Chapter 18.50
ENFORCEMENT

Sections:

18.50.010    Intent.

18.50.020    Violations.

18.50.030    Enforcement and duty to enforce.

18.50.040    Site investigation and right of entry.

18.50.050    Notice of voluntary correction.

18.50.060    Notice and order.

18.50.070    Stop work order and emergency order.

18.50.080    Appeal to hearing examiner.

18.50.090    Final order – Enforcement.

18.50.100    Suspension and revocation of permits.

18.50.110    Civil and criminal penalties.

18.50.120    Exception to enforcement and penalties – Land divisions.

18.50.130    Recovery of civil penalty and cost of abatement.

18.50.010 Intent.

(1) The primary intent of all enforcement actions described in this chapter is to educate the public and to encourage the voluntary correction of violations to protect the public health, safety and welfare. If voluntary compliance fails or is inapplicable in a given case, civil and criminal penalties will be used when necessary to ensure compliance with the provisions of this UDC. Criminal charges will be brought only when civil remedies have failed to ensure compliance and all lesser enforcement tools have proved futile.

(2) Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the building official, fire marshal, or local fire chief from following the enforcement process and provisions of the International Building Code, the International Fire Code, or any other standardized code adopted by the county. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.020 Violations.

(1) It is a violation of this UDC for any person to initiate or maintain, or to cause to be initiated or maintained, any use, alteration, construction, location, or demolition of any structure, land, or property within Jefferson County without first obtaining permits or authorizations required by this UDC.

(2) It is a violation of this UDC to remove or deface any sign, notice, complaint, or order required by or posted in accordance with this UDC.

(3) It is a violation of this UDC to misrepresent any material fact in any application, plans, or other information submitted to obtain any land use authorization.

(4) It is a violation for any person to fail to comply with provisions of this code, to fail to comply with the terms or conditions of a permit issued pursuant to this UDC, or to fail to comply with any or all notices or orders issued pursuant to this chapter. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.030 Enforcement and duty to enforce.

(1) Provisions of this UDC will be enforced for the benefit of the health, safety, and welfare of the general public and the environment and not for the benefit of any particular person or class of persons.

(2) The administrator is authorized to use the provisions of this chapter to remove, prevent and stop violations of this UDC. The administrator may call upon law enforcement, fire, health, or other appropriate county departments to assist in enforcement.

(3) The owner of any real or personal property subject to enforcement action and/or any person responsible for a violation at a particular site or real property shall be individually and jointly liable for failure to comply with this UDC or to comply with any and all notices or orders issued pursuant to this code.

(4) No provision or term used in this chapter is intended to impose any duty upon the county or any of its officers or employees, which would subject them or the county to damages in a civil action. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.040 Site investigation and right of entry.

(1) Any person submitting an application for any land use permit or any other land use activities shall also be requested to give written consent to on-site inspection of their property solely for the purpose of assessing compliance with any or all county development regulations applicable to the land use permit or proposal submitted by that applicant.

(2) The administrator may, with the written consent of the owner, enter any building, structure, property or portion thereof at reasonable times to inspect the same in order to determine whether the applicant and/or owner are in compliance with any and all development regulations applicable to the land use permit or proposal submitted by that applicant.

(3) If written consent of the applicant or owner to enter private property exists and if the administrator should find such building, structure, property or portion thereof to be occupied, then the administrator shall present identification credentials, state the reasons for the inspection, and request entry.

(4) If written consent of the applicant or owner to enter private property exists and if the administrator should find such building, structure, property or portion thereof to be unoccupied, then the administrator shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other persons having charge or control of the building, structure, property or portion thereof and request entry. If the administrator is unable to locate the owner or such other persons, and has reason to believe that conditions therein create an immediate and irreparable land use of safety hazard, the administrator may enter to investigate land use violations or safety hazards.

