Chapter 8.10


8.10.010    Purpose and intent.

8.10.020    Nuisances defined and declared.

8.10.030    Enforcement.

8.10.040    Definitions.

*    Prior legislation: Ords. 2223, 2308, 2418, 2432, 2433 and 2667.

8.10.010 Purpose and intent.

A. Nuisance properties present health, safety and welfare concerns, where the persons responsible for such properties have failed to take corrective action to abate the nuisance condition. Nuisance properties have a tremendous negative impact upon the quality of life, safety and health of the neighborhoods where they are located. This chapter is enacted to remedy nuisance activities that are particularly disruptive to quality of life and repeatedly occur or exist at properties by providing a process for abatement. This remedy is not an exclusive remedy available under any state or local laws and may be used in conjunction with such other laws. Further, nothing herein is intended to limit or establish a condition precedent on the city’s exercise of its authority to proceed with an action under Chapter 35.80A RCW or similar statute allowing for the condemnation of blighted property.

B. Nuisance properties are a financial burden to the city by the calls for action related to the properties because of the nuisance activities that repeatedly occur or exist on such property. This chapter is a means to ameliorate those conditions and hold accountable those persons responsible for such property. (Ord. 2864 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.10.020 Nuisances defined and declared.

A. A “nuisance” is the unreasonable or unlawful use by a person of their real or personal property, or the unreasonable, indecent or unlawful personal conduct which materially interferes with or jeopardizes the health, safety, prosperity, quiet enjoyment of property or welfare of others, offends common decency or public morality, or obstructs or interferes with the free use of public ways, places or bodies of water. Nuisances also consist of the specific violations set forth in this title in this section.

B. A nuisance consists in doing an unlawful act or omitting to perform a duty, or suffering or permitting any condition or thing to be or exist which act or omission, condition or other thing either:

1. Disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, welfare, repose, health, or safety of others;

2. Offends decency;

3. Is offensive to the senses;

4. Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct or renders dangerous for passengers any land or water area accessible to or capable of being viewed by the public, including without limitation, any stream, water body, shoreline, public park, parkway, square, right-of-way, sidewalk, street or highway in the city of Blaine;

5. In any way renders other persons insecure in life or the use of property; and/or

6. Obstructs the free use of property so as to essentially interfere with the reasonable and comfortable use thereof.

C. In addition to the nuisances defined in subsection (A) of this section, the following are declared to be public nuisances:

1. Garbage and Refuse. Throwing or depositing or causing to be deposited in any street, alley or other public place, or on any private property in the city, any garbage, refuse, filth, debris, offal, the carcass of any animal, or other noisome material, or causing or permitting the same to collect or remain in any place in the city to the prejudice or annoyance of others;

2. Noxious Odors, Fumes or Smoke. The erection or use of any building, room or other place in the city for the exercise of any trade, employment or manufacture, or other occupancy, which by occasioning exhalations, offensive odors or other annoyances, is discomforting or offensive or detrimental to the health of individuals or of the public;

3. Unhealthy or Unsightly Conditions in Public View. The keeping or maintaining in any area on private property which is clearly visible from a public street, sidewalk, park or other public area any accumulation of items or material including, but not limited to, barrels, mattresses, old appliances, vehicle parts, clothing, rags or cloth, bedding, packing materials, cardboard, paper, cans, wire, bottles, bins, boxes, containers, ashes, plaster, metal that is not neatly piled, wood or lumber that is not neatly piled, broken stone, cement, glass or crockery, used hypodermic needles or other instruments used in the administration of medication, or any other unhealthy or unsightly conditions as determined by the code enforcement officer. This type of public nuisance shall not include conditions completely enclosed within a building, or within legally erected and properly maintained fencing, so as not to be visible from public property, nor shall it include construction sites where the progress of construction is proceeding with reasonable diligence;

4. Unsightly and Deficient Buildings. Any building which has peeling, cracked, faded, chipped, torn or is missing exterior surface materials, or is missing finished surface materials including, but not limited to, paint, stucco, siding, shingles or roof shingles so as to make the same unsightly;

5. Junk Vehicles. Abandoned, wrecked, dismantled, or junk vehicles are not permitted to be stored on private property in a manner that is visible from a public place or any surrounding private property. According to RCW 46.55.010, to be considered a junk vehicle, it must meet at least three of the following requirements:

a. It is three years old or older;

b. It is extensively damaged; such damage can include, but is not limited to, a broken window or windshield, or missing wheels, tires, motor, or transmission;

c. Is apparently inoperable; and/or

d. It has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it.

