Chapter 10.36
ABANDONED VEHICLES

Sections:

10.36.010    Purpose of chapter.

10.36.020    Definitions.

10.36.030    Presumption of abandonment.

10.36.040    Liability for removal costs.

10.36.050    Removal--Authority.

10.36.060    Removal--Notices required--Contents.

10.36.070    Removal--Hearing notice to landowner.

10.36.080    Removal--Required when, exceptions.

10.36.090    Declared public nuisance.

10.36.100    Presumption of public nuisance.

10.36.110    Noncompliance with nuisance notice declared misdemeanor.

10.36.120    Towage and storage costs--Lien on vehicle.

10.36.130    Report to Washington state patrol required when.

10.36.140    Appointment of tow truck operator.

10.36.150    Tow truck operator duties.

10.36.160    Unclaimed--Sale notice required.

10.36.170    Unclaimed--Nuisance when--Disposal.

10.36.180    Disposal of proceeds of auction sale.

10.36.190    Liability of owner--Exception.

10.36.200    Alternate disposal methods.

10.36.210    Penalty for wilful abandonment.

10.36.220    Repealed.

10.36.230    Penalty for violation.

10.36.240    Severability.

10.36.250    Effective date.

10.36.010 Purpose of chapter.

Abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicles or automobile hulks or parts thereof are declared to be a public nuisance and may be abated as provided by this chapter and applicable state law.

(§ 1 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.020 Definitions.

An "abandoned vehicle" for the purposes of this chapter means any vehicle left within the limits of any highway, or upon the property of another, without the consent of the owner of such property, or upon any public property, for a period of 24 hours or longer, except that a vehicle shall not be considered "abandoned" if its owner or operator is unable to remove it from the place where it is located and so notifies law enforcement officials and requests assistance.

An "abandoned automobile hulk" for the purposes of this chapter means the abandoned remnant or remains of a motor vehicle which is inoperative and cannot be made mechanically operative without the addition of vital parts or mechanisms and the application of a substantial amount of labor to effect repairs.

(§ 2 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.030 Presumption of abandonment.

It is a prima facie presumption that any vehicle within unincorporated areas of Snohomish county, on private or public property or within the limits of any highway, is abandoned if the same:

(1) Is inoperable by reason of damage, neglect or the removal of parts therefrom; and

(2) Is unlicensed for current operation of a public street; and

(3) Has been substantially in the same condition for a period of 10 days or more.

(§ 3 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.040 Liability for removal costs.

The abandonment of any vehicle or automobile hulk shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the last owner of record is responsible for such abandonment and thus liable for any costs incurred in removing, storing and disposing of such motor vehicle.

(§ 4 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.050 Removal--Authority.

The sheriff of Snohomish county is authorized to remove and impound vehicles from any public street, alley or other public place, or from private property in the unincorporated areas of Snohomish county in any of the circumstances enumerated below:

(1) Any vehicle parked in such a position that it constitutes an obstruction to traffic or is unlawfully parked in any prohibited or restricted area, or is parked or so used as to endanger or be likely to endanger any user or potential user of any public highway, or is used in violation of the traffic ordinances of Snohomish county or the traffic laws of the state of Washington is declared to be a public nuisance and may be removed under the direction of the sheriff by means of towing or otherwise;

(2) In the event that an operator of a motor vehicle is arrested and placed in custody, or in the event the operator of a motor vehicle is incapacitated as the result of an accident and is unable to drive his vehicle to a place of safety; and there is no other person present who is able and willing to act as agent for such operator to drive the vehicle to a place of safety, the sheriff may provide for the removal of such vehicle to a place of safety by towing or otherwise;

(3) When any abandoned vehicle or abandoned automobile hulk as defined in SCC 10.36.020 is found on public or private property, or within the limits of any highway, within the unincorporated areas of Snohomish county.

(§ 5 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.060 Removal--Notices required--Contents.

Upon the receipt of a complaint from a private person regarding the presence of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative vehicle or automobile hulk or parts thereof on private property, or upon its own initiative, the sheriff’s office shall cause written notice to be given to the last registered owner of record of the vehicle and to the owner of record of the property upon which the vehicle or hulk is located to the effect that:

(1) A public hearing before the board of county commissioners on the matter of abatement and removal of the vehicle or hulk may be requested; and

(2) If no hearing is requested in writing within 15 days following the date of mailing of such notice, the vehicle or hulk will be removed; and

(3) Costs of removal may be assessed against the last registered owner of the vehicle or hulk, unless such owner in the transfer of ownership of such vehicle or hulk has complied with RCW 46.52.104, or the costs may be assessed against the owner of the property on which the vehicle is stored.

