Records Request


City of Sebastopol Public Records

The City of Sebastopol is responsive to the public’s need for information about the city and the business of city government. It is the goal of the City to provide services in a transparent manner, which includes timely access to requested records. Most importantly the City of Sebastopol understands and supports the public’s right to access the majority of the records created and maintained by the City during the course of normal business. City staff will assist in identifying responsive records by, as appropriate, describing relevant City records. The City has ten (10) days to respond to any request for public records; however, all requests will be filled as soon as possible. Should unusual circumstances exist, as provided in California Government Code Section 6253.9(c), the City may extend the time for a response by an additional fourteen (14) days. If an extension is warranted, the requestor will be notified.

What is a Record?

Per the California Public Records Act (CA GC 6250-6270): A “public record” includes any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by the City of Sebastopol regardless of physical form or characteristics. Records are not just printed or handwritten documents, they may be video recordings or information in a database. “Writing” means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photocopying, photographing, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing, any form of communication or representation including letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols, or any combination thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.

What Records are Exempt from Disclosure?

(Partial listing, for full listing see California Government Code Section 6250)

Attorney-Client discussions are confidential, even if the agency is the client (§§ 6254(k), 6254.25, 6276.04).

Preliminary drafts, notes and memos may be withheld only if: (1) they are “not retained…in the ordinary course of business” and (2) “the public interest in withholding clearly outweighs the public interest in disclosure.”

Home Addresses of local agency utility customers and public employee records are exempt, as are addresses of certain crime victims (§§ 6254(f), (u), 6254.1, 6254.3, 6254.4, 6254.16,6254.21).

Records concerning agency litigation are exempt, until the claim is resolved or settled (§§6254(b), 6254.25).

Records not yet in existence: The CPRA covers only records that already exist, and an agency cannot be required to create a record, list, or compilation. “Rolling requests” for future-generated records are not permitted.

Police Incident reports, rap sheets and arrest records are exempt (Penal Code §§ 11075, 11105, 11105.1), but information in the “police blotter” must be disclosed unless disclosure would endanger an investigation or the life of an investigator.


Access to view public records is free. Requestors may review the requested items during regular business hours, at a time and place that will not disrupt day-to-day operations in the presence of a city employee, at no charge. Records may be duplicated. Duplication fees, if applicable, must be paid prior to receiving copies of records. Duplication of official building plans will not be produced by the City until the City requests and receives written permission to do so from both the owner and the design professional who prepared the plan(s).


Public Records Act Request Form