Chapter 8.23
NUISANCE VEHICLE ABATEMENT

Sections:

8.23.010    Definitions.

8.23.020    Abatement of nuisance vehicles on private property – Exceptions.

8.23.030    Notice of violation – Issuance – Service.

8.23.040    Hearing.

8.23.050    Monetary penalty.

8.23.060    Repeat violators.

8.23.070    Order of the hearing examiner – Violation.

8.23.080    Removal and disposal – Costs – Liens.

8.23.090    Penalties.

8.23.100    Appointment of hearing examiner.

8.23.010 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

A.    “City” means the city of Bothell.

B.    “Code compliance officer” means a code compliance officer, the director of community development, or director of community development’s designee.

C.    “Department” means the Washington State Department of Licensing.

D.    “Director” means the Director of the Department of Licensing or his designee.

E.    “Impound” means to take and hold a vehicle in legal custody.

F.    “Inoperable” means incapable of being operated legally on a public highway.

G.    “Nuisance vehicle” means and includes any car, truck, motorcycle, boat, trailer, recreational vehicle (RV), self-propelled construction equipment or heavy machinery, or any other motorized or non-motorized means of conveyance, or any part thereof, and which:

1.    Meets any one of the following criteria:

a.    Is extensively damaged, such damage including, but not limited to, any of the following: a broken window or windshield or missing wheels, tires, motor or transmission;

b.    Is apparently inoperable;

c.    Has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it; and

2.    Is not validly licensed and/or registered under the laws of the state of Washington.

H.    “Police chief’ means the Bothell police chief or his/her designee.

I.    “Vehicle” has the same definition as the definition of “vehicle” in RCW 46.04.670. (Ord. 1874 § 2, 2002).

8.23.020 Abatement of nuisance vehicles on private property – Exceptions.

A.    All nuisance vehicles placed or situated upon private property within the Bothell city limits shall constitute a criminal violation and shall be subject to the penalties as set forth in BMC 8.23.090, and are also public nuisances to be abated as provided in this chapter; provided, however, that this chapter shall not apply to:

1.    A vehicle or part thereof that is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

2.    A vehicle or part thereof that is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler or licensed vehicle dealer and is fenced according to the provisions of RCW 46.80.130.

B.    This section shall apply even in cases where permission has been given for the vehicle to be left on the property. (Ord. 1874 § 3, 2002).

8.23.030 Notice of violation – Issuance – Service.

A.    A code compliance officer is authorized to issue and serve a notice of violation upon reasonable belief that a violation of one or more provisions of this chapter has occurred.

B.    The notice of violation shall be issued to the property owner of record upon which land a vehicle deemed to be in violation of this chapter is located, as shown on the last equalized assessment roll, and to the last registered and legal owner of record of such vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

C.    The notice of violation may be served by means of personal service, or by mailing a copy of the notice of violation to such person at his/her last known address, as determined by the code compliance officer, by certified mail, with return receipt requested. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration under penalty of perjury by the person effecting the service, declaring the time and date of service and the manner by which service was made.

D.    The notice of violation shall contain substantially the following information:

1.    The name and address of the person to whom the notice of violation is issued;

2.    The location of the subject property by address or other description sufficient for identification of the subject property;

3.    A description of the vehicle and its location, and the reasons for which the city deems it to be a public nuisance in violation of this chapter;

4.    A description of the corrective action necessary to eliminate the violation;

5.    The date by which the corrective action must be completed to avoid a hearing before the hearing examiner;

6.    The date and time of the hearing before the hearing examiner;

7.    A statement that the person(s) to whom the citation is issued may avoid the hearing before the hearing examiner by completing the corrective action to be taken by the date set forth in the citation;

8.    A statement that if any of the persons to whom the notice of violation is issued wish to contest the violation, they must attend the hearing as noted in the notice of violation;

9.    A statement that if the person(s) to whom the notice of violation is issued fail to complete the corrective action by the date required or appear at the hearing, the city or its designee may remove, impound and dispose of the vehicle, and assess all costs of administration and removal against the owner of the property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect such costs from the owner of the vehicle; and

10.    A statement that the owner of the land upon which the vehicle is located may provide a written statement in time for consideration at the hearing and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land, with his or her reasons for the denial, as provided in BMC 8.23.040. (Ord. 1874 § 4, 2002).

8.23.040 Hearing.

A.    The owner of the land on which the vehicle is located may appear in person at the hearing or present a written statement in time for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land, with his or her reasons for the denial. If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner and that he or she has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, the hearing examiner shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the vehicle against the owner of the property upon which the vehicle is located and the city shall not otherwise attempt to collect any costs from the property owner.

B.    The hearing examiner shall have the power to:

1.    Administer oaths and affirmations and examine witnesses;

2.    Issue subpoenas upon the request of any party. The hearing examiner, the city attorney and any officer authorized to enforce this chapter are also authorized to issue subpoenas. When so required, the applicant for the subpoena shall show to the satisfaction of such individual the general relevance and reasonable scope of the evidence sought;

3.    Rule on offers of proof; admit and give probative effect to evidence which possesses probative value commonly accepted by reasonably prudent men in the conduct of their affairs. The hearing examiner shall give effect to the rules of privilege recognized by law. The hearing examiner may exclude incompetent, irrelevant, immaterial, and/or unduly repetitious evidence. Factual issues shall be resolved by a preponderance of the evidence standard. Documentary evidence may be received in the form of copies or excerpts or by incorporation by reference. The hearing examiner may also take notice of judicially cognizable facts;

4.    Regulate the course of the hearing, including granting of continuances, imposition of penalties for disruption of the orderly process or refusal to comply with lawful orders of the violations hearing examiner;

