Chapter 8.12
PUBLIC NUISANCE VEHICLES – PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES – PENALTIES – REMOVAL

Sections:

8.12.010    Purpose and intent.

8.12.020    Definitions.

8.12.030    Enforcement authority.

8.12.040    Declaration of nuisance.

8.12.050    Notice of potential violation.

8.12.060    Cooperative abatement.

8.12.070    Notice of violation and abatement.

8.12.080    Notice of appeal.

8.12.090    Notice of hearing.

8.12.100    Hearing.

8.12.110    Order of the municipal court.

8.12.120    Reconsideration.

8.12.130    Appeal of the municipal court’s decision.

8.12.140    Removal and disposal – Costs.

8.12.150    Criminal penalties.

8.12.160    Entry.

8.12.170    Additional remedies.

8.12.010 Purpose and intent.

A. It is the purpose and intent of this chapter to eliminate the effects of the accumulation of damaged and inoperable vehicles that create blight, depress property values, generate health hazards, damage the environment including numerous species of fish and wildlife, provide breeding areas for pests such as rodents, hornets, and mosquitoes, attract illegal dumping of other solid waste and hazardous substances, and lead to criminal behavior detrimentally affecting health and safety of the community and neighborhoods in the city of Bonney Lake. It is further the purpose of the council to declare that removal of such vehicles from public and private property is a governmental purpose for which public funds may be spent as determined appropriate and necessary by the mayor and council. This chapter is adopted pursuant to RCW 46.55.240.

B. It is the intent of the council to:

1. Declare that it is a public nuisance and unlawful to accumulate, dismantle, park, place, or store public nuisance vehicles;

2. Decrease the likelihood of criminal conduct associated with the unlawful accumulation, dismantlement, parking, placing, or storage of public nuisance vehicles;

3. Reduce the inherent public health and safety problems associated with the unlawful accumulation, dismantlement, parking, placing, or storing of public nuisance vehicles;

4. Minimize the likelihood of injury resulting from children playing on or around public nuisance vehicles;

5. Establish procedures for the removal and abatement of public nuisance vehicles that have been unlawfully accumulated, dismantled, parked, placed, or stored;

6. Establish procedures for the prosecution of violators of this chapter;

7. Supplement the provisions of Chapter 8.20 BLMC. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.020 Definitions.

For purposes of this chapter, certain terms, phrases, and words, and their derivatives, shall have specific meanings as defined in this section. Terms, phrases, and words used in the singular shall also apply to the plural. Terms, phrases, and words used in the plural shall also apply to the singular.

A. “Apparently inoperable” means that a vehicle does not appear to comply with requirements for vehicles used on public streets with regard to brakes, lights, tires, safety glass or other safety equipment.

B. “Extensively damaged” means that a vehicle has visible damage to, or is missing, a minimum of three of the following parts or components:

1. Frame;

2. Axle;

3. Surface panels;

4. Doors;

5. Fender;

6. Window or windshield;

7. Headlight or front signal light;

8. Taillight, brake light, or rear signal light;

9. Engine;

10. Transmission;

11. Wheels or tires;

12. Steering wheel;

13. Radiator;

14. Battery;

15. Any other major mechanical or electrical equipment; or

16. Visible damage or a lack of any other similar component identified by a public official when observing the vehicle.

C. “Landowner” means any person who legally owns private property and/or any person with possession or control of private property.

D. “Law enforcement officer” means, for purposes of this chapter, any commissioned officer in the Washington State Patrol or the Bonney Lake police department.

E. “Public nuisance vehicle” is a vehicle, or the parts of a vehicle, which meets three of the following criteria: (1) is extensively damaged; (2) is apparently inoperable; (3) is three years old or older; (4) has an approximate fair market value equal to the scrap value; provided, that the following shall be exempt from the foregoing definition:

1. The vehicle, or parts thereof, is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner; provided, that the building and use activity for the property is in compliance with the provisions of BLMC Title 18 and that there is no harborage for rodents or other pests; or

2. The vehicle, or parts thereof, is completely and permanently screened from the street or other public or private property; provided, that the screening type and use activity for the property is in compliance with the provisions of Chapters 16.12, 16.14 or 18.08 BLMC, and that there is no harborage for rodents or other pests; or

3. The vehicle, or parts thereof, is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the legal business of a licensed dismantler, motor vehicle wrecker, licensed vehicle dealer, junk, salvage or wrecking yard, and the property is fenced as required by RCW 46.80.130.

