Chapter 1.12


1.12.010    Title.

1.12.020    Mission.

1.12.030    Purpose.

1.12.040    Interpretation.

1.12.050    Amendments.

1.12.060    Ordinance enforcement philosophy.

1.12.070    Priorities for ordinance enforcement.

1.12.080    Applicability for all violations.

1.12.090    Introduction of ordinance enforcement.

1.12.100    Recording complaint, opening file and time lines.

1.12.110    Notice of file opening.

1.12.120    Investigation.

1.12.130    Enforcement procedures.

1.12.140    Appeal.

1.12.150    Financial hardship.

1.12.160    Resolution of ordinance complaints.

1.12.170    File maintenance.

1.12.180    Media contact.

1.12.010 Title.

This chapter shall be known as the Crook County enforcement ordinance. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 1, 2002)

1.12.020 Mission.

The mission of ordinance enforcement in Crook County is to protect the health and safety of the county’s residents and visitors, and the livability of the community, by assuring compliance with the county’s land use, environmental, construction ordinances and state law with respect to ORS 454.605 through 454.745 and the administrative rules of the environmental quality commission. The county will assure compliance both by encouraging voluntary compliance and by punishing ordinance violators who do not comply. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 2, 2002)

1.12.030 Purpose.

The purpose of the Crook County ordinance enforcement policy and procedures chapter (hereafter “chapter”) is to provide written guidelines for:

(1) Compliance with state laws for violation of the administrative rules of a state agency;

(2) The prioritization of ordinance, and ORS enforcement cases;

(3) Initiation and investigation of ordinance violation complaints;

(4) Enforcement of county ordinances through voluntary compliance;

(5) Prosecution of violators who do not comply;

(6) Punishment of ordinance violators and the assessment of fines and penalties; and

(7) Recovery of the county’s investigation and enforcement costs.

These written policies are intended to assure consistency and predictability within the county’s ordinance enforcement program, and to educate the county’s citizens and property owners about ordinance enforcement and the consequences of violating the county ordinances and/or administrative rules of a state agency. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 3, 2002)

1.12.040 Interpretation.

This chapter describes the standard policies and procedures for enforcement, and should be interpreted to maximize both the efficiency of county enforcement and compliance with county ordinances. This chapter should be followed unless there is a compelling reason not to, as determined by the county court. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 4, 2002)

1.12.050 Amendments.

This chapter may be amended when deemed necessary by the county court. Amendments may be proposed by county staff, members of the county court and other interested persons. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 5, 2002)

1.12.060 Ordinance enforcement philosophy.

(1) Policy. The county’s policy is to enforce compliance with county ordinances and/or state laws in all cases of reported and discovered violations. However, the county has limited enforcement resources. Consequently, the county has established, through this chapter, both a priority ranking for enforcement and procedures designed to maximize available enforcement resources. The county’s ordinance enforcement should follow the priority ranking set forth in CCC 1.12.030, Purpose. The level of enforcement that best fits the type of the violation also should be flexible enough, with clear and objective criteria set forth in this chapter and consistent with the priorities.

(2) Enforcement Levels. The levels of enforcement available to the county include the following:

(a) Obtaining voluntary compliance;

(b) Mediated settlement of violation complaints;

(c) Notice of violation (hereafter “NOV”);

(d) Citation and prosecution of infractions in circuit court;

(e) Petition for injunction in circuit court;

(f) Requiring a penalty plus fee on building, planning or road permits for compliance;

(g) Assisting in enforcement by other regulatory and licensing agencies; and

(h) County cost recovery.

(3) Sequence of Enforcement. The levels of enforcement are not mutually exclusive, and may be used alone, in sequence or combination with other levels. However, in most violation cases, the county will use the ordinance enforcement levels in the sequence they appear in subsection (2) of this section.

(4) Criteria for Choosing Level of Enforcement. Some violation cases may have aggravating circumstances requiring a different sequence for enforcement activity than that set forth in subsection (2) of this section. The county compliance officer or his/her designee, with the written consent and approval of one or more members of the Crook County court, after consultation with county counsel, may choose a different sequence if one or more of the following circumstances are present:

(a) The violation is severe;

(b) The actions leading to the violation(s) were deliberate;

(c) The violation(s) poses a significant threat to the public’s health and safety or to the environment;

(d) The violation(s) may cause economic harm to individual(s) or to the county as a whole;

(e) The alleged violator is receiving significant economic benefit from continuing the violation;

(f) The size or extent of the violation(s) is significant;

(g) The violation(s) has existed uncorrected for a significant period;

(h) There is a history of complaints and ordinance enforcement on the subject property and/or with the alleged violator;

(i) There is community interest in the violation, and potential ordinance enforcement and the compliance on the property would be very visible;

(j) There is potential for combining enforcement action on the violation with other violations;

(k) The benefits of enforcement outweigh its cost;

(l) There is potential that the violation(s) can be established and successfully prosecuted; and

(m) There is little likelihood of obtaining voluntary compliance. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 6, 2002)

1.12.070 Priorities for ordinance enforcement.

(1) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to investigate and to attempt to resolve all violations, properly received. However, because of the limited enforcement resources, there may be times when all violations cannot be given the same level of attention, when some violations may receive no attention at all, or when the county may be unable to carry out the new proactive enforcement activities set forth in CCC 1.12.080.

