Chapter 7.03


7.03.010    Purpose and intent.

7.03.020    Definitions.

7.03.030    Public nuisance defined.

7.03.040    Specific public nuisances.

7.03.050    Nuisance is a violation.

7.03.060    Penalties and enforcement – Authority.

7.03.070    Right of entry.

7.03.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this title is to provide for the protection of the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens of the city of Federal Way by proscribing those nuisances which affect the rights of the community. The presence of nuisances enumerated in this title requires an emphasis on measures to correct those conditions which are injurious to the public health, safety, and welfare. It is the intent of the city council to establish efficient administrative procedures to enforce the regulations of the city, to provide a prompt process to address alleged violations, and to establish standards to be used by the city to abate public nuisances. The intended result of abating a public nuisance is to protect public health and property values by reducing noxious weeds, providing for safer pedestrian and automobile traffic flow, reducing impacts to the environment by preventing the indiscriminate storage of inoperable vehicles and use of internal combustion engines on Steel Lake and North Lake, and protecting the health, safety, and general welfare of the citizens. Unkempt, unsafe, unsanitary and otherwise improperly maintained premises and structures, sidewalks and easements within the city create obvious hazards. Also, these conditions adversely affect the value, utility and habitability of property within the city as a whole and specifically cause substantial damage to adjoining and nearby property. The economic well-being of the city is materially and adversely affected by nuisances. This title conveys to the city administration all necessary and proper powers to abate nuisances as they are described or found to exist and to charge the costs of their abatement to those responsible, the owners and occupants of the property upon which nuisances exist, and those properties themselves. This title is an exercise of the city’s police power, and it shall be liberally construed to effect this purpose.

(Ord. No. 12-715, § 1, 2-7-12; Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-1.)

7.03.020 Definitions.

The definitions in this section apply throughout this title unless the context clearly requires otherwise. Terms not defined here are defined according to FWRC 1.05.020.

“Abandoned” means any property, real or personal, which is unattended and either open or unsecured so that admittance may be gained without damaging any portion of the property, or which evidences indicia that no person is presently in possession, e.g., disconnected utilities, accumulated debris, uncleanness, disrepair and, in the case of chattels, location. Length of time or any particular state of mind of the owner or person entitled to possession are not conclusive in determining that property is abandoned.

“Abandoned or lost shopping cart” means any shopping cart left unattended or discarded upon any public property in the city, or private property other than the premises of the retail establishment from which the shopping cart was removed.

“Attractive nuisance” means the circumstance or condition which may reasonably be expected to attract young children and which constitutes a danger to such children. Attractive nuisances include but are not limited to unused or abandoned refrigerators, freezers, or other large appliances or equipment or any parts thereof; abandoned motor vehicles; any structurally unsound or unsafe fence or edifice; any unsecured or abandoned excavation, pit, well, cistern, storage tank, or shaft; and any lumber, trash, debris, or vegetation that may prove a hazard for minors.

“Building,” in addition to its ordinary meaning, includes any dwelling, fenced area, vehicle, railway car, cargo container, or other structure used for the lodging of persons or for carrying on business therein, or for the use, sale or deposit of goods. Each unit of a building consisting of two or more units separately secured or occupied is a separate building.

“Director” means the director of the community development department or a person designated by the director of the community development department.

“Hearing officer” means the mayor, or his or her designated representative.

“Junk” means old, used, or scrap metal, rope, rags, batteries, paper, rubber, tires, machinery or appliances or parts of such machinery or appliances, wood, debris, trash, waste, household goods or hardware, medications, medical supplies, or medical devices, or junked, dismantled, wrecked or inoperable motor vehicles or vehicular component parts.

“Junk vehicle” means any vehicle substantially meeting at least three of the following conditions:

(1) Is three years old or older;

(2) Is extensively damaged, such damage including but not limited to any of the following: a broken window or windshield or missing wheels, tires, motor, or transmission;

(3) Is apparently inoperable;

(4) Has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it.

“Junkyard” means a property or place of business which is maintained, operated or used for storing, keeping, buying, selling or salvaging junk.

“Litter” shall include, but is not limited to, debris in the form of cans, bottles, glass, ashes, garbage, wastepaper, packing material, scrap iron, wire, metal articles, discarded furniture and appliances, junk, broken stone or cement, broken crockery, discarded building materials, inoperable bicycles or bicycle parts, rags, boxes, crates, packing cases, mattresses, bedding, tree and vegetation trimmings, and all other trash, including abandoned inflammable materials, which are a fire hazard or a menace to the public health, safety, or welfare.