(§ 6 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.070 Removal--Hearing notice to landowner.

If a request for a hearing is received pursuant to SCC 10.36.060(1), a notice giving the time, location and date of such hearing on the question of abatement and removal of the vehicle or hulk as a public nuisance shall be mailed, by certified or registered mail, with a five-day return requested, to the owner of the land as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the last registered and legal owner of record of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

(§ 7 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.080 Removal--Required when, exceptions.

The owner of the land upon which the vehicle or hulk 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 reasons for such denial. If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle or hulk was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner and that he has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the county shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the vehicle or hulk against the property upon which it is located, or otherwise attempt to collect such cost from the owner.

(1) After notice has been given of the intent of the county to dispose of the vehicle and after a hearing, if requested, has been held, the vehicle or hulk shall be removed, at the request of a law enforcement officer, and disposed of to a licensed auto wrecker with notice to the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Motor Vehicles that the vehicle has been wrecked.

(2) These provisions shall not apply to:

(a) A vehicle or hulk which 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

(b) A vehicle or hulk which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler or licensed vehicle dealer, fenced according to the provisions of RCW 46.80.130.

(§ 8 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.090 Declared public nuisance.

The presence of an abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk, as defined in SCC 10.36.020, on any property, in a manner that offends public decency is declared to be a public nuisance. For the purpose of this section, an abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk includes a vehicle or hulk on the property of its owner.

(§ 8A of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.100 Presumption of public nuisance.

The presence of any abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk on any lot zoned R 7200; R 8400; R 9600 or multiple residence, for a period of 30 continuous days, unless enclosed within a building, shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk is a public nuisance.

(§ 8B of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.110 Noncompliance with nuisance notice declared misdemeanor.

Any person who shall maintain on his property a public nuisance as defined by this chapter, and who after 10 days’ notice to remove, repair or enclose the public nuisance shall fail to do so, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

(§ 8C of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.120 Towage and storage costs--Lien on vehicle.

All costs incurred by Snohomish county in the removal and storage of an impounded vehicle shall be a lien upon the vehicle. All towing and storage charges on each vehicle impounded shall be paid by the owner or his agent if the vehicle be redeemed. In the case of abandoned vehicles, all costs of removal and storage shall be recovered from the proceeds of sale, or from the last registered owner, or the owner of the property upon which the abandoned vehicle was found, in accordance with the procedures established in this chapter.

(§ 9 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.130 Report to Washington state patrol required when.

It shall be the duty of the sheriff of Snohomish county to report to the chief of the Washington state patrol all vehicles or automobile hulks found abandoned on a public highway or at any other place and the vehicle or hulk shall thereafter, at the direction of the sheriff, be placed in the custody of a tow truck operator.

(§ 10 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.140 Appointment of tow truck operator.

The sheriff may appoint any towing truck operator engaged in removing and storing abandoned motor vehicles for the purpose of disposing of abandoned vehicles and abandoned automobile hulks. Such appointment shall be contingent upon the towing truck operator receiving an appointment by the Department of Motor Vehicles and complying with the provisions of RCW 46.52.108, and any rules and regulations for the disposition of abandoned vehicles and abandoned automobile hulks established by the director of the department of motor vehicles or by the board of county commissioners.

Any appointment of a towing truck operator may be cancelled by the sheriff upon evidence that the appointed tow truck operator has not complied with any law, rule or regulation relative to the handling and disposition of abandoned motor vehicles. Appeal upon the grounds that the cancellation was arbitrary and capricious may be taken to the board of county commissioners.

(§ 11 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.150 Tow truck operator duties.

An appointed tow truck operator, at the direction of the sheriff of Snohomish county, shall take custody of an abandoned vehicle or abandoned automobile hulk, remove the same to the established place of business of the tow truck operator where the vehicle or hulk shall be stored; such tow truck operator shall have a lien upon the vehicle or hulk for services provided in the towing and storage of the same, and shall also have a claim against the last registered owner of the vehicle or hulk provided in the towing and storage of the same, not to exceed the sum of $100.00.