F. “Public official” means an official designated by the mayor to carry out duties assigned by this chapter or any law enforcement officer.

G. “Registered tow truck operator” means a firm, partnership, tow operator, association or corporation licensed by the state of Washington to perform towing and storage duties which has entered into a contract with the city to tow unauthorized vehicles from rights-of-way and which has entered into a subsequent contract to perform towing and storage services under this chapter.

H. “Vehicle” shall include, but not be limited to, automobiles, motorcycles, trucks, buses, motorized recreational vehicles, campers, travel trailers, boat trailers, utility trailers, or other similar devices capable of moving or being moved on the public right-of-way, and shall also include parts of vehicles, but shall not include devices moved by human or animal power, or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks. (Ord. 1610 § 2, 2019; Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.030 Enforcement authority.

The mayor or designee, and any law enforcement officer, shall enforce this chapter. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.040 Declaration of nuisance.

One or more public nuisance vehicles, or parts thereof, which have been accumulated, dismantled, parked, placed or stored on any property constitute a public nuisance which shall be abated pursuant to the provisions of this chapter and through the authority given the city under the laws and Constitution of the state of Washington. It is further declared to be the duty of every landowner in the city to maintain his or her property in a lawful manner and to exercise reasonable diligence to ensure that it remains free of public nuisance vehicles, and every successive owner of the property or premises shall assume the duty relative to pre-existing conditions for which he or she had notice, actual or constructive. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.050 Notice of potential violation.

A. A public official is authorized to provide a notice of potential violation to a landowner whenever there is a reasonable belief that 20 or fewer public nuisance vehicles have been accumulated, dismantled, parked, placed, or stored on the landowner’s property, or properties consisting of a contiguous ownership, in potential violation of this chapter.

B. A public official shall not issue a notice of potential violation to any landowner whose property, or properties consisting of contiguous ownership, contain what appear to be more than 20 public nuisance vehicles. In such cases the public official shall seek guidance from the mayor and city attorney and refer the matter to the appropriate law enforcement and/or legal authority.

C. The notice of potential violation shall be served by mailing a copy of the notice to the landowner at his/her last known address by regular mail.

D. The notice of potential violation shall contain the following information:

1. The name and address of the landowner to whom the notice is issued;

2. The location of the subject property by address or other description sufficient for identification of the subject property;

3. A description of the vehicle and its location, and the reasons for which the city deems it to be a potential violation of this chapter;

4. The process through which the landowner can schedule a formal inspection by which a public official may determine that no such nuisance exists;

5. The process through which the landowner can legally remove the nuisance;

6. The process through which the landowner can participate in any programs established pursuant to BLMC 8.12.060; and

7. Applicable deadlines and the range of penalties for failing to comply with the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.060 Cooperative abatement.

A. The mayor is authorized to establish a cooperative abatement program to encourage and assist in the voluntary removal of public nuisance vehicles from private property following the issuance of a notice of potential violation.

B. A cooperative abatement program may provide technical assistance to expedite the removal of public nuisance vehicles, and financial assistance, within budgeted funds, to defray specific costs associated with the removal of public nuisance vehicles.

C. To qualify for assistance a landowner must enter into a written agreement, the cooperative abatement agreement, with the designated public official within 15 calendar days of being issued a notice of potential violation. If the landowner does not respond within 15 calendar days, the public official shall immediately serve a notice of violation and abatement, pursuant to BLMC 8.12.070.

D. The cooperative abatement agreement shall contain the landowner’s name, the address of the property, a description of the public nuisance vehicle(s) to be removed, permission to enter the property and inspect the vehicle(s), the action to be taken and the date when it must be completed, and such other conditions as the public official deems necessary and appropriate under the circumstances to effect the complete abatement of the nuisance.

E. In the event that a landowner is not the last registered owner of the public nuisance vehicle, a public official may identify the last registered owner of the public nuisance vehicle and provide notice to the last registered owner, on behalf of the landowner, that the vehicle must be removed and disposed in a manner which complies with all applicable laws.