In circumstances where not all violations can be investigated, the most serious violations, as determined under the priorities set forth in this section and the criteria for enforcement in CCC 1.12.120, should be addressed before the less serious violations are addressed, regardless of the order in which the complaints are received. However, complaints alleging both priority and nonpriority violations should be processed together to maximize efficiency.

(2) Priority Cases. The county court has established the following priority ranking for violations:

(a) Violations that present an imminent threat to public health and safety;

(b) Violations affecting rivers, streams and/or adjacent riparian areas;

(c) Solid waste and land use violation(s), including failure to meet timely conditions of approval;

(d) Ordinance or ORS violation consisting of Environmental Quality Commission rules pertaining to and/or involving ongoing unpermitted construction or involving a violation of ORS 368.251 et seq.;

(e) Violations involving failure to meet requirements and/or timeliness for permits issued by the community development department; and

(f) Violations of the county nuisance ordinance.

(3) Nonpriority Cases.

(a) Policy. Complaints alleging violations that do not fall within the priority ranking above should be processed in the order in which the complaints are received, and as enforcement resources allow.

(b) Exception. At the discretion of the compliance officer, complaints may be processed in any order that maximizes the efficiency of enforcement.

(c) Procedure. All complaints concerning a particular type (of) or geographic area of violation may be processed together, regardless of the order in which the complaints are received. (Ord. 149 Amd. 1 § 3, 2006; Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 7, 2002)

1.12.080 Applicability for all violations.

(1) General Applicability. This chapter applies to all enforcement carried out by the compliance officer and agents. Except as otherwise provided, the policies and procedures in this chapter apply to all alleged violations, whether or not they existed on the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter. The policies and procedures in this chapter supersede any conflicting Crook County policies and procedures. This chapter shall not supersede any state statute, administrative rule, or county ordinance regulating the matters contained herein, including but not limited to: Chapter 15.04 CCC and CCC Titles 17 and 18, and ORS 455.690.

(a) Procedure. The enforcement procedures described in subsections (1) and (2) of this section shall be used for:

(i) Violation of county ordinance or ORS complaints, and violations observed by the compliance officer, that were pending as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter; and

(ii) New violation complaints and/or observations by the compliance officer and other county staff relating to violations that occurred prior to the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

(2) New Policies and Procedures Applicable on Effective Date of the Ordinance Codified in This Chapter.

(a) Policy. It is the county’s policy, as of the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, to increase code enforcement and compliance by creating a framework for proactive (i.e., county-initiated) enforcement of county ordinances.

(b) Procedure. On and after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, and within available enforcement resources, the county may undertake a number of county-initiated procedures for proactive enforcement. These procedures may include:

(i) Investigations and prosecutions of violations in particular geographic areas;

(ii) Investigations and prosecutions of violations of a particular type throughout the county;

(iii) Encumbering property subject to land use conditions of approval by recording the conditions in the county clerk’s real property records;

(iv) Timely and regular follow-up by the compliance officer for compliance with conditions and requirements for permits and approvals;

(v) Reporting by staff of violations observed while conducting county business;

(vi) Examination and comparison of county files for evidence of code violations;

(vii) Revocation of planning, building and/or road permits for failure to comply;

(viii) Restriction on issuance of development permits on property from planning and/or building departments with uncorrected code violations;

(ix) Cooperation with code enforcement by other regulatory and licensing agencies; and

(x) Cooperation with utility companies to terminate service, to the extent authorized by law, to unpermitted uses on property.

(3) Nonapplicability to Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions. Many subdivisions and planned communities are subject to private, recorded covenants, conditions and restrictions (hereafter “CC&R’s”). For example, CC&R’s may regulate matters like the height, size or appearance of structures, or the method of storing recreational vehicles. The conditions and restrictions included in CC&R’s are sometimes similar or identical to county code provisions governing the same structure or activity.

(a) Policy. Crook County’s policy is not to enforce private CC&R’s. However, the county will enforce county code provisions that regulate the same activity as CC&R’s, pursuant to this chapter.

