Chapter 10.24
OFFENSES AGAINST PUBLIC ORDER

Sections:

10.24.005    Adoption by reference.

10.24.010    Disorderly conduct.

10.24.020    Urinating in public.

10.24.040    Pedestrian interference.

10.24.050    Unlawful bus conduct.

10.24.060    Violation stop work order.

10.24.070    Sitting or lying on public sidewalks prohibited.

10.24.100    Obstructing.

10.24.120    Public disturbance noise.

10.24.130    Fireworks prohibited.

10.24.005 Adoption by reference.

The following provisions of the Revised Code of Washington as presently constituted or hereinafter amended are adopted by reference:

RCW

9.40.100    Tampering with fire alarm or firefighting equipment.

9A.50.020    Interfering with access to health care.

9A.72.150    Tampering with physical evidence.

9A.76.030    Refusing to summon aid for a peace officer.

9A.76.040    Resisting arrest.

9A.76.100    Compounding.

9A.76.130    Escape.

9A.84.010    Riot.

9A.84.020    Failure to disperse.

9A.84.040    False reporting.

[Ord. 2001-12-102; Ord. 10912 § 12, 1997].

10.24.010 Disorderly conduct.

A person is guilty of disorderly conduct if he:

A. Uses abusive language and thereby intentionally creates a risk of assault; or

B. Intentionally disrupts any lawful assembly or meeting of persons without lawful authority; or

C. Intentionally obstructs pedestrian or vehicular traffic without lawful authority; or

D. Causes, provokes or engages in any fight or brawl. Any conviction under this subsection may be designated a crime of “domestic violence” if facts relevant to such conviction comply with RCW 10.99.020(3) as adopted by BMC 10.14.005; or

E. Makes or causes to be made any loud or boisterous noise which unreasonably disturbs the peace, comfort and repose of others, or permits such public disturbance to be made at any residence or business under his charge or control. [Ord. 2004-04-027; Ord. 10179 § 1, 1991; Ord. 9219 § 1, 1983].

10.24.020 Urinating in public.

A. A person is guilty of urinating in public if he intentionally urinates or defecates in a public place, other than a washroom or toilet room, under circumstances where such act could be observed by any member of the public.

B. As used in this section, a “public place” is an area generally visible to public view and includes streets, sidewalks, bridges, alleys, plazas, parks, driveways, parking lots, automobiles (whether moving or not), and buildings open to the general public including those which serve food or drink, or provide entertainment, and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the ground enclosing them. [Ord. 10439 §§ 1, 2, 1993].

10.24.040 Pedestrian interference.

A. A person is guilty of pedestrian interference if, in a public place, he or she intentionally:

1. Obstructs pedestrian traffic; or

2. Aggressively begs.

B. The following definitions apply to this section:

“Aggressively begs” means to beg with intent to intimidate another person into giving money or goods.

“Beg” means to ask for money or goods as a charity, whether by words, or other means.

“Obstruct pedestrian traffic” means to walk, stand, sit, lie, or place an object in such a manner as to block passage by another person, or to require another person to take evasive action to avoid physical contact. Acts authorized as an exercise of one’s constitutional right to picket or to legally protest, and acts authorized by a right-of-way use permit issued pursuant to Chapter 13.14 BMC shall not constitute obstruction of pedestrian traffic.

“Public place” means the area generally visible to public view and includes alleys, bridges, buildings, driveways, parking lots, parks, plazas, sidewalks and streets open to the general public, including those that serve food or drink or provide entertainment, and the doorways and entrances to buildings or dwellings and the grounds enclosing them. [Ord. 10371 § 2, 1992].