(5) Should the administrator be denied written consent to access such private property in order to carry out the purpose and provisions of this section, then the administrator shall, if entry upon private property is deemed necessary, be required to obtain a lawful search warrant executed by a neutral magistrate or judge based upon sufficient sworn proof of probable cause prior to entry upon private property.

(6) At such time as the county, through its administrator, concludes that the applicant has complied with all development regulations applicable to the applicant’s proposal or application for one or more land use permits, the written consent to enter the premises of the applicant for inspection and observation as permitted by this section shall immediately expire.

(7) Because there will be circumstances, complaints or facts where an investigation of real property will be required that does not arise from an existing application or request for one or more land use permits, the administrator is permitted to take all lawful steps to investigate those circumstances or facts, including, but not limited to, obtaining a lawful search warrant executed by a neutral magistrate or judge based upon sufficient sworn proof of probable cause prior to entry upon private property. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.050 Notice of voluntary correction.

(1) If after investigation, the administrator determines that any provision of the UDC has been violated, a notice of voluntary correction letter should be the first attempt at obtaining compliance. If voluntary compliance is not obtained, the administrator shall serve a notice and order, as set forth in JCC 18.50.060(6), upon the owner and person(s) responsible for the violation.

(2) The notice of voluntary correction shall state the following:

(a) The street address, when available, and/or a legal description of real property sufficient to identify where the violation occurred or is located;

(b) Description of the activity that is causing a violation;

(c) Each provision violated under county regulations;

(d) The corrective action necessary to comply with said provisions;

(e) A reasonable time and date by which the corrective action is to be completed; however, in no event shall the time given for voluntary correction be greater than 60 calendar days, except as provided in subsection (4) of this section; and

(f) That continued or subsequent violation may result in civil enforcement actions, as provided in JCC 18.50.110, to include monetary civil penalties, and/or abatement proceedings enforceable as a lien against property or as a personal obligation.

(3) Following a notice of voluntary correction, the administrator and person in violation may meet to develop a compliance plan. The compliance plan shall establish a reasonable and specific time frame for compliance. No further action will be taken if the terms of the compliance plan are met. If no compliance plan is established, a notice and order will proceed.

(4) Upon written request received prior to the correction date, an administrator may, for good cause shown, grant an extension of the date set for correction for an amount of time as deemed reasonable by the administrator. The administrator may only consider as good cause: (a) substantial completion of necessary correction; (b) unforeseeable circumstances not caused by the person so as to make completion impossible by the date established; or (c) procedural requirements for obtaining a permit to carry out the corrective action.

(5) The voluntary correction process is optional as deemed by the administrator. If the administrator believes that the requirements of this chapter are not being met, the administrator shall, in addition to the notice and order, issue applicable stop work or emergency orders. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.060 Notice and order.

(1) Whenever the voluntary correction process set forth in JCC 18.50.050 is unsuccessful, or the administrator believes that the violation can only be promptly and equitably corrected by an immediate administrative notice and order, the administrator shall issue a written notice and order directed either to the owner or operator of the source of violation, the person in possession of the property where the violation originates or the person otherwise causing or responsible for the violation.

(2) The notice and order shall state the following:

(a) The street address, when available, and/or a legal description of real property sufficient to identify where the violation occurred or is located;

(b) A statement that the administrator has found the person to be in violation of a land use regulation, with a brief and concise description of the conditions found to be in violation and a reference to county regulation(s) which has been violated;

(c) A statement of the corrective action required to be taken. If the administrator has determined that corrective work is required, the notice and order shall require that all required permits be secured, that work physically be commenced and that the work be completed within such times as the administrator determines are reasonable under the circumstances;

(d) A statement specifying the amount of any civil penalty that may be assessed and subsequently perfected and collected at a later date on account of the violation and, if applicable, the conditions on which the assessment of such civil penalty is based;

(e) A statement advising that if any work is not commenced or completed within the times specified, the administrator will proceed to cause abatement of the violation and cause the work to be done and charge costs as a lien against the property;

(f) A statement advising that if any assessed civil penalty is not paid, the administrator will charge the amount of the penalty as a lien against the property and as a joint and separate personal obligation of any person in violation; and

(g) A description of the available appeals process.