5.    Assess administrative costs of up to $500.00 against any person(s) to whom a notice of violation is issued that has not completed the corrective action required therein by the required date. Administrative costs include but are not limited to personnel costs, both direct and indirect and including attorney’s fees, costs incurred in documenting the violation, actual expenses and costs of the City in preparing notices, and the costs of any required printing, copying and mailing;

6.    Dismiss one or more of the allegations set forth in the notice of violation upon a determination that said allegation does not exist substantially as stated therein; and

7.    Make decisions that can be incorporated into findings of fact, conclusions of law and order of the hearing examiner and enter orders of default and consent orders. The orders may include the following:

a.    A requirement that ordinance violations be abated in accordance with the manner prescribed by the hearing examiner;

b.    Imposition of a monetary penalty as set forth in this chapter;

c.    Suspension of any portion or all of the monetary penalty, conditions of said suspension, and the period of time in which the violator must comply with the conditions of said suspension;

d.    Authorization for the city or its designated agent to undertake and complete abatement, without further order of the hearing examiner, if the violation has not been completely abated within the time period set forth in the order;

e.    Authorization for the city to assess the costs against the person(s) to whom the violation citation was issued in any manner to which it is entitled by law; and

f.    A statement notifying the person(s) to whom the order is issued that the order may be appealed to a court of competent jurisdiction. (Ord. 1874 § 5, 2002).

8.23.050 Monetary penalty.

The monetary civil penalty for each violation of this chapter shall not exceed $500.00, unless the violator is a repeat violator as defined in this chapter, in which case the monetary civil penalty for each violation shall not exceed $1,000. Each day that any person is in violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate violation and shall be subject to the penalties as set forth herein. Payment of a monetary civil penalty pursuant to this chapter does not relieve the person(s) to whom the notice of violation was issued of the duty to correct the violation or preclude the city from taking action to abate the situation as provided herein. The monetary civil penalty constitutes an obligation of the person(s) to whom the notice of violation is issued. Any monetary civil penalty assessed must be paid to the city within fifteen calendar days of the effective date of the hearing examiner’s order. The city is authorized to take action to collect the monetary civil penalty and administrative costs, including filing civil actions or turning the matter over to collection, in which case costs incurred by the city as a result of the collection process will be assessed to the violator in addition to the monetary civil penalty and administrative costs. (Ord. 1874 § 6, 2002).

8.23.060 Repeat violators.

A “repeat violator” is defined as a person, firm, corporation, association, or agent thereof, who has received a notice of violation for the same property one or more times within five calendar years. If a person is a repeat violator as defined herein, the city can, at its discretion, issue a repeat violator notice of violation. A notice of violation to a repeat violator shall be issued and served as provided in this chapter, but will not include a description of the corrective action necessary to eliminate the violation or a date by which the corrective action must be completed to avoid a hearing before the hearing examiner. The repeat violator notice of violation will notify the person receiving the citation that due to the repeat nature of their violations the city will be seeking an order from the hearing examiner, at the date and time set forth in the citation, granting any and all relief to which the city is entitled under this chapter. (Ord. 1874 § 7, 2002).

8.23.070 Order of the hearing examiner – Violation.

The order of the hearing examiner shall be served upon the person to whom it is directed, either personally or by mailing a copy of the order to such person at his/her last known address as determined by a code compliance officer. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration under penalty of perjury by the person effecting the service, declaring the time and date of service and the manner by which service was made. Thereafter, violation of the terms of a hearing examiner’s order shall constitute a criminal offense and a separate criminal offense is committed for each day that an order is violated. (Ord. 1874 § 8, 2002).

8.23.080 Removal and disposal – Costs – Liens.

A.    After notice has been given of the city’s intent to dispose of the vehicle and after the hearing has been held, resulting in authority to remove, the vehicle or part thereof shall be removed at the request of a law enforcement officer and disposed of to a licensed and registered disposer. Any vehicle or part thereof impounded pursuant to this chapter shall be processed in the manner described for disposal of vehicles in the Washington Model Traffic Ordinance.

B.    Any registered disposer under contract to the city for the impounding of vehicles shall comply with any administrative regulations relative to the handling and disposing of vehicles as may be promulgated by the city or the director of the Washington State Department of Licensing.

C.    Costs of removal may be assessed against the registered owner of the vehicle if the identity of the owner can be determined, unless the owner in the transfer of ownership of the vehicle has complied with RCW 46.12.101 and RCW 46.12.102, or the costs may be assessed against the owner of the property on which the vehicle is stored, subject to BMC 8.23.040.

D.    The impounding of a vehicle shall not preclude charging the violator with any violation of the law on account of which such vehicle was impounded.

E.    In addition to, or in lieu of, any other state or local provisions for the recovery of costs, the city may, after removal of a vehicle under this chapter, file for record with the county auditor to claim a lien for the cost of removal and any and all outstanding administrative costs, fines, penalties and collection costs, which lien shall be in substance in accordance with the provision covering mechanics’ liens in Chapter 60.04 RCW, and said lien shall be foreclosed in the same manner as such liens. (Ord. 1874 § 9, 2002).

8.23.090 Penalties.

In addition to any other remedy provided in this chapter, and unless otherwise provided, the violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a criminal offense and shall be punishable by a fine of $250.00 plus costs. Each day that any person is in violation of any provision of this chapter shall constitute a separate criminal offense and shall be subject to the penalties as set forth herein. (Ord. 1874 § 10, 2002).

8.23.100 Appointment of hearing examiner.

The city manager will appoint a hearing examiner to preside over nuisance vehicle hearings conducted pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 1874 § 11, 2002).