(4) Nonapplicability to Private Legal Action. Citizens may undertake private legal action to enforce county ordinances, including civil litigation against the alleged violator, as well as personally filing citations and prosecuting county infractions in circuit court. The policies and procedures in this chapter do not apply to private legal action to abate county ordinance violations, and should not be interpreted to suggest that the county will participate in such private legal action. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 8, 2002)

1.12.090 Introduction of ordinance enforcement.

Complaints may be introduced by any of the following methods:

(1) Citizen Complaint. Any person who resides in the county or has real property within Crook County but not within the city limits of Prineville may make a complaint alleging one or more violations. Citizens residing within the city limits of Prineville should file complaints with the appropriate officer of the city of Prineville.

(a) Form. A citizen’s complaint shall be made on a Crook County Complaint Form (see Appendix A, attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter). The complainant will complete the form. A county staff member will accept a completed form and verify the form is complete by initializing at top right corner in the space provided. To be investigated, a citizen complaint must contain all information required on the complaint form.

(b) Anonymous Complaints. Persons who wish not to be identified, but wish to file a complaint.

(i) Policy. The county’s policy is to accept anonymous violation complaints. However, the county believes that anonymous complaints are not as reliable as those made by complainants who are willing to identify themselves. For that reason, the county encourages complainants to identify themselves whenever possible. In addition, the county reserves the right not to prosecute anonymous complaints whenever the county believes that the complainant’s identification is necessary to the successful prosecution of the case.

(c) Confidentiality.

(i) Policy. The county’s policy is to maintain the confidentiality of the complaint files and computer records, including the identity of the complainant, to the extent legally possible. The county believes it is important to maintain this confidentiality to assure effective investigation and prosecution of code violators. In addition, the county recognizes that some complainants do not want their names disclosed to the alleged code violator for fear of retaliation. However, in some cases it may be necessary for successful prosecution and enforcement for the complainant to be identified and testify in court. In addition, the county’s code enforcement files are subject to state statutes governing public records and discovery.

(ii) Exceptions. In cases where the county chooses to cooperate with, or defer to, federal or state agencies for code enforcement, the contents of the file may be disclosed, as necessary, to the other agency.

(iii) Procedure. In order to maintain the confidentiality of the complaint files and the identity of the complainants, while assuring effective prosecution and enforcement and compliance with state law, the following procedures apply:

(A) Code enforcement files will be maintained as confidential files throughout investigation, infraction prosecution and/or other types of enforcement.

(B) The contents of the complaint files will not be disclosed to anyone other than county staff who have a reason to know and who are involved in the investigation, or to similar staff of an agency with which the county is cooperating. The contents of the file will not be disclosed to any other until: 1) the investigation is complete and a citation discovery request is made; or 2) the file is closed and disclosure is made pursuant to the public records law.

(C) County and/or federal or state agency staff to whom the contents of the file are disclosed under subsection (1)(c)(iii)(B) of this section shall maintain the confidentiality of the file and the identity of the complainant pursuant to this chapter.

(2) Observation by Compliance Officer. The compliance officer may observe additional potential code violations while conducting complaint investigations.

(a) Policy. The county’s policy is that the code enforcement officer shall document on an investigation worksheet any potential county violation(s) observed on property that is the subject of his or her current investigation. He or she may also document county violations observed on any property immediately adjacent to the subject property, which violations are observable from the subject property.

(3) Permit Conditions Monitoring by Community Development Staff. The county routinely issues land use, environmental and construction permits with a variety of requirements and conditions, and time lines for meeting them. For example, the building department will not issue a building permit until the environmental health department has approved a septic system and a septic permit is obtained and verified.

(a) Policy. The Crook County community development department building department has established its own policy.

(b) Procedure. The Crook County community development building department has established its own procedures for building code violations.

(4) Report by County Staff. In many cases, county staff may be in a unique position to observe potential county violations. For example, a property appraiser in the assessor’s office may be the only person able to observe new construction for which there is no permit.

(a) Policy. The Crook County policy is to accept possible county violations observed by county staff whether or not the observation is made while conducting county business.

(b) Procedure.

(i) County staff including elected officials shall report all alleged county violations by submitting a completed complaint form to the compliance officer.

(ii) The county will maintain the same procedures as described in this chapter for county staff members who file a complaint form with the compliance officer.

(5) Information from Official County Records. Potential county violations may be discovered by examining the county’s own official records.

(a) Policy. Any information discovered through county files will be acceptable to identify potential county violators.

(b) Procedures. The person making the discovery of potential county violations shall submit a completed complaint form, with the information discovered, and submit the information to the compliance officer.

(6) Initiation without Formal Complaint. Potential county violations may be initiated without a formal written or verbal complaint if the compliance officer has reasonable grounds to suspect a violation has occurred.