(3) The notice and order may be appealed within 14 calendar days from the date of the notice and order to the hearing examiner, pursuant to the provisions of JCC 18.50.080. The appeal shall be accompanied by an appeal fee in an amount set forth by the county.

(4) Any per-day civil penalty shall not accrue during the pendancy of such administrative appeal, unless the hearing examiner determines that the appeal is frivolous or intended solely to delay compliance.

(5) A failure to file a timely and complete appeal will constitute a waiver of all rights to an administrative appeal under this UDC.

(6) The notice of voluntary correction, notice and order, stop work order, or emergency order shall be served upon the owner and person(s) responsible for the violation by the administrator or his designated representative over the age of 18. The administrator may also mail a certified copy of such notice and orders, mailing such a certified copy of the notice and orders to the fee or record owner of the property at the address where that record owner receives the related tax bills for that real property from the Jefferson County treasurer. If the address of any such person cannot reasonably be ascertained, a copy of the notice and order shall be mailed to such person at the address of the location of the violation. The failure of any such person to receive such notice shall not affect the validity of any proceedings taken under this chapter. Service by mail in the manner provided in this chapter shall be effective on the date of postmark. The notice and order may be, but is not required to be, posted on the subject property. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.070 Stop work order and emergency order.

(1) Stop Work Order. Whenever a continuing violation of any regulations within the UDC will: (a) materially impair the administrator’s ability to secure compliance with the UDC; or (b) threaten the health or safety of the public; or (c) threaten or harm the environment, then the administrator may issue a stop work order specifying the violation and prohibiting any work or other activity at the site. The order may be posted on the subject property or may be served on persons engaged in any work in violation of this chapter. No further work or activity shall proceed, unless and until authorized by the administrator in writing. In the event the administrator issues a stop work order, the voluntary correction procedures of JCC 18.50.050 and the notice and order provisions of JCC 18.50.060 shall not apply. A failure to comply with a stop work order shall constitute a violation of this chapter.

(2) Emergency Order. Whenever any use or activity in violation of the UDC threatens the health or safety of occupants of the premises or property, any member of the public or the environment, the administrator may issue an emergency order directing that the use or activity be discontinued and the condition causing threat to health and safety or threat and harm to the environment be corrected. The emergency order shall be served on the person(s) responsible pursuant to JCC 18.50.060(6), which shall specify the time for compliance, and should be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises, if posting is physically possible. Failure to comply with an emergency order shall constitute a violation of this code. In the event the administrator issues an emergency order, the voluntary correction procedures of JCC 18.50.050 and the notice and order provisions of JCC 18.50.060 shall not apply. A failure to comply with an emergency order shall constitute a violation of this chapter. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.080 Appeal to hearing examiner.

(1) Appeal. A person to whom a formal notice and order or an abatement order is directed may appeal such order by filing a written notice of appeal with DCD within 14 calendar days from the date of the notice and order to the hearing examiner pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 18.40 JCC.

(2) Fee. The appeal shall be accompanied by an appeal fee in an amount set forth by the county.

(3) Stay. Any per-day civil penalty shall not accrue during the pendency of such administrative appeal unless the hearing examiner determines that the appeal is frivolous or intended solely to cause delay. Enforcement of any formal notice and order or abatement order of the administrator issued pursuant to this chapter shall be stayed during the pendency of any appeal under this chapter, except when the administrator issues an emergency order and/or stop work order pursuant to JCC 18.50.070.

(4) Waiver. Failure to file a timely and complete appeal will constitute a waiver of all rights to an administrative appeal under the UDC.

