Chapter 8.24
PUBLIC NUISANCES

Sections:

8.24.010    Purpose and intent.

8.24.020    Definitions.

8.24.030    Statutes incorporated by reference.

8.24.040    Penalties and enforcement.

8.24.045    Duties of owners and occupants.

8.24.050    Types of nuisances.

8.24.060    Forced abatement.

8.24.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to create a system to maintain and protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city of Bothell and to establish the means by which compliance shall be accomplished. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998; Ord. 1688 § 1, 1997).

8.24.020 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context or meaning clearly indicates otherwise:

A.    “Abate” means to repair, replace, remove, destroy, correct or otherwise remedy the condition in question by such means and in such a manner and to such an extent as the director’s judgment determines is necessary in the interest of the general safety and welfare of the community.

B.    “Alley” means a public right-of-way not designed for general travel and to the rear of residences and business establishments which right-of-way has been dedicated or deeded to the public and is a secondary means of access to abutting property.

C.    “Director” means the directors of any department of the city, or such other head of a department that the city council has authorized by ordinance to utilize the provisions of this title and shall include any duly authorized representative of such director. If more than one department is authorized to act under this title, the term “director” shall also be understood to mean all applicable “directors.”

D.    “Fire hazard” means vegetation which is dry and combustible, including but not limited to weeds, grass or clippings, dead bushes or trees or their parts, and other combustible vegetative materials, but specifically excluding small logs and kindling used for firewood, vegetative materials used as compost for fertilizer, and decaying vegetation in wetlands and fish and wildlife habitat areas.

E.    “Health hazard” means any of the following:

1.    Vegetation or refuse which provides a harborage for wild rats or other pests as set forth in RCW Title 17, Weeds, Rodents and Pests;

2.    Vegetation which is poisonous, including but not limited to poison ivy, poison oak, poison hemlock, poison sumac, and nightshade;

3.    Vegetation which is noxious, including gorse, Japanese knotweed, purple loosestrife, giant hogweed, tansy ragwort, knapweed, Dalmatian toadflax, and any other plant which may be determined to be noxious, in accordance with RCW Title 17; and

4.    Vegetation, refuse and feces which create a danger of contamination or disease.

F.    “Nuisance” is the unlawful performance of an act or omission to perform a duty, which act or omission either unreasonably annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of others, unreasonably offends decency, or unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct, or render dangerous for passage, any lake or navigable river, bay, stream, canal or basin, or any public park, square, street or highway, or in any way renders other persons insecure in life, or in the use of property. Any violation of the provisions of the Bothell Municipal Code relating to the health, safety, comfort, welfare, or general well-being of the citizens of the city of Bothell is hereby declared to be a nuisance and a violation of this chapter, including but not limited to violations of Chapters 6.16, 8.22, 8.23, 8.26, 8.28, 12.12 and 12.22 BMC and BMC Title 20.

G.    “Occupant” means any person occupying or having possession of property or any portion thereof.

H.    “Owner” means any person who, alone or with others, has title or interest in property with or without accompanying actual possession thereof, and including any person who as agent or as executor, administrator, trustee or guardian of an estate has charge, care or control of any property.

I.    “Person” means any person, association, firm, partnership, corporation and governmental unit, subdivision or agency.

J.    “Planting strip” means that part of a street right-of-way between the abutting property line and the curb, or, if no curb exists, between the abutting property line and the traveled portion of the street, exclusive of any sidewalk.

K.    “Premises” means any building, lot, parcel, real estate, land or portion thereof whether improved or unimproved, including adjacent sidewalks and parking strips.

L.    “Property” means a specific parcel or parcels, platted or unplatted, of land or real estate.

M.    “Public nuisance” is a nuisance that affects equally the rights of an entire community or neighborhood, although the extent of the damage may be unequal.

N.    “Safety hazard” means vegetation which overhangs the street, sidewalk or alley in such a way as to impede the free and full use of the street, sidewalk or alley, and vegetation which obstructs the vision of drivers such that traffic regulation signs or view of an intersection is obstructed from a position of 30 feet or closer to the intersection, and vegetation which creates injury to or the opportunity or risk for injury to passersby or the general public.

O.    “Street” means a public thoroughfare which affords the principal means of access to abutting properties.

P.    “Vegetation” means trees, shrubs, grass, weeds, bushes, vines, and other plant materials, including but not limited to clippings, fallen leaves, fruit or branches. (Ord. 2045 § 2 (Exh. B), 2010; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998; Ord. 1688 § 1, 1997).

8.24.030 Statutes incorporated by reference.

The following statutes regarding public nuisances are incorporated by reference:

RCW

9.66.010    Public nuisance.

9.66.020    Unequal damage.

9.66.030    Maintaining or permitting nuisance.

9.66.050    Deposit of unwholesome substance; or establishment of detrimental business.

(Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998; Ord. 1688 § 1, 1997).

8.24.040 Penalties and enforcement.

The director is charged with enforcement of the provisions of this chapter. It shall be unlawful for any person to allow a “public nuisance” upon any premises within the city of Bothell. Such violations shall be corrected by any reasonable and lawful means as provided in this chapter or titles, chapters, and sections of the BMC.

A.    It is unlawful for any responsible person or owner to permit, maintain, suffer, carry on or allow a public nuisance to exist, as defined by this chapter, upon his/her premises or allow any act or thing declared a nuisance by this chapter.