Within five days after receiving custody of such abandoned vehicle or abandoned automobile hulk, the tow truck operator shall give notice of his custody to the department of motor vehicles and to the chief of the Washington state patrol and within five days after having received the name and address of the owner, he shall notify the registered and legal owner of the same with copies of such notice being sent to the chief of the Washington state patrol and to the department of motor vehicles. The notice to the registered and legal owner shall be sent by the tow truck operator to the last known address of the owner appearing on the records of the department of motor vehicles, and such notice shall be sent to the registered and legal owner by certified or registered mail with a five-day return receipt requested. Such notice shall contain a description of the vehicle or hulk including its license number or motor number if available, or both license number and motor number if both be available, and shall state the amount due the tow truck operator for services in the towing and storage of the same and the time and place of public sale if the amount remains unpaid.

(§ 12 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.160 Unclaimed--Sale notice required.

If, after the expiration of 15 days from the date of mailing of notice to the registered and legal owner, the vehicle or automobile hulk remains unclaimed and has not been listed as a stolen or recovered vehicle, then the tow truck operator having custody of such vehicle or hulk shall conduct a sale of the same at public auction after having first published a notice of the date, place and time of such auction in a newspaper of general circulation in the county in which the vehicle is located not less than three days before the date of such auction.

(§ 13 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.170 Unclaimed--Nuisance when--Disposal.

Any vehicle impounded pursuant to this chapter and left unclaimed for a period of 15 days shall be deemed to be an abandoned vehicle, and at the expiration of such period the vehicle shall be deemed to be in the custody of the sheriff, and the sheriff shall deliver the vehicle to a tow truck operator who shall dispose of the vehicle in the manner provided in RCW 46.52.111 and 46.52.112; PROVIDED, That if the vehicle is of a model year 10 or more years prior to the calendar year in which such vehicle is stored, the sheriff is authorized to declare that such vehicle is a public nuisance, and may dispose of such vehicle without notice of sale, and in such case the director of motor vehicles will issue an appropriate bill of sale to the tow truck operator to dispose of the vehicle as he may determine.

(§ 14 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.180 Disposal of proceeds of auction sale.

The abandoned vehicle or abandoned automobile hulk shall be sold at such auction to the highest bidder. The proceeds of the sale, after deducting the towing and storage charges due the tow truck operator, including the cost of sale, which shall be computed as in a public auction sale of personal property by the sheriff, shall be certified one-half to the county treasurer of the county in which the vehicle is located to be credited to the county current expense fund, and one-half to the state treasurer to be credited to the highway safety fund. If the amount bid at the auction is insufficient to compensate the tow truck operator for his towing and storage charges and the cost of sale, such tow truck operator shall be entitled to assert a claim for any deficiency, not to exceed $100.00, less the amount bid at the auction, against the last registered owner of such vehicle or automobile hulk.

(§ 15 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.190 Liability of owner--Exception.

A registered owner transferring a motor vehicle shall be relieved from personal liability under SCC 10.36.040, 10.36.050, 10.36.140 and 10.36.170 if he complies with RCW 46.52.104, which requires that within five days of the transfer he transmit to the department of motor vehicles, on a form prescribed by the director of motor vehicles, notice that he has transferred his interest in the vehicle, the name of the transferee, and the date on which the transaction was made.

(§ 16 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.200 Alternate disposal methods.

If the board of county commissioners determines that commercial channels of disposition of abandoned vehicles or abandoned automobile hulks declared public nuisances are not available or are inadequate, final disposition of such vehicles or their parts may be made to a disposal site operated by Snohomish county, or may be transferred to another governmental body provided such disposal shall be only as scrap.

(§ 17 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.210 Penalty for willful abandonment.

Any person who shall take any vehicle or "abandoned vehicle" or "automobile hulk" as defined by SCC 10.36.020, and leave such vehicle or abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk within the unincorporated areas of Snohomish County on any public property or private property without the permission of the owner thereof, with the intent to abandon the vehicle, abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk, shall have committed a class 1 civil infraction punishable as provided in chapter 10.70 SCC and in addition to any other penalties provided for the punishment of civil infractions may be assessed all costs of removal of the vehicle, abandoned vehicle or automobile hulk.

(§ 18 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.36.220 Presumption of intent to abandon.

(§ 19 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970; Repealed by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.36.230 Penalty for violation.

Except as provided in SCC 10.36.210, any violation of this chapter shall be a misdemeanor and be punishable as provided in SCC 1.01.100.

(§ 20 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-111, Jan. 9, 2013, Eff date March 1, 2013).

10.36.240 Severability.

In the event any section or clause of this resolution, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the resolution or its application to other persons or circumstances is not affected.

(§ 21 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).

10.36.250 Effective date.

This resolution shall become effective on the first day of July, 1970.

(§ 22 of Res. adopted June 15, 1970).