if the aerial photos could discern between a motor home and structure. He “yes” because the imagery is angled to make that determination.

“After tonight we may be in touch with code enforcement,” he said at the meeting.

He did say that the property tax assessment delinquencies in the county are now at a record low indicating the economy is on the upswing. He pointed out there are programs outlined in the assessors’ webpages that provide information on the latest tax assessment procedures and new rules that may benefit people moving from one county to another and are concerned about local taxes.

Aldana used a power point to show what the duties and responsibilities are for his office as assessor-clerk-recorder. The office is clearly separated from Riverside County Code Enforcement and other agencies.

He gave the following explanations of each of his offices’ mandates:

Assessor – To locate, inventory and value all taxable and exempt secured and unsecured property to Riverside County in accordance with the applicable constitutional legislative and administrative provisions.

County Clerk – To facilitate applicant and license for marriage and to perform marriage ceremonies, to file notary public oaths of office, fictitious business names and other items as mandated by law or ordinance.

Recorder – To record as mandated by law all recordable documents in connection with ownership and titling of properties and other negotiated items within the County of Riverside. To provide the recording, storage and certification of all documents of births, deaths and marriages occurring with the County of Riverside and other public records and to maintain in permanence all records pertaining to same.

Records Management Program – To serve as the county’s records manager by providing excellent in-house, contracted and advisory records management services in a cost-effective manner.

The Riverside-County Assessor, County Clerk and Recorder office is listed on their webpage at with its mission to fulfill the legally and locally mandated functions of the Assessor, County Clerk, Recorder and Records Management Program in an accurate, timely professional and courteous manner and to ensure high quality service.

Aldana urged Anza Valley residents to contact his office if they have an questions on their assessments or other records information.

2 Responses to "Aerial photos helping tax assessor find unpermitted structures"

  1. Stewart Johnson   February 23, 2017 at 8:22 pm

    The Anza Electric Co-op is aiding and abetting criminal activity by supplying power to un-permitted marijuana growing operations. Both the management and the board of directors have no moral compass and only need to look at the Co-op bylaws and the 7 guiding principles that the co-op operates under to see what they are doing is WRONG.

    • Kim Harris   February 27, 2017 at 10:00 am

      Hi Stewart, I believe many of those growers steal the electricity or bring their own power sources in the form of generators. I have been with RSO on some of the marijuana grow busts in Anza and the ones I was at all had generators on the property. I would encourage you to check into that aspect of it as well. Kim Harris, Managing Editor


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