B.    A violation of this chapter shall be enforceable as set forth in Chapter 11.20 BMC, Enforcement, in addition to any civil remedies for abatement and collection for the expense thereof.

C.    Each day the violation is in existence shall be considered a separate violation. (Ord. 2045 § 2 (Exh. B), 2010; Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998; Ord. 1688 § 1, 1997).

8.24.045 Duties of owners and occupants.

A.    It is the duty of the owner of the property and of any occupant of the property wherein or whereon any such nuisance exists to abate the nuisance by destroying, removing or trimming vegetation, and removing or destroying any health, safety or fire hazard.

B.    In addition to duties the owner or occupant may have to abate nuisances, the owner or occupant of property shall:

1.    Remove vegetation in or on any abutting sidewalk;

2.    Destroy, remove or trim vegetation or parts thereof on the property or on adjacent planting strips which overhang any sidewalk within seven feet measured vertically from any point on the sidewalk;

3.    Destroy, remove or trim vegetation or any parts thereof on the property or on adjacent planting strips which encroach on or overhang the traveled portion of the street or alley within 11 feet measured vertically from any point on the street or alley;

4.    Remove vegetation constituting a safety hazard found on adjacent planting strips or alleys;

5.    Remove vegetation constituting a fire hazard found on adjacent planting strips or alleys;

6.    Remove vegetation, refuse, or feces constituting a health hazard found on adjacent planting strips or alleys. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998).

8.24.050 Types of nuisances.

It shall be a “public nuisance” within the city of Bothell if any responsible person or persons shall maintain or allow to be maintained on real property which he or she may have charge, control or occupy, except as may be permitted by any other city ordinance, whether visible or not from any public street, alley or residence, any of the following conditions:

A.    Every person who makes or keeps any explosive or combustible substance in the city, or carries it through the streets thereof, in quantity or manner prohibited by Chapter 70.74 RCW, and every person who, by careless, negligent or unauthorized use or management of any such explosive or combustible substance injures or causes injury to the person or property of another, commits a public nuisance.

B.    No person shall permit or allow outside of any dwelling, building or other structure or within any unoccupied or abandoned building, dwelling or other structure under his control, in a place accessible to children, any abandoned, unattended or discarded icebox, refrigerator or other container which has an airtight door or lid, snap lock or other automatic locking device which may not be released from the inside without first removing said door or lid, snap lock or other locking device from said refrigerator, icebox or container. Every violation of this section is a public nuisance.

C.    No person shall, without lawful authority from the appropriate public entity, attach any advertising signs, posters, or any other similar object to any public structure, sign or traffic-control device. Such violation constitutes a public nuisance.

D.    No person shall attach to utility poles any of the following: advertising signs, posters, vending machines, or any similar object which presents a hazard to, or endangers the lives of, electrical workers. Any attachment to utility poles shall only be made with the permission of the utility company involved, and shall be placed not less than 12 feet above the surface of the ground. Such violations constitute a public nuisance.

E.    Any and all junk, trash, litter, garbage, boxes, bottles, cans, discarded lumber, salvaged materials, or other similar materials in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot, except for such materials being used for an immediate construction project on said premises.

F.    Any attractive nuisances dangerous to children including, but not limited to, abandoned, broken or neglected buildings, equipment, machinery, refrigerators and freezers, excavations, shafts, or insufficiently supported walls or fences in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.

G.    Broken or discarded furniture, furnishings, appliances, household equipment and other similar items, in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.

H.    Vegetation, refuse or feces constituting a fire hazard, a health hazard, or a safety hazard.

I.    Graffiti on the exterior of any building, fence, or other structure in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot.

J.    Nonoperational or abandoned vehicles or parts thereof, or other articles of personal property which are discarded or left in a state of partial construction or repair in any front yard, side yard, rear yard or vacant lot. The responsible person may have on his or her premises, at any one time, only one nonoperational or abandoned vehicle outside an enclosed building for a period not to exceed 14 days. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998; Ord. 1688 § 1, 1997).

8.24.060 Forced abatement.

A.    If, after receiving a written notice and order in accordance with Chapter 11.20 BMC, any person owning, occupying or controlling such premises who fails, neglects or refuses to correct said nuisance shall be found to be in violation of this chapter.

B.    In case the owner of the premises, or the occupant thereof, or any other person or persons creating, causing or committing, or maintaining the same, should fail to remove any nuisance as described in this chapter, the city may proceed upon the premises and clean and level the premises and remove or destroy said nuisance. The cost to the city for such cleaning, leveling, removal or destruction shall be at the expense of the owner or occupant of the property or against any other person or persons creating, causing or committing, or maintaining the same. The amount of said costs, together with the reasonable legal and administrative costs incurred by the city in relation thereto and for collection, shall be paid within 30 days of the billing date. If said costs are not paid within such time period, the city shall levy a special assessment on the land or premises where the nuisance is situated to defray the costs or to reimburse the city for the cost of abating the same. Notice of the lien shall be filed with the county auditor for the county in which the premises is located.

C.    Whenever, in any action brought before the hearing examiner, it is established that a nuisance exists as defined in this chapter, the hearing examiner shall, together with the fine imposed, if any, enter an order of abatement as part of the judgment in the case, which order shall direct either:

1.    That such nuisance be abated or removed by the defendant within a time limited by the hearing examiner and not exceeding 30 days; or

2.    That the nuisance may be abated by the city at the cost of the defendant. (Ord. 1745 § 1 (Att. A), 1998; Ord. 1688 § 1, 1997).