F. Should the last registered owner fail to remove the vehicle as directed, the city may contract with registered tow truck operators to remove the vehicle from the landowner’s property. All vehicles removed in this manner shall be crushed or shredded.

G. The mayor may establish additional requirements and procedures deemed necessary and consistent with this chapter to limit: (1) the forms of technical assistance; (2) the amount of financial assistance to be provided to a landowner; (3) how many times a landowner may participate in a program; (4) the amount of time a landowner has to comply with a cooperative abatement agreement; and (5) eligibility to specific land use zones. The mayor may also deny a landowner’s participation if the landowner is in violation of, or has a pattern of past violations of other Pierce County, city of Bonney Lake, Washington State, or federal laws.

H. If the extent of the nuisance exceeds any limits placed on financial assistance, the landowner shall be responsible for lawful removal and disposal of any additional vehicles, fully bearing the cost thereof, concurrent with the removal of those vehicles for which assistance is being received.

I. If the landowner who is party to a cooperative abatement agreement fails to comply with the terms and conditions thereof, the public official shall terminate the agreement and shall immediately serve a notice of violation and abatement pursuant to BLMC 8.12.070.

J. The city shall maintain sufficient records to monitor and enforce this section and any eligibility requirements or restrictions implemented by the mayor or designee. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.070 Notice of violation and abatement.

A. A public official is authorized to issue and serve a notice of violation and abatement upon reasonable belief that a condition prohibited by this chapter exists; provided, that if a public official had issued the notice of potential violation authorized by BLMC 8.12.050 on the same condition, 15 calendar days shall have passed from issuance of the notice of potential violation prior to issuance of the notice of violation and abatement.

B. The notice of violation and abatement shall be issued to the landowner and to the last registered owner of record of the vehicle, if that person can be determined.

C. The notice of violation and abatement shall be served by means of personal service or by mailing a copy of said notice to such person at his/her last known address by certified mail, with a five-day return receipt requested. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration by the person effecting the service, declaring the time and date of service and the manner by which service was made.

D. The notice of violation and abatement shall contain substantially the following information if it is reasonably obtainable:

1. The name and address of the person to whom the notice is issued;

2. The location of the subject property by address or other description sufficient for identification of the subject property;

3. A description of the vehicle and its location, and the reasons for which the city deems it to be a public nuisance in violation of this chapter;

4. A description of the corrective action necessary to eliminate the violation;

5. The date by which the corrective action must be completed;

6. A statement that if any of the persons to whom the notice of violation and abatement is issued wish to appeal said notice, they may submit a written notice of appeal to the public official to request a hearing before the Bonney Lake municipal court;

7. A statement that if the persons to whom the notice of violation and abatement is issued fail to submit a notice of appeal within 15 calendar days of service, or fail to voluntarily abate the nuisance within 45 calendar days of service, the city will abate the nuisance by removing and disposing of the vehicle, and will assess all costs of administration, removal, and disposal pursuant to BLMC 8.12.140. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.080 Notice of appeal.

A. Within 15 calendar days of service of a notice of violation and abatement, the landowner and/or the last registered owner of record of the vehicle, may submit a written notice of appeal to the public official, along with an appropriate appeal fee, to appeal the notice of violation and abatement.

B. The recipient of a notice of violation and abatement may appeal:

1. Whether the public official appropriately identified the vehicle as a public nuisance vehicle; or

2. Whether the landowner should not be held responsible for the nuisance because the landowner did not consent to the presence of the public nuisance vehicle and has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence; or

3. Whether the last registered owner of record of the vehicle should not be held responsible for the nuisance because said owner, in the transfer of ownership of the vehicle, has complied with RCW 46.12.101.

C. The notice of appeal shall specify the specific ground(s) of appeal and be in the form required by the mayor. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.090 Notice of hearing.

A. Not later than the forty-fifth calendar day after service of the notice of violation and abatement, and if the public official receives one or more notices of appeal, the public official shall issue and serve a notice of hearing to the appellants. Requests from multiple parties concerning the same nuisance shall be consolidated.

B. The notice of hearing shall be served by means of personal service or by mailing a copy of said notice to any party which filed a notice of appeal, the landowner, and the last registered owner of record of the vehicle, at his/her last known address by certified mail, with a five-day return receipt requested. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration by the person effecting the service, declaring the time and date of service and the manner by which service was made. For purposes of issuing and serving notice in this section, the term landowner shall be broadly defined to include not only the owner of real property as shown on the last equalized assessment roll, but any other individual with possession or control of the property.