(a) Policy. Any information coming to the attention of the compliance officer may be grounds for further investigation and prosecution of county violations, if such information is deemed credible and can be supported by competent evidence. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 9, 2002)

1.12.100 Recording complaint, opening file and time lines.

(1) Recording Complaint. All complaints received by county enforcement shall be recorded in the computer system. Recording the complaint shall consist of assigning a case number and entering the following information into the computer:

(a) The case number;

(b) Defendant’s name, address of property, and mailing address;

(c) Date entered into computer;

(d) Staff initials who accepted complaint;

(e) Complainant’s name, address, phone number, and if not a resident of Crook County, address (sites) of real property owned in Crook County;

(f) Tax map number for the subject property; and

(g) Code enforcement officer assigned to the case.

(2) Opening File. After a complaint is assigned a case number and recorded, a file shall be opened for the complaint. The file is the official record of the complaint and its investigation and resolution. The file shall contain the following minimum initial information:

(a) The complaint form, staff member who accepted form;

(b) A tax map;

(c) Investigation worksheet;

(d) Zoning and number of acres if property is subject of complaint;

(e) Statement indicating whether complaint is considered valid or invalid by compliance officer;

(f) Assessor’s information, if subject is real property.

(3) Projected Time Line.

(a) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to encourage the timely resolution of code violation complaints by establishing and making reasonable time lines for compliance.

(b) Procedure. When a file is opened, a time line will be established for compliance on the alleged code violations, based on the following criteria:

(i) Type of alleged violation;

(ii) Priority ranking of the violation(s) under CCC 1.12.070;

(iii) Current county enforcement caseload;

(iv) Current workload of other agency(s) assisting in investigation of violation(s);

(v) Time line established in this chapter and/or through other agencies for processing violation complaints. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 10, 2002)

1.12.110 Notice of file opening.

The county compliance office may notify any other department in Crook County, and/or another city, county, federal, state or other agency about a complaint filed and opened. The purpose for notification of a file opened is that one or more agencies may have an interest in the alleged violation(s) or have jurisdiction of the violation(s). (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 11, 2002)

1.12.120 Investigation.

(1) Preliminary Matters. At the beginning of each investigation, the following shall be established:

(a) Jurisdiction. The property upon which the alleged violation has occurred must be land over which the county has enforcement jurisdiction.

(b) Zoning. The zoning of the subject property shall be determined.

(c) Permit Status. The status of permits on the subject property for land use, environmental health and construction shall be determined.

(d) Property Ownership. All persons with a recorded legal interest in the subject property should be identified. These persons should include the owners, contract purchasers, lessees and lienholder or other security interest holders.

(e) Other Potentially Responsible Persons. In addition to the persons listed in subsection (1)(d) of this section, any other persons potentially responsible for the alleged violation(s) should be identified. These persons could include tenants, construction contractors or others.

(f) Prior Complaint History. The county enforcement officer may examine any records to determine the existence and status of any prior or existing county violation(s) complaints on the subject property or concerning the alleged violator. Information obtained will assist the investigating officer to determine whether the violation is new, reoccurring, or other.

(2) Establishing the Elements of a Violation. Before a notice of violation (NOV) is sent, it must be determined whether the complaint, if true, establishes a violation. If it does not, the case should be resolved by file closure. If violation is valid, the responsible person will be established. The violation will be investigated. Compliance will follow the established steps in CCC 1.12.130 for the violator(s) to comply with the established Oregon Statutes, State OAR’s, and/or county ordinances. Attached as Appendix F to the ordinance codified in this chapter is a Health Hazard Risk Determination Form. This form shall be used to assist field staff in determining the response level required to protect the public from exposure to harmful substances or dangerous conditions.

(3) Field Investigation.

(a) Purpose. The purposes of county enforcement field investigation are:

(i) To verify the existence and severity of violations;

(ii) To document violations by means of photographs, witnesses, interviews, etc.;

(iii) To obtain supporting evidence; and

(iv) If possible, to discuss with the property owner, occupant or other responsible person:

(A) The nature of the violation(s);

(B) Methods for complying with the ordinance(s);

(C) Time line for compliance;

(D) Enforcement procedures for compliance; and

(E) Potential consequences for failure to comply.

(b) Coordination. Whenever field investigation is necessary, the investigating officer shall notify other staff of his or her intended activity. Another agency can attend with investigating officer if deemed necessary by a county staff member. The accompanying staff member may enter a report of any action undertaken in the investigation and/or to obtain compliance.

(c) Preparation and Precautions.

(i) Policy. It is the Crook County policy that compliance officers should not be exposed to unreasonable risks of violent confrontation or injury during the course of field investigations. Compliance officers and other assisting staff shall take whatever precautions are reasonable and necessary to minimize the risk of violent confrontation or injury to themselves or others in conducting their field investigations.

(ii) Procedure.

(A) Law Enforcement Assistance. When appropriate, the compliance officer or other assigned staff should contact the sheriff’s office to assist in the field investigation when deemed necessary by any county staff. The compliance officer may postpone field investigation until law enforcement assistance is available.