10.24.050 Unlawful bus conduct.

A. A person is guilty of unlawful bus conduct if while on or in a municipal transit vehicle as defined by RCW 46.04.355 or in or at a municipal transit station and with knowledge that such conduct is prohibited, he or she:

1. Except while in or at a municipal transit station, smokes or carries a lighted or smoldering pipe, cigar, or cigarette; or

2. Discards litter other than in designated receptacles; or

3. Plays any radio, recorder, or other sound-producing equipment except that nothing herein shall prohibit the use of such equipment when connected to earphones that limit the sound to individual listeners or the use of a communication device by an employee of the owner or operator of the municipal transit vehicle or municipal transit station; or

4. Spits or expectorates; or

5. Carries any flammable liquid, explosive, acid, or other article or material likely to cause harm to others except that nothing herein shall prevent a person from carrying a cigarette, cigar, or pipe lighter or carrying a firearm or ammunition in a way that is not otherwise prohibited by law; or

6. Intentionally disturbs others by engaging in loud or unruly behavior.

B. For the purposes of this section, “municipal transit station” means all facilities, structures, lands, interest in lands, air rights over lands, and rights-of-way of all kinds that are owned, leased, held, or used by a public agency for the purpose of providing public transportation services. [Ord. 10439 § 3, 1993; Ord. 10316, 1992].

10.24.060 Violation stop work order.

It is unlawful for a person to knowingly engage in any activity which has been prohibited by a stop work order issued pursuant to the provisions of the Bellingham Municipal Code, provided such stop work order has been posted on, or on the right-of-way adjacent to, the site of the activity, or delivered to such person. [Ord. 10724 § 1, 1996].

10.24.070 Sitting or lying on public sidewalks prohibited.

A. Prohibition. No person shall sit or lie down upon a public sidewalk, or upon a blanket, chair, stool, bollard, planter, fountain, railing or any other object placed upon a public sidewalk, during the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. in the following zones:

1. Central Business District (“CBD”). The central business district, for the purposes of this section, is the area bounded by the streets hereafter named, including said streets and their abutting sidewalks: on the east bounded by State Street from Whatcom Creek to Maple Street, on the south Maple Street from State Street to Cornwall Street to the intersection of Chestnut and Bay Street, on the west from the intersection of Chestnut and Bay Street to Champion Street, on the southwest from Champion Street to the intersection of Cornwall and York Street, on the north from the intersection of Cornwall and York Street to Railroad and up to Whatcom Creek between Railroad and State Street.

2. The Fairhaven Business District (“FBD”). The Fairhaven business district, for the purposes of this section, shall be defined by the area bounded by the streets hereafter named, including said streets and their abutting sidewalks: the area bounded by Mill Avenue on the north from 10th Street to 13th Street to Larrabee Avenue on the east, Larrabee Avenue on the south from 13th Street to 10th Street from Larrabee to Mill Avenue on the west. In addition the prohibited area in the Fairhaven business district shall include 12th Street from Larrabee to Cowgill and Harris Avenue from 10th Street to 4th Street.

B. Exceptions. The prohibitions in subsection (A) of this section shall not apply to any person:

1. Sitting or lying down on a sidewalk due to a medical emergency.

2. Who, as the result of a disability, utilizes a wheelchair, walker, or similar device to move about the public sidewalk.

3. Operating or patronizing a commercial establishment conducted on the public sidewalk pursuant to a street use permit; or a person participating in or attending a parade, festival, performance, rally, demonstration, meeting, or similar event conducted on the public sidewalk pursuant to a street use or other applicable permit;

4. Sitting on a chair or bench located on the public sidewalk which is supplied by a public agency or by the abutting private property owner;

5. Sitting on a public sidewalk within a bus stop zone while waiting for public or private transportation.

Nothing in any of these exceptions shall be construed to permit any conduct which is prohibited by BMC 10.24.010 (Disorderly conduct) or BMC 10.24.040 (Pedestrian interference).

C. No person shall be cited under this section unless the person engages in conduct prohibited by this section after having been notified by a law enforcement officer that the conduct violates this section.