“Shopping cart” means a basket mounted on wheels or a similar device of the type generally used in a retail establishment by a customer for the purpose of transporting goods of any kind.

“Stolen shopping cart” means a shopping cart that is both:

(1) Marked with an identification sign in compliance with FWRC 7.25.030; and

(2) Removed from the parking area of a retail establishment with the intent to deprive the owner of the shopping cart the use of the cart.

(Ord. No. 22-943, § 3, 11-15-22; Ord. No. 18-858, § 2, 12-4-18; Ord. No. 10-669, § 63, 9-21-10; Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-2.)

7.03.030 Public nuisance defined.

A public nuisance consists of doing an unlawful act, or omitting to perform a duty, or permitting an action or condition to occur or exist which:

(1) Unreasonably annoys, injures, or endangers the comfort, health or safety of others; or

(2) Is unreasonably offensive to the senses; or

(3) Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct, or renders dangerous for passage any stream, lake, bay, park, square, right-of-way, street, alley, or sidewalk in the city; or

(4) Unlawfully interferes with, damages, or pollutes designated habitat areas, publicly owned restoration sites, streams, creeks, lakes, wetlands, or tributaries, and similar areas thereto; or

(5) Results in illicit discharges into the municipal storm drainage system; or

(6) In any way renders other persons insecure in life or the use of property; or

(7) Obstructs the free use of property as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property; or

(8) Results in unsecured attractive nuisances; or

(9) Creates or permits the existence or continuance of any of the specific nuisances identified in this title, violates a provision of this title, or is otherwise declared or deemed a nuisance by this Code.

(Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-3.)

7.03.040 Specific public nuisances.

The following specific acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things, including those that create, maintain, use, cause, allow, or permit to exist or remain on any public or private property any of the following specific acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things, are hereby declared to be public nuisances:

(1) Excavations or naturally occurring holes, including, but not limited to, privies, vaults, cesspools, sumps, pits, wells, or any other similar conditions, which are not secure and which constitute a concealed danger or other attractive nuisance;

(2) Making, causing, or permitting to be made discordant and unnecessary noise of any kind which annoys any significant number of persons lawfully in the immediate area, whether by means of any speaker or other sound-amplifying device, horn, or other mechanical device; or by outcry, loud speaking, singing; or by any other means;

(3) The discharge of sewage, human excrement, or other wastes in any location or manner, except through systems approved for the conveyance of such, to approved public or private disposal systems and which are constructed and maintained in accordance with the provisions of this Code, other applicable law, or in a manner injurious to the public health;

(4) Animal parts, manure, excreta, or wastes including bones, meats, hides, skins, or any part of any dead animal, fish, or fowl, which are improperly handled, contained, or removed from a premises; placed in any watercourse, lake, or street; or allowed to become putrid, offensive, and injurious to the public health;

(5) The erection or use of any building, room, or other place in the city for exercise of any trade, employment, or manufacture which, by emitting noxious exhausts, particulate matter, offensive odors, or other related annoyances, is discomforting, offensive, or detrimental to the health of individuals or of the public;

(6) Any poisonous material or thing on any property, placed so as to be dangerous to any person or domesticated animal;

(7) Storing of flammable junk on any property, including but not limited to old rags, rope, cordage, rubber, boxes, or paper, unless it is in a building of fireproof construction;

(8) Burning or disposal of refuse, sawdust, or other material in such a manner as to cause or permit ashes, sawdust, soot, or cinders to be cast upon the streets of the city, or to cause or permit the smoke, ashes, soot, or gases arising from such burning to become annoying or to injure or endanger the health, comfort, or repose of persons;

(9) To carry on the business of manufacturing gun powder, nitroglycerine, or other highly explosive substance, mixing or grinding such materials, or to establish a powder magazine within 1,000 feet of any building or without all necessary permits;

(10) Filthy, littered, trash-covered, or overgrown premises or abutting street and alley rights-of-way for which a property owner is responsible, including, but not limited to:

(a) Storing outside a completely enclosed building litter, junk, or cut brush or wood including dead or decaying plant material except as contained in a compost pile or orderly stacked firewood if cut in lengths of four feet or less, or items that threaten public health, safety or welfare;

(b) All unused, abandoned or discarded refrigerators, ice boxes or like containers which are left in any place exposed or accessible to children, whether such is outside any building or dwelling or within any unoccupied or abandoned building, dwelling or other structure;