(B) Announced/Unannounced Field Visits. At the discretion of the compliance officer or other assigned staff, a field visit to the vicinity of the subject property may be conducted with or without prior notice to the property owner, occupant or alleged violator. The determination of whether or not to give prior notice shall be made on the basis of the following criteria:

1. The nature of the alleged violation;

2. Whether or not prior notice will make detection and documentation of the alleged violation more difficult;

3. Whether or not there is a prior history of violations or violator; and/or

4. Whether or not prior notice will unnecessarily increase the risk of violent confrontation or injury to the compliance officer or other assigned staff.

(C) Entering Property or Premises.

1. Policy. It is Crook County’s policy that the compliance officer and other assigned staff shall enter private property or premises to conduct field investigations only with authority.

2. Procedure. The compliance officer may not enter posted property without seeking permission to investigate on the premises. Unless permission is granted, the investigation shall be conducted from public roads or property where permission to enter has been granted. If the compliance officer or other assigned staff does not have permission or other authority to enter upon property or premises, and entry upon the property or premises is necessary to conduct the investigation, the code enforcement officer or other staff shall consult with county legal counsel about obtaining a search warrant.

In some instances, county staff may discover an alleged violation after entering private property for a noncompliance-related purpose authorized by statute or exigent circumstances. In such instances, the observations of county staff shall be treated as complaints made under CCC 1.12.090(4).

(4) Report of Field Investigation. Upon completion of the field investigation, the investigating officer or other assigned staff shall prepare an investigation worksheet to be placed in the complaint file. The report shall include the following information:

(a) Name of investigator;

(b) Date, time and place of field visit;

(c) Violation(s) observed;

(d) If no violation(s) observed, an explanation;

(e) Witnesses, if any, interviewed;

(f) Evidence, if any, obtained (e.g., photographs);

(g) Discussion, if any, of violation with owner, occupant or other responsible person;

(h) Action necessary to correct violation; and

(i) Recommended enforcement action. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 12, 2002)

1.12.130 Enforcement procedures.

(1) Voluntary Compliance without Penalty.

(a) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to encourage voluntary compliance by providing violators and other responsible persons with the opportunity during county enforcement to comply with state laws and county ordinances with little or no penalty. The county believes that voluntary compliance generally is less expensive for all parties and of a more satisfactory and lasting nature than involuntary compliance.

(b) Exception. Notwithstanding this policy, Crook County believes that allowing violators the opportunity to voluntarily comply any time during enforcement, or outside reasonable time limits for such compliance, may actually result in abuse of this opportunity in order to delay compliance. Therefore, it is Crook County’s policy to limit the time frame during which county violators may attempt to come into voluntary compliance with no penalty.

(c) Procedure. The following procedures shall apply whenever a violator brings his or her property into compliance during county enforcement activity:

(i) Timing of Compliance


A. After complaint/before field investigation

File closed, no cost recovery

B. After field investigation/ before NOV

File closed, no cost recovery

C. After NOV/before citation

File closed, cost recovery

D. After citation/before arraignment

Dismissal of citation, cost recovery, double fees where applicable

E. After arraignment/ before trial

Prosecution, conviction, or guilty plea, fine, bail forfeiture, cost recovery, double fees where applicable

F. At time of trial

Recommend prosecution, conviction or guilty plea, maximum fine and cost recovery or double fees where applicable

(ii) Limited Opportunities. Voluntary compliance without penalty or cost recovery will not be allowed where the alleged violation is a repeat offense either on the subject property or by the violator, or where the original violation was not corrected following prior enforcement action.

(iii) Limited Time Frames. Opportunities for voluntary compliance, where provided, shall be of limited duration. The time frame for voluntary compliance shall be established in time lines set forth in this chapter or as necessary, set by the compliance officer for Crook County.

(2) Notice of a Complaint.

(a) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to notify the responsible party that a complaint has been made.

(b) Procedure. The party causing an alleged violation will be notified by phone or letter (regular mail) indicating a complaint has been received. The complaint will be stated. The ordinance that has been allegedly violated will be stated. The alleged violator will be given an opportunity to comply within 15 days before a NOV will be sent. This information will be recorded. The procedure described in this subsection is subject to modification due to “aggravating circumstances” as set forth in CCC 1.12.060(4).

(3) Notice of Violation.

(a) When Sent. When the compliance officer or other staff has reasonable grounds to believe a violation did or is occurring, based upon the information in the complaint and any field investigation, an NOV shall be sent on a standard form (see Appendix B attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter). A copy of the original NOV will be placed with the complaint file. The date of the NOV sent certified mail will be recorded into the computer.