(5) Administrative Conference. At any time prior to the convening of an appeal hearing of a notice and order issued pursuant to JCC 18.50.060, an informal administrative conference may be conducted by the administrator for the purposes of bringing communications between concerned parties and providing a forum for efficient resolution of any violation. The administrator may call a conference on his or her own initiative or in response to a request from the appellant. Any person attending this informal administrative conference agrees that any settlement offer(s), statements or representations made at that conference by any person or by the administrator shall not be admissible at any subsequent hearing or proceeding. As a result of information developed at the conference, the administrator may affirm, modify or revoke the order. If the order is to be modified, a supplemental notice and order shall be issued which shall be subject to the same procedures applicable to all notices and orders contained in this chapter. The administrative conference is optional with the administrator, and is not a prerequisite to utilization of any of the enforcement provisions described in this chapter.

(6) Notification for appeal hearings shall follow the notification provisions of JCC 18.40.230. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.090 Final order – Enforcement.

If, after any order duly issued by the administrator has become final, the person to whom such order is directed fails, neglects or refuses to obey such order, including refusal to pay a civil penalty assessed and later perfected pursuant to such an order, pursuant to JCC 18.50.110, the administrator may, with assistance from other county agencies if needed:

(1) Institute any appropriate action needed to collect a civil penalty assessed under this chapter; and/or

(2) Abate the land use violation using the procedures of this chapter; and/or

(3) Pursue criminal penalties as set forth in JCC 18.50.110; and/or

(4) Pursue any other appropriate remedy at law or equity under this chapter. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.100 Suspension and revocation of permits.

(1) Suspension – Cause. The administrator may temporarily suspend any permit issued under the UDC for:

(a) Failure of the holder to comply with the requirements of any development regulations, or rules promulgated thereunder; or

(b) Failure of the holder to comply with any order issued pursuant to this chapter; or

(c) Interference with the administrator in the performance of his/her duties; or

(d) Discovery by the administrator that a permit was issued in error or on the basis of incorrect information supplied to the county; or

(e) Failure to comply with the conditions and/or mitigation measures of any land use permit.

(2) Whenever the administrator finds just cause, permit suspension shall be carried out through the notice and order provisions of JCC 18.50.060 and shall be effective upon service of the notice and order.

(3) The holder or operator of the permit may appeal the suspension as provided for by JCC 18.50.080.

(4) Revocation – Cause. The administrator may permanently revoke any permit issued under the UDC for just cause under subsections (1)(a) through (1)(e) of this section. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.110 Civil and criminal penalties.

(1) Civil Penalties. Any person who violates any development regulations, or rules or regulations adopted under the UDC, or the conditions and/or mitigation measures of any permit issued pursuant to such ordinance, rule or regulation, or who, by any act or omission procures, aids or abets such violation shall be subject to civil penalties as provided in this chapter.

(a) Civil penalties may be assessed by the administrator by means of a formal notice and order issued pursuant to this chapter and may be recovered by legal action filed by the prosecuting attorney.

(b) Civil penalties, once perfected through the appropriate legal action, shall be collected in the same manner as judgments in civil actions.

(c) Civil penalties shall be a cumulative penalty in the amount of $100.00 per day for each violation. Penalties for the second separate violation of a like nature by the same person within a period of two years shall be double that rate.

(d) Each and every day or portion thereof during which any violation is committed, continued, permitted or not corrected shall be deemed a violation for purposes of this chapter. Civil penalties for violation of any formal notice and order to correct the violation, stop work order, emergency order or any other order issued by the administrator pursuant to this chapter (except an order to secure voluntary correction) shall begin to accrue on the first day the order is served and shall cease on the day the violation is actually stopped or the correction is completed.

(e) In addition to the penalties set forth in this section, violations causing significant damage as defined by the following acts may also be assessed penalties at an amount reasonably determined by the administrator to be equivalent to the economic benefit that the violator derives from the violation, as measured by the greater of the resulting increase in market value of the property or the value received by the violator, or savings of construction costs realized by the violator:

(i) Grading (filling and/or excavation), clearing of vegetation and trees, and/or draining of riparian corridors, wetlands and their buffers; or

(ii) Destruction of a historic landmark, or cultural or archaeological artifact as defined by county ordinance.