C. The notice of hearing shall contain the date, time, and location of the hearing and the name of the municipal judge.

D. In addition to the preceding, the public official may also provide general public notice of the date and time of the hearing in a newspaper of general circulation. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.100 Hearing.

A. The appeal of a notice of violation and abatement shall be heard by the Bonney Lake municipal court as provided for in BLMC 2.16.020 and Chapter 3.50 RCW.

B. The municipal court will conduct the hearing required by this chapter no less than 15 and no more than 30 calendar days after the public official issues the notice of hearing.

C. The hearing will address the grounds of appeal allowed in BLMC 8.12.080(B) which were stated in the notice of appeal. If the court determines that multiple parties share responsibility for the nuisance, the court will allocate the assessment of costs of administration, removal, and disposal among the responsible parties.

D. An appellant may appear in person at the hearing, or present a written statement, to explain the grounds for appeal, which were stated in the notice of appeal. The municipal court must receive the written statement in time for consideration at the hearing. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.110 Order of the municipal court.

A. Unless mutually agreed to by the appellant and the municipal judge, the order of the court shall be served upon the person to whom it is directed, either personally or by mailing a copy of the order to such person at his/her last known address as determined by designated public official within 10 calendar days following the conclusion of testimony and hearings and the closing of the record.

B. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration by the person effecting the service, declaring the time and date of service and the manner by which service was made.

C. The municipal court, in affirming the public official’s notice of violation and abatement, may assess administrative costs or costs related to the abatement of the violators’ vehicle. The court may also order the refund of hearings fees to parties deemed not responsible for the violation.

D. If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner and that he or she has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the municipal court’s order shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the vehicle against the property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect the cost from the landowner. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.120 Reconsideration.

Any motion for reconsideration of the municipal court’s decision shall comply with and be governed by Rule 59 of the Civil Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.130 Appeal of the municipal court’s decision.

Any appeal from a decision of the municipal court shall be governed by the Rules for Appeal of Decisions of Courts of Limited Jurisdiction. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.140 Removal and disposal – Costs.

A. Commencing 45 calendar days after service of the notice of violation and abatement, if no appeal had been filed, or 15 calendar days after the issuance of an order from the municipal court resulting in authority to remove, the public official shall supervise the removal and disposal of the vehicle or part thereof. The public official or law enforcement officer will provide notice to the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been processed in accordance with the laws of the state of Washington.

B. Costs of removal may be assessed against the last registered owner of the vehicle if the identity of the owner can be determined, unless the owner, in the transfer of ownership of the vehicle, has complied with RCW 46.12.101, and the costs may be assessed against the person(s) responsible for the public nuisance. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.150 Criminal penalties.

It shall be a misdemeanor, punishable as prescribed in BLMC 8.20.050, to violate this chapter by knowingly causing, creating, or acquiescing in the existence of a public nuisance vehicle as defined herein. Each calendar day that a public nuisance vehicle remains unlawfully upon property shall constitute a separate offense; provided, however, that no person shall be prosecuted for such offense until 45 calendar days after service of the notice of violation and abatement or while a valid cooperative abatement agreement is still in effect and such person is in full compliance with the same. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.160 Entry.

Using any lawful means, the city may enter upon the subject property and may remove or correct the condition that is subject to abatement. The city may seek such judicial process as it deems necessary to effect the removal or correction of such condition. When a law enforcement officer or public official has probable cause to believe that a nuisance created by public nuisance vehicles exists on any property in violation of BLMC 8.12.150, he or she may request permission to enter the premises to inspect for evidence thereof if the landowner is present. If permissive entry cannot be obtained, the law enforcement officer or prosecuting attorney may apply to the municipal, district, or superior court for a search warrant notwithstanding the inability to locate the landowner. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).

8.12.170 Additional remedies.

When it appears to the public official that the remedies provided by this chapter are not sufficient to abate the nuisance, the prosecuting attorney may also pursue temporary and permanent injunctive relief, a warrant of abatement, and an order for costs and fees in Superior Court under Chapter 7.48 RCW or any other authority. (Ord. 1007 § 2, 2003).