(b) To Whom Sent. An NOV shall be sent to the subject property owner(s). A copy of the original NOV shall be sent to each additional person who is or may be the responsible party to the alleged violation.

(c) How Sent. NOV’s shall be sent by certified mail to the last known address of the property owner(s) and other responsible person(s). Receipts for the certified mail will be kept with the complaint file.

(d) Follow Up. The date for compliance of the violation shall be entered into the computer and original file. A follow up date to determine voluntary compliance without legal actions shall be made and completed.

(e) Compliance. If the compliance officer determines that the required corrections have been made, the date and method for compliance shall be recorded in the file and on the computer. The case will be resolved by file closure.

(f) Corrective Action. In some cases, corrective action may consist of applying for necessary permits and obtaining approvals. The alleged violator must follow through with the application process to obtain the necessary permit(s) and approval from the community development department (CDD) or other county office. The CDD or other county office will verify that the violator is in compliance.

The verification will be filed in the complaint file and also recorded in the computer. The case will be closed or further action will be determined by the building official or a citation issued immediately if a septic permit is required.

(g) Time Extended by Agreement to Abate. Following the issuance of an NOV, if the alleged violator admits the violation(s) and requests extended time for voluntary compliance, the alleged violator shall sign an “Agreement to Abate.” (See Appendix C attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter.) The agreement shall provide that, in exchange for the extended time for voluntary compliance, the alleged violator agrees to abate the violation(s) by a specified time, and to waive hearing and consent to judgment against him/her if voluntary compliance is not obtained during the extended time allowed by the county and a citation is filed in court. The “Agreement to Abate” will also allow the county compliance officer to monitor the address or violator in the event that a complaint is made after the voluntary compliance and is a repeat of the original violation.

(4) Citation and Complaint.

(a) Field Investigation Required. No citation and complaint shall be prepared unless a field investigation has verified the existence of a violation.

(b) Form. All citations shall be on a “Uniform Citation and Complaint Form” (see Appendix D attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter).

(c) Service. All summons for citations and complaints shall be served by personal service on the person named in the complaint and/or the responsible party.

(i) By Whom. Service by the compliance officer or a deputy sheriff or as listed in Chapter 8.08 CCC.

(ii) Return of Service. The return of service for each summons will be received before the citation and documentation is filed with the court.

(d) Filing Citation and Complaint. When the citation and complaint has been served and the compliance officer has receipt of the return of service, the information will be forwarded to the Crook County circuit court.

(e) Repealed by Ord. 248.

(f) Arraignment. For the purpose of the defendant to enter a plea and resolve any incomplete jurisdictional issues. The date for arraignment in the citation and complaint shall be the first available circuit court date that allows the person cited a reasonable time to respond to the complaint. In setting the date, the compliance officer shall consider the circuit court schedule as well as the time needed to obtain service.

(i) Guilty plea – Allow the defendant and compliance officer the opportunity to provide information to the court regarding judgement.

(ii) Not guilty plea – Set a trial date.

(iii) Appearance by County Legal Counsel. County legal counsel may represent the county at arraignment. County counsel may be responsible for providing legal advice and guidance dealing with compliance issues.

(g) Bail. Bail amounts for county ordinance infractions shall be set in a bail schedule adopted by the presiding judge for Crook County

(h) Failure to Appear at Arraignment. If the defendant fails to appear at arraignment, the compliance officer may ask the court to issue a bench warrant for the defendant’s arrest; or

Default. If the defendant fails to appear at arraignment, the compliance officer may request that the circuit court enter a default judgment in favor of the county and impose a fine against the defendant or other appropriate sanctions.

(i) Trial. If the defendant pleads not guilty to the allegations in the citation and complaint, the compliance officer shall request that the circuit court set the matter for trial at the earliest available date.

(i) Burden of Proof. The county has the burden of proving at trial, by a preponderance of the evidence, the allegations in the citation and complaint.

(ii) Responsibility of Compliance Officer. At trial, the responsibility of the compliance officer is to prosecute the case by presenting evidence, calling witnesses and offering any relevant documents and other exhibits in support of the citation.

(iii) Appearance by County Legal Counsel. County counsel shall be responsible for providing legal advice and guidance dealing with compliance issues.

(j) Fines.

(i) Schedule. The schedule of maximum fines for county ordinance infractions is set forth in ORS 153.018 and 203.065 (see Appendix E attached to the ordinance codified in this chapter).

(ii) Amount. If the defendant is convicted, the compliance officer shall request that the circuit court impose a fine in an amount consistent with the policy and procedures set forth in this chapter.

(k) Suspension of Fines. The circuit court has authority to suspend the imposition of all or a portion of a fine. In some cases, the court may wish to suspend imposition of a fine or a part thereof on condition that the defendant comply with state laws and county ordinances within a specified time period.

