Chapter 8.24


8.24.010    Purpose and scope.

8.24.020    Definitions.

8.24.030    Duty to maintain real property.

8.24.040    Nuisances prohibited.

8.24.050    Abatement of public nuisance.

8.24.060    Penalty—Enforcement.

*Prior legislation: Ordinances 3790, 3668, 3647, 3588, 3575, 3526, 3106 and 3039.

8.24.010 Purpose and scope.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the protection of the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the city by protecting the neighborhoods within the city from urban blight and by providing standards for the appearance and condition of properties; to protect the expectations of the citizens of the city to enjoy their dwellings and property without being subjected to unpleasant conditions; and to protect property values and the livability of neighborhoods by providing an abatement process for nuisances as defined within this chapter; and to hold those persons who have, at any time, control over a nuisance, responsible for the abatement thereof.

The nuisance code is supplemental to all other laws that have been adopted by the city, and shall be used to help enforce elements within other laws; provided, if specific terms of enforcement and penalties are set forth in the other laws, such provisions shall take precedence over the provisions in the nuisance code. The nuisance code also applies to situations and conditions which are not addressed by other laws of the city. (Ord. 3849 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.24.020 Definitions.

Unless otherwise expressly stated, the following terms shall, for the purposes of this code, have the meanings shown in this section. Words stated in the present tense include the future; words stated in the masculine gender include the feminine and neuter; the singular number includes the plural and the plural, the singular. Where terms are not defined through the methods authorized by this section, such terms shall have ordinarily accepted meanings such as the context implies.

A. “Abate” means to repair, replace, remove, destroy or otherwise remedy the condition in question by such means and in such a manner and to such an extent as the authorized representative of the city determines is necessary in the interest of the general health, safety and welfare of the community. It shall include to stop, discontinue, or do away with a condition on any premises, which is in violation of this chapter or any part of the Kelso Municipal Code, which defines a public nuisance.

B. “Director” means the director of the department or any designated alternate empowered by ordinance or by the city manager to enforce the applicable city ordinance or regulation.

C. “Authorized representative or agent” means any person having authority to act on behalf of the city of Kelso within the terms of this chapter, including, but not limited to, the city manager, city attorney, applicable director (or his/her designee), code enforcement officers and any other person granted the authority to act on behalf of the city pursuant to this chapter.

D. “City” or “the city” means the city of Kelso, Washington, acting by and through the authorized representatives or agents.

E. “Code” means the Kelso Municipal Code.

F. “Omission” means a failure to act.

G. “Person” means any individual, association, partnership, corporation or legal entity, public or private, and the agents, heirs, executors, administrators, contractors, and assigns of such individual, association, partnership, corporation or legal entity.

H. “Person responsible for a nuisance violation” or “responsible person” means any person, as above defined, who is required by the applicable regulation to comply therewith, or who commits any act or omission which constitutes a public nuisance or causes or permits a violation or public nuisance to occur or remain upon property in the city, and includes but is not limited to owner(s), lessor(s), tenant(s) or other person(s) entitled to control, use and/or occupy property where a public nuisance occurs.

I. “Property” means any building, lot, parcel, real estate, land, or portion of land, whether improved or unimproved, including adjacent sidewalks and parking strips.

J. “Public nuisance” means the unreasonable or unlawful use by a person of 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. (Ord. 3849 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.24.030 Duty to maintain real property.

Any person owning, leasing, renting, occupying, or in charge of any real property in the city, including vacant lots, has a duty to maintain the property free from junk, trash, yard waste, and any other public nuisance as defined in this chapter, in order that such property shall not endanger the safety, health, or welfare of the general public. (Ord. 3849 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.24.040 Nuisances prohibited.

It is a violation of this chapter for any person to cause, permit, create, maintain, or allow upon any property any public nuisance within the city, including any public rights-of-way abutting a person’s property. Each of the following conditions, unless otherwise permitted by law, is hereby determined to be detrimental to the general public health, safety, and welfare and is declared to constitute a public nuisance:

A. Any violation of the International Property Maintenance Code as adopted by reference and as amended by Chapter 17.50.

B. Any violation of any Kelso Municipal Code provision declared therein to be a public nuisance.

C. Any junk vehicles or automobile hulks, or parts thereof in violation of Chapter 10.06.

D. Any items which remain on the public right-of-way for a period of forty-eight hours shall be deemed abandoned and constitute a public nuisance subject to removal by the city with or without notice. The costs of abatement may be assessed against the abutting real estate from which the nuisance was abated. (Ord. 3849 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.24.050 Abatement of public nuisance.

The person responsible for the public nuisance, as defined herein, shall abate such public nuisance by removal, trimming, demolition, rehabilitation or repair of the condition causing the public nuisance and for bringing the property into a safe and reasonable condition. (Ord. 3849 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)

8.24.060 Penalty—Enforcement.

A. Any person who willfully or knowingly causes, aids or abets a public nuisance by any act of commission or omission is guilty of a misdemeanor. Upon conviction, the person shall be punished by a fine not to exceed the amount set forth in Chapter 1.40. Each day such violation continues shall be considered a separate misdemeanor offense. Misdemeanor prosecution is an alternative, or in addition to any other judicial or administrative remedy provided in this chapter or by law or other code section or regulation. The authorized representative of the city may recommend that the office of the city attorney file a misdemeanor complaint against the person responsible for a code violation when the city has documentation or other evidence that the violation was willful and knowing.

B. In addition to the criminal remedies set forth herein, in order to discourage public nuisances and/or otherwise promote compliance with this chapter, the city may, in response to field observations, investigations or reliable complaints, determine that violations of this chapter have occurred or are occurring, and may utilize any of the civil or administrative compliance and enforcement provisions contained in Chapter 1.50 as adopted or hereafter amended to obtain compliance with the applicable code provisions. (Ord. 3849 § 1 (Exh. A), 2015)