(c) All places used or maintained as dumps, junkyards, or automobile or machinery disassembly yards or buildings not properly permitted and licensed or not in compliance with any law or regulation;

(11) Any unsightly, abandoned, or deteriorated structure constructed with inappropriate materials or improperly fastened together or anchored against the forces of nature; any screening which is in a falling, decayed, dilapidated, or unsafe condition; any structure where construction was commenced and the structure was left unfinished; or any structure that has been constructed or modified without permits or which is otherwise in violation of city ordinance;

(12) Personal property left in the public right-of-way of any road or alley, including but not limited to any personal and household items, furniture, appliances, machinery, equipment, building materials; and the abandonment or allowing the abandonment of property in any public right-of-way;

(13) The parking or storage of vehicles on single-family residential lots in violation of the parking regulations in this Code;

(14) To obstruct, impede, or encroach upon, without legal authority, the use of any river, harbor, lake, waterway, landing place, right-of-way, street, private way, or public area; to unlawfully obstruct or impede the flow of municipal transit vehicles or passenger traffic, access to municipal transit vehicles or stations; to unlawfully obstruct or impede a municipal transit driver, operator, or supervisor in the performance of that individual’s duties; or otherwise interfere with the provision or use of public transportation services; or to create or place any device simulating traffic control signs;

(15) To suffer, maintain, or permit to be maintained any place where intoxicating liquors are unlawfully kept for sale or disposal to the public;

(16) Any place where fighting between people or animals or birds is unlawfully conducted or allowed;

(17) Those acts, omissions, places, conditions, and things declared nuisances elsewhere in this title or elsewhere in the Code, including in FWRC 6.70.010;

(18) All violations of development, land use, public health, safety, and welfare and sanitation rules, regulations, or ordinances of the city or Seattle-King County health department rules, regulations, or ordinances;

(19) Use or operation of any internal combustion engine on Steel Lake and North Lake; provided, that this provision shall not apply to authorized law enforcement or emergency vessels or watercraft, or to authorized vessels or watercraft which are actually engaged in, or being prepared for, duties such as maintenance, scientific study, or protection of lakes or wetlands;

(20) Anything meeting the definition of a public nuisance under this title;

(21) Causing or allowing any shopping cart to be abandoned on either public or private property.

(Ord. No. 18-858, § 3, 12-4-18; Ord. No. 12-715, § 2, 2-7-12; Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-4.)

7.03.050 Nuisance is a violation.

It is unlawful and a violation of this title, whether by act or omission, to cause, create, maintain, suffer, or allow a public nuisance to occur, exist, or remain. Each day any person allows or fails to abate such nuisance after notice shall constitute a separate violation. In addition to any other penalty, a violation of any provision of this title is a civil infraction under FWRC 1.15.110.

(Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-5.)

7.03.060 Penalties and enforcement – Authority.

The building official and code enforcement officers may enforce the provisions of this title through any enforcement provisions in Chapter 1.15 FWRC. Police officers may enforce the provisions of this title criminally or otherwise regardless of any civil actions or proceedings. The provisions of this title are not exclusive, and may be used in addition to other enforcement provisions authorized by the Code or other applicable law, except as specifically precluded by law. The code enforcement officer charged with the enforcement of this title, acting in good faith and without malice in the discharge of his duties, shall not thereby be rendered personally liable for damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of an act or omission in the discharge of the assigned duties. The building official is authorized to administer and adopt rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this title.

(Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-6.)

7.03.070 Right of entry.

Where it is necessary to make an inspection to enforce the provisions of this title, or where the code enforcement officer has reasonable cause to believe that there exists in a structure or on a premises a condition which is in violation of this title, the code enforcement officer is authorized to enter the structure or premises at reasonable times to inspect or to perform the duties imposed by this title; provided, that if such structure or premises be occupied that credentials be presented to the occupant and entry requested. If such structure or premises is unoccupied, the code enforcement officer shall first make a reasonable effort to locate the owner or other person having charge or control of the structure or premises and request entry. If entry is refused, the code enforcement officer shall have recourse to the remedies provided by law to secure entry including seeking a search warrant and, upon a showing of probable cause specific to the area sought to be searched that a violation exists, a court of competent jurisdiction shall issue a warrant allowing a search of the common areas in which the violation is alleged.

(Ord. No. 09-596, § 1, 1-6-09. Code 2001 § 10-7.)