(i) Policy. It is the county’s policy to increase the effectiveness of violation compliance activity and the incentives for compliance by discouraging any suspension of fines in county violation infraction cases.

(ii) Procedure. If a defendant is convicted, the compliance officer and/or county legal counsel shall advise the circuit court of the county’s policy against fine suspension, and shall ask the circuit court not to suspend imposition of fines.

(l) Working Off Fines.

(i) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy that, in appropriate cases and consistent with Oregon law and county corrections resources, defendants should have the opportunity to perform community service in order to work off fines imposed by the circuit court for county violation infraction convictions. In particular, it is the county’s policy to encourage defendants in appropriate cases to participate in community service programs directed at nuisance abatement and similar ordinance enforcement. Note: We will not accept community service in lieu of correcting a violation.

(ii) Procedure. The county will work with the circuit court and the county staff to explore the implementation of community service programs directed at ordinance violation abatement.

(m) Collection and Distribution of Fines. Fines imposed by the circuit court for county ordinance infractions are collected by the State Court Administrator and are remitted in part to the county.

(i) Policy. It is the county’s policy that all fines imposed for county ordinance infractions and remitted to the county should be used to pay the costs of county ordinance enforcement.

(ii) Procedure. All fines imposed by the circuit court for county ordinance infractions and remitted to the county shall be deposited in the county general fund, all for budgeting and expenditure in the ordinance enforcement program.

(5) Injunctions.

(a) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to seek injunctions from the circuit court in cases where other methods of ordinance enforcement may be inadequate or have failed.

(b) Procedure.

(i) When Sought. The compliance officer will contact the county legal counsel to obtain injunctions in any case in which:

(A) The violation(s) present an imminent threat to the public health and safety or to the environment; or

(B) The violation has not been corrected within a reasonable time after a defendant has been previously cited and appeared for the same infraction(s) in circuit court.

(ii) By Whom. All requests for injunctions shall be made by county legal counsel, with the assistance of the compliance officer and other staff as necessary.

(iii) How Enforced. After issuance of an injunction, if the defendant fails to comply within the time period specified, the compliance officer shall request the county legal counsel to initiate civil contempt proceedings against the defendant.

(6) Double-Feeing Permits. The county will charge double the normal fee for permits issued or not obtained for installation or conditional use for construction originally performed without permits when permitted by law.

(a) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to maximize the incentives to comply with county ordinances, Oregon State Building Codes, Oregon Statutes and Oregon Administrative Rules by double-feeing, to the extent authorized by law, for permits sought for unpermitted construction or installation that occurs on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter.

(b) Procedure. Whenever the compliance officer or other county staff discovers or receives a verified complaint of unpermitted construction or installation, the information shall be submitted on a complaint form and entered in the computer. When permits are sought for the unpermitted work, the following procedures shall apply:

(i) If the unpermitted work occurred before the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the county may double-fee the owner for the permit(s). The fee amount will be the amount of a permit at the time the violation was discovered/reported/complained to the compliance officer or another county staff times two. The decision to double-fee shall be made by the department heads of each department: the building official of the building department, planning director for zoning and conditional use permits, and/or the roadmaster for road permits. The decision to double-fee shall be made in accordance with criteria established in the applicable provisions of each department.

(ii) If the unpermitted work occurred on or after the effective date of the ordinance codified in this chapter, the county shall double-fee the permit(s) if or where applicable.

(7) Assisting Enforcement by Other Regulatory/Licensing Agencies. County enforcement of Violations also may constitute violations of federal and/or state statutes or administrative rule.

(a) Policy. It is Crook County’s policy to maximize compliance by promptly informing the appropriate federal and/or state agency of a complaint or violation properly received. The compliance officer will continue to inform the agencies involved until an agreement of resolution is met with the violator. The compliance officer will cooperate with the appropriate agencies to obtain voluntary compliance or to punish the violator(s).

(b) Procedure.

(i) Reporting. The compliance officer will notify the appropriate federal/state/other agency of a verified properly received complaint.

(ii) Cooperation. To the extent authorized or required by law or by intergovernmental agreement, the compliance officer shall cooperate with the federal or state agency to obtain voluntary compliance or to prosecute and punish violations. That cooperation may include sharing information, conducting joint investigation, appearing as witnesses and/or providing evidence in enforcement proceedings, and coordinating the time of investigation and/or enforcement proceedings to maximize their effectiveness.

(8) Civil Penalties. Monetary penalties for county violation infractions may be assessed through a county administrative hearing procedure, separate from the citing and prosecution of county infractions in circuit court.

(9) County Cost Recovery. The county incurs costs investigating and enforcing violations. They include the cost of personnel and equipment, legal advice and representation, service of summons, and administrative expenses.

(a) Policy. It is the policy of Crook County to maximize ordinance enforcement and to increase the incentives for ordinance compliance by recovering its reasonable enforcement costs from violators.