6. Construction Noise. Causing or permitting construction activity noise to intrude onto private residential property outside the construction site between the hours of 7:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. on weekdays; 6:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. on Saturdays or at any time on Sundays and nationally recognized holidays.

a. The city manager (or designee) may grant a waiver of the above limitations to allow construction noise not later than 10:00 p.m. on weekdays or Saturdays or between the hours of 9:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. on Sundays or nationally recognized holidays. Such waivers may be approved when the city manager deems that a waiver is reasonably necessary to accommodate transportation or utility improvements within the public right-of-way or construction on schools or other essential government or public facilities. Waivers shall be requested in writing by the party responsible for the construction. Such requests shall include an explanation of noise mitigation measures being applied to the project. When possible, waiver requests shall be submitted to the city manager in writing at least 48 hours in advance of the time period requested for the applicable waiver to allow anticipated construction noise to exceed city standards.

7. Weed Hazard. Defined as dead, decayed, diseased or hazardous trees, or any other vegetation other than vegetation located in flower beds, or healthy trees or shrubbery, exceeding 18 inches in height and posing a threat to the public health, safety and welfare by providing food and harborage for rodents or insects, containing noxious vegetation or creating a potential fire hazard. Such vegetation on a parcel of one acre or more is not a fire hazard if it is surrounded by a 20-foot firebreak where it adjoins a public way and the firebreak is maintained at a height of 18 inches or less.

a. Weed hazards also include any accumulation of weeds, brambles, berry vines, or other vegetation exceeding four feet in height and overgrowing any building, abutting property lines, fence or publicly traveled right-of-way. Public parks, agriculturally used property, regulated wetlands, natural undeveloped woodlands, and property which the city approves for natural open space areas are not weed hazards; provided, that they are reasonably free of noxious vegetation as currently identified and regulated by the Whatcom County cooperative extension service.

8. Attractive Nuisances. An attractive nuisance is any condition or circumstance which may reasonably be expected to attract young children and which constitutes a danger to such children. An attractive nuisance can include, but is not limited to:

a. Unused or abandoned refrigerators, freezers, or other large appliances or equipment or any parts thereof;

b. Any structurally unsound or unsafe fence or building edifice;

c. Any unsecured or abandoned excavation, pit, well, cistern, storage tank or shaft; and/or

d. Any sizeable collection of scrap lumber, trash, debris, vegetation, or other similar items. (Ord. 2864 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.10.030 Enforcement.

Enforcement procedures and penalties resulting from violations of this chapter shall be administered pursuant to Chapter 2.54 BMC. (Ord. 2864 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.10.040 Definitions.

In addition to the definition of “nuisance” provided in BMC 8.10.020, the following words and phrases used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, shall have the following meanings:

A. “Abate” means to discontinue an activity, or repair, replace, remove, destroy, or otherwise remedy a condition which constitutes a civil violation by such means, in such manner and to such extent as the applicable department director determines is necessary in the interest of the general health, safety and welfare of the community.

B. “Code enforcement officer” means any employee or agent, designated by the director of community development services or the city manager, whose duty it is to enforce codes and ordinances enacted by the city.

C. “Exterior surface materials” include roofing, building walls, doors, garage doors, porches, patios, awnings, screens, windows, window frames and casements, ledges, fascias, eaves and any kind of trim.

D. “Notice of violation,” “notice of civil violation,” “notice of infraction,” and “notice of civil infraction” shall all mean a document which includes the final decision of a code enforcement officer, concluding that a violation has occurred, and describing the violation as well as penalties and deadlines for compliance.

E. “Incidental expenses” includes, but shall not be limited to, administrative costs, both direct and indirect, including staff time and costs incurred in documenting the violation; attorney’s and expert witness fees and costs; hauling, storage and disposal expenses; and actual expenses and costs of the city in preparing notices, specifications and contracts, and in accomplishing and/or contracting and inspecting the work; and the costs of any required printing and mailing. (Ord. 2864 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)