D. A violation of this section shall be a civil infraction and shall subject the violator to a fine of up to $250.00, plus statutory assessment. If the person is unable to pay the monetary penalty, the court may order performance of a number of hours of community service in lieu of a monetary penalty. The default amount shall be $100.00.

E. Notwithstanding and in lieu of the penalties provided under subsection (D) of this section, a person violating this section shall, upon conviction for a third or subsequent offense, be guilty of having committed a criminal misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. [Ord. 2013-09-073 § 17; Ord. 2002-02-009; Ord. 10867, 1997].

10.24.100 Obstructing.

A. A person is guilty of obstructing a public officer if, with knowledge that the person obstructed is a public officer, he or she:

1. Intentionally and physically interferes with a public officer; or

2. Intentionally hinders or delays a public officer by disobeying an order to stop given by such officer; or

3. Intentionally refuses to cease an activity or behavior when ordered to do so by a public officer and when continuing to engage in such an activity or behavior would otherwise constitute a civil infraction or crime; or

4. Intentionally destroys, conceals or alters or attempts to destroy, conceal or alter any material which he or she knows the public officer is attempting to obtain, secure or preserve during an investigation, search or arrest; or

5. Intentionally refuses to leave the scene of an investigation of a crime while an investigation is in progress after being requested to leave by a public officer.

B. A person is guilty of unlawfully obstructing a law enforcement officer if the person willfully hinders, delays, or obstructs any law enforcement officer in the discharge of his or her official duties.

C. No person shall be convicted of violating this section if the judge determines, with respect to the person charged with violating this section, that the public officer was not acting lawfully in a government function.

D. For purposes of this section, a “public officer” means those individuals responsible for the enforcement of the provisions of the Bellingham Municipal Code, including, but not limited to, provisions related to fire, building, zoning, and life and safety codes; those individuals empowered to make arrests for offenses under the Bellingham Municipal Code; or those individuals responsible for enforcement of the federal or state criminal laws. A “public officer” includes, but is not limited to, a “law enforcement officer.”

E. “Law enforcement officer” means any general authority, limited authority, or specially commissioned Washington peace officer or federal peace officer as those terms are defined in RCW 10.93.020.

F. Obstructing a public officer is a gross misdemeanor. [Ord. 10912 § 12, 1997].

10.24.120 Public disturbance noise.

A. Declaration of Policy. It is the policy of the city to minimize the exposure of all city residents to excessive noise and to preserve the public health, safety, and welfare. It is also the express intent of the city council to control the level of noise in a manner which promotes commerce; the uses, value and enjoyment of property, including music values in commercial districts; while continuing to protect sleep and repose of residents, and the quality of the environment.

It is further the intent of city council to recognize that music venues add to the vibrancy and economic vitality of the city and to create entertainment districts in the city which would promote and encourage this type of activity while continuing to protect the area residents from excessive noise emanating from those venues.

B. Entertainment Districts Established. There is hereby established a downtown entertainment district and a Fairhaven entertainment district.

The downtown entertainment district is depicted in Figure 10.24.120(A), and includes both sides of the perimeter streets.

The Fairhaven entertainment district is depicted in Figure 10.24.120(B), and includes both sides of the perimeter streets.

C. It is unlawful for any person to cause, or for any person in possession of property to allow to originate from the property, sound that is a public disturbance noise. The following sounds are determined to be public disturbance noises:

1. Frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds in connection with the starting, operation, repair, rebuilding or testing of any motor vehicle, motorcycle, off-highway vehicle or internal combustion engine within a residentially zoned area, so as to unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of others.

2. Frequent, repetitive or continuous sounds which emanate from any building, structure, apartment, or condominium, which unreasonably disturb the peace, comfort, and repose of a person or persons on public or private property, other than the property from which the sound emanates, such as sounds from musical instruments, audio sound systems, band sessions.

3. Sound from portable audio equipment, such as tape players, radios, and compact disc players, operated at a volume so as to be audible greater than 50 feet from the source and outside the property of the operator.