(b) Procedure.

(i) Agreements to abate made between the violator and the county will include an amount equal to the time spent for a county employee to validate the complaint up to the time the “Agreement to Abate” is signed by the violator. Included in the amount with the time will be the costs of investigation in a receipt showing a breakdown of the cost incurred.

(ii) Liens. In many cases, the most effective way for the county to recover its enforcement costs, as well as to collect any civil penalties assessed through administrative hearings, is to file a legal claim for those costs or penalties against the property subject to ordinance enforcement, or against other property owned by the code violator. (Ord. 248 § 2, 2011; Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 13, 2002)

1.12.140 Appeal.

In the event that the compliance officer issues an order that is not subject to further review by the planning commission or circuit court, the person to whom the order was issued shall have the following right of appeal:

(1) The defendant shall have the right to present his/her objection within five working days to the building official (or planning official, if planning related). The building or planning official shall issue a written reply within three working days, not including the date of presentation. (This step shall be unavailable if the building or planning official is also the acting compliance officer who issued the original order.)

(2) If the dispute remains unsolved, the defendant shall have the right to present his/her objection within five days of the building/planning official’s reply, to the county judge. The county judge may meet with the defendant, the building/planning official and/or the compliance officer. The county judge shall issue a written reply within seven working days, not including the day of presentation.

(3) If the dispute remains unresolved, the defendant shall have the right to present his/her objection with all pertinent records to the county court within seven working days after the county judge’s response is given. The county court shall hold a hearing before issuing a reply. The decision of the county court shall be final and shall be binding on the defendant.

(4) In the event of a conflict, this section shall be subordinate to any state statute, regulation or rule pertaining to appeals and the rights and consequences thereto. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 14, 2002)

1.12.150 Financial hardship.

Some county ordinance violations involve property owners or other responsible persons who lack the financial ability to obtain permits and approvals, or to perform or contract for the construction or other work necessary to correct violations, or pay court-ordered fines for violations.

(1) Policy. It is the county’s policy to investigate and take enforcement action against all violations properly received. The county recognizes that the effectiveness of enforcement may be significantly reduced where the violator is indigent. It is the county’s policy to assist indigent violators, to the extent authorized by law and within available county and community resources, to correct violations.

(2) Procedure. When the compliance department has been notified by a county/federal/ and/or state agency that the violator or responsible party is indigent, the information will be given to the department where the violation is affecting. An agreement between the department head and the violator will be signed. The agreement will be placed in the file and recorded into the computer. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 15, 2002)

1.12.160 Resolution of ordinance complaints.

(1) Policy. It is the county’s policy to attempt to reach final, satisfactory resolution of all violation complaints. However, the county recognizes that not all complaints may be resolved successfully, due to factors outside the county’s control. These factors can include the indigence of the violator, the lack of county or other resources to assist the violator, statutory limitations on potential fines or other penalties for violations, and the large number of complaints to be resolved.

Therefore, it is the county’s policy to focus its enforcement resources on the violations that meet the priorities set forth in this chapter, and to resolve those violations within a reasonable period set for enforcement activity in this chapter or elsewhere. Where the county determines that a code violation may not be successfully resolved within the established reasonable time lines, it is the county’s policy to either close the file, or to explore alternative methods of enforcement.

(2) Procedure.

(a) File Closure. A violation complaint will be resolved by file closure in the following cases:

(i) When no violation is found after investigation;

(ii) When there is voluntary compliance;

(iii) When the property owner and/or other responsible person has been convicted of an infraction and has corrected the violation(s);

(iv) When an injunction has been issued and the property owner or other responsible person has corrected the violations;

(v) When investigation and prosecution of the violation(s) have been completed by a federal or state agency to which the county deferred enforcement; or

(vi) When it is determined in writing by the county counsel that the violations are not likely to be successfully resolved within a reasonable time line, due to factors outside county control.

(b) Notice of Resolution. Notification by the compliance officer whether written or verbal that the complaint is resolved and entered in the file and computer the date of resolution and a summary of resolution. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 16, 2002)

1.12.170 File maintenance.

County enforcement files, including computer records, are the official record of county enforcement activity. As such, the files and computer records shall be maintained pursuant to the rules of the Secretary of State for maintenance of official records. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 17, 2002)

1.12.180 Media contact.

(1) Policy. It is the county’s policy to make information available to representatives of the news media to the extent legally authorized.

(2) Procedure – Disclosure of File and Computer Information. The contents of county enforcement files and computer records, and statements of county staff concerning enforcement cases, shall be made available to representatives of the news media upon request made to the compliance officer, and subject to the provisions of CCC 1.12.090(1)(c) and the pertinent statutory provisions governing public record disclosure. (Ord. 142 Amd. 1 § 18, 2002)