(2) Payment of a civil penalty initially assessed pursuant to this chapter does not relieve a person of the duty to correct or remediate the violation as ordered by the administrator.

(3) In addition to any other penalty under this chapter, the administrator is authorized to suspend or revoke any permits issued pursuant to the UDC as further set forth in this chapter.

(4) Criminal Penalties. As a final alternative to any other administrative or legal remedies under this chapter, any person who willfully or knowingly violates or fails to comply with any stop work order or emergency order, issued by the administrator pursuant to this chapter, is guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction shall be punished by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by imprisonment for not more than 180 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each day such violation or failure to comply continues shall be considered an additional misdemeanor offense.

(5) Additional Relief. Notwithstanding other remedies in this chapter, the administrator may seek legal or equitable relief to enjoin any acts or practices or abate any conditions which constitute or will constitute a violation of any land use provision or regulations adopted under the UDC when civil or criminal penalties are inadequate to effect compliance.

(6) Violator’s Liability for Damages. Any person who violates any provisions or any permit issued under the UDC shall be liable for all damage to public or private property arising from such violation, including the cost of restoring the affected area to its condition prior to violation. The prosecuting attorney may bring suit for damages under this chapter on behalf of the county. If liability has been established for the cost of restoring an area affected by a violation, the court shall make provision to assure that restoration will be accomplished within a reasonable time at the expense of the violator. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.120 Exception to enforcement and penalties – Land divisions.

The procedures and penalties of this chapter expressly do not repeal and replace the penalties and enforcement provisions of Chapter 18.35 JCC, Land Divisions, but shall apply only to conditions of final plat approval. All other enforcement and penalty provisions of Chapter 18.35 JCC, as they now exist or are later amended, shall remain in full force and effect. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]

18.50.130 Recovery of civil penalty and cost of abatement.

(1) Lien – Authorized. Jefferson County shall have an unperfected lien for any civil penalty imposed or for the cost of any abatement work done pursuant to this chapter, or both, against the real property on which the civil penalty was imposed or any of the abatement work performed.

(2) Personal Obligation – Authorized. The civil penalty and the cost of abatement are also joint and separate personal obligations of any person or entity in violation. The prosecuting attorney on behalf of the county may collect the civil penalty and abatement work costs by use of all appropriate legal remedies.

(3) Lien – Foreclosure. The administrator shall cause a claim for lien to be filed for record in the Jefferson County auditor’s office within 90 days of the date when the lien was perfected.

(4) The claim of lien shall contain the following:

(a) The authority for imposing a civil penalty or proceeding to abate the violation, or both;

(b) Proof, which may come from the document itself, of the legal perfection of the lien;

(c) A brief description of the civil penalty imposed or the abatement work done, or both, including the violations charged and the duration thereof, including the time the work is commenced and completed and the name of the persons or organizations performing the work;

(d) A legal description of the property to be charged with the lien;

(e) The name of the known or reputed owner, and, if not known, the fact shall be alleged; and

(f) The amount, including lawful and reasonable costs for which the lien is claimed.

(5) Verification. The administrator shall sign and verify the claim by oath to the effect that the administrator believes the claim is just.

(6) Amendment. The claim of lien may be amended in case of action brought to foreclose same, by order of the court, insofar as the interests of third parties shall not be detrimentally affected by amendment. Nothing shall prevent the administrator from removing or reducing the civil assessment or lien upon satisfactory evidence that the violation of this development code has been abated, resolved, or removed.

(7) Foreclosure. The lien provided by this chapter, once perfected and recorded as a lien against any real property owned in Washington by the debtor, may be foreclosed and enforced by a civil action in a court having jurisdiction. All persons who have legally filed claims of liens against the same property prior to commencement of the action shall be joined as parties, either plaintiff or defendant. [Ord. 2-06 § 1]