4. Construction and industrial noises, including, but not limited to, motorized construction and equipment operation, hammering, blasting, drilling and sawing in residentially zoned areas, between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m., which unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort and repose of others; provided, that this subsection shall not apply to noises caused by projects required in an emergency to repair public facilities or utilities or to prevent immediate damage or harm to persons or property; and further provided, that this subsection shall not apply if the city council grants a variance from the provisions of this subsection for the construction or repair of a public facility or utility upon a finding that it is either necessary or in the public interest for all or a portion of the work to be performed between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. The council may impose such conditions as it deems appropriate upon the granting of a variance.

5. Subsections (C)(2) and (3) of this section shall not apply to regularly scheduled events at parks, such as public address systems for games and activities or park concerts; provided, that the foregoing enumeration of acts and noises not be construed as excluding other acts and noises which offend the public peace.

6. In considering whether or not sounds emanating from music venues in the entertainment districts unreasonably disturb the peace, comfort and repose of others, the following factors shall be considered:

a. The time of day or night the sound occurs;

b. The duration and volume of the sound;

c. The nature of the sound;

d. The location of the industry or business from where the sound originates, including consideration of surroundings; and

e. The location of the complaint.

The above list of factors is nonexhaustive. The totality of the circumstances should be considered and other factors not listed may also be considered in determining whether or not sound unreasonably disturbs the peace and repose of others as provided in BMC 10.24.120(C)(2).

D. Penalties.

1. Any person violating this section shall, upon commission of the first such offense, be guilty of having committed a civil infraction, and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $250.00.

2. Any person violating this section shall, upon conviction for a second or subsequent offense, be guilty of having committed a criminal misdemeanor and shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or imprisonment not to exceed 90 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Figure 10.24.120(A) – Downtown Entertainment District

Figure 10.24.120(B) – Fairhaven Entertainment District

[Ord. 2013-09-073 § 18; Ord. 2010-12-070; Ord. 2001-07-055; Ord. 10912 § 12, 1997].

10.24.130 Fireworks prohibited.

A. The city incorporates by this reference the definitions set forth in the state fireworks law, Chapter 70.77 RCW, as now enacted or hereafter amended.

B. Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, no person may:

1. Manufacture, import, possess, or sell fireworks at wholesale or retail for any use;

2. Make a public display of fireworks; or

3. Transport fireworks, except as a licensee or as a public carrier delivering to a licensee.

C. Any person desiring to make a public display of fireworks shall apply in writing to the chief of the fire department at least 10 days in advance of the proposed display. The applicant shall submit all of the information and evidence required by WAC 212-17-270. The chief or chief’s designee shall determine whether the applicant meets the minimum criteria set forth in the state fireworks law and the related provisions of the Washington Administrative Code for issuance of a permit and whether the character and location of the display as proposed would be hazardous to property or dangerous to any person. No permits shall be granted for public displays of fireworks within the Lake Whatcom watershed. The fire chief shall have the authority to grant or deny the application in the interests of public safety.

D. Trick or novelty devices that are not classified as consumer fireworks may be sold, possessed, or used within the city.

E. Any fireworks which are illegally sold, offered for sale, used, discharged, possessed, or transported in violation of the provisions of this chapter or the rules or regulations of the Chief of the Washington State Patrol, through the director of fire protection, are subject to immediate seizure by the city. The procedural rules regarding forfeiture and disposal set forth in the state fireworks law shall apply.

F. If any provision of this section or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the section or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

G. Any person who possesses, discharges, or otherwise uses consumer fireworks in the city shall be guilty of a civil infraction and subject to a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000. The minimum civil penalty shall be $250.00.

Any other violation of this section shall be a gross misdemeanor. [Ord. 2013-06-043 §§ 1 – 8, 10; Ord. 2005-09-074; Ord. 2002-06-040 § 1; Ord. 10912 § 12, 1997].