Chapter 7.10


Article I.

7.10.010    Definitions.

7.10.020    Types of nuisances.

7.10.030    Prohibited conduct.

7.10.040    Enforcement – Notice.

7.10.050    Abatement by the town.

7.10.060    Abatement by owner or other responsible person.

7.10.070    Right to appeal.

7.10.080    Immediate danger – Summary abatement.

7.10.090    Violation – Civil penalty.

Article II.

7.10.100    Slaughter of animals.

7.10.110    Sale of stale, infected or decayed food.

7.10.120    Moss on roofs.

7.10.130    Violation – Penalty.

7.10.140    Action on complaints.

Article I.

7.10.010 Definitions.

The words and phrases used in this chapter, unless the context otherwise indicates, shall have the following meanings:

(1) “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 enforcement officer, in his judgment, determines is necessary in the interest of the general health, safety and welfare of the community.

(2) “Building materials” means and includes lumber, plumbing materials, wallboard, sheet metal, plaster, brick, cement, asphalt, concrete block, roofing material, cans of paint and similar materials.

(3) “Enforcement officer” means the town attorney or any alternate as designated by the town attorney.

(4) “Nuisance” consists of 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:

(a) Disturbs, injures or endangers the comfort, welfare, repose, health, or safety of others;

(b) 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 town of La Conner;

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

(d) Obstructs the free use of property so as to essentially interfere with the reasonable and comfortable use thereof. The term “nuisance” includes those nuisances defined by statute or ordinance, including, but not limited to, the specific violations set forth in LCMC 7.10.020; a nuisance at common law, either public or private; an attractive nuisance, whether in or on a structure or an unoccupied lot and whether realty, fixture or chattel, which might reasonably be expected to attract children and constitute a danger to them; and/or abandoned, vacant or occupied property which has become detrimental to health or safety because of a natural or artificial condition on the property. Conditions not specifically named in this chapter constitute a nuisance if those conditions injure or endanger the health or safety of others; unlawfully interfere, obstruct, tend to obstruct or endanger the passage of any stream, park, parkway, square, street, sidewalk, easement or way; render others insecure in life or use of property; obstruct the full use of property so as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property; violate any provision of this chapter; or are unlawful or illegal.

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

(6) “Responsible person” means any agent, lessee, owner, or other person occupying or having charge or control of any premises.

(7) “Property” means any object of value that a person may lawfully acquire and hold. [Ord. 1208 § 2, 2022; Ord. 536 § 1, 1986.]

7.10.020 Types of nuisances.

Each of the following conditions unless otherwise permitted by law, is declared to constitute a public nuisance, and whenever the enforcement officer determines that any of these conditions exist upon any premises the officer may require or provide for the abatement thereof pursuant to this chapter:

(1) The existence of any weeds, trash, dirt, filth, the carcass of any animal, waste shrubs, accumulations of lawn or yard trimmings or any offensive matter;

(2) The existence of any dead, diseased, infested or dying tree that may constitute a danger to property or persons;

(3) The existence of any tree, shrub, or foliage unless by consent of the town, which is apt to destroy, impair, interfere or restrict:

(a) Streets, sidewalks, sewers, utilities or other public improvements;

(b) Visibility on, or free use of, or access to such improvement;

(4) The existence of any vines or climbing plants growing into or over any street, public hydrant, pole or electrolier, or the existence of any shrub, vine or plant growing on, around, or in front of any hydrant, standpipe, sprinkler system connection or any other appliance or facility provided for fire protection purposes, in such a way as to obscure the view thereof, or impair the access thereto;

(5) The existence of any accumulation of materials or objects in a location when the same endangers property, safety, or constitutes a fire hazard;

(6) The existence of a sidewalk or portion of a sidewalk adjacent to any premises which is out of repair, and in a condition to endanger persons or property, or in a condition to interfere with the public convenience in the use of such sidewalk;

(7) The existence of caterpillar infestations;

(8) The existence of fruit fly infestation, moths, rust, or other tree diseases;

(9) Open burning, including burn barrels, is prohibited with the following exception: only natural vegetation (tree limbs, brush, grass clippings, garden refuse, etc.) will be burned by permit from the La Conner fire department. No plastics, rubber, lumber and construction debris or any item causing noxious or toxic odors will be burned. Burn permit holders must comply with the following conditions:

(a) The diameter of the fire may not exceed five feet.

(b) Fires must be 50 feet from any structure.

(c) A charged water line must be at the fire area.

(d) Fire permit must be posted at the fire site.

(e) The fire must be attended at all times.

(f) Permitted fires may only be conducted during daylight hours;

(10) The existence of any obstruction to a street, alley, crossing or sidewalk, which is by ordinance prohibited, or which is made without lawful permission, or which, having been made by lawful permission, is kept and maintained after the purpose thereof has been accomplished, and for an unreasonable length of time;

(11) The erecting, maintaining, using, placing, depositing, leaving, or permitting to be or remain in or upon any private lot, building, structure, or premises, or in or upon any street, alley, sidewalk, park, parkway, or other public or private place in the town, any one or more of the following disorderly, disturbing, unsafe, unhealthy, unsanitary, fly-producing, rat-harboring, disease-causing places, conditions, or objects:

(a) Any putrid, unhealthy or unwholesome bones, meat hides, skins, the whole or any part of any dead animal, fish or fowl, or waste parts of fish, vegetable or animal matter in any quantity; but nothing herein shall prevent the temporary retention of waste in approved covered receptacles;

(b) Any vaults, cesspools, sumps, pits or like places which are not securely protected from flies and rats or which are foul or malodorous;

(c) Any pools of standing water created by irrigation of private property that could serve as breeding areas for rats, flies, or mosquitoes;

(d) Any filthy, littered or trash covered dwellings, cellars, house yards, barnyards, stable yards, factory yards, vacant areas in the rear of stores, vacant lots, houses, buildings, or premises;

(e) Any animal manure in any quantity which is not securely protected from flies or weather conditions, or which is kept or handled in violation of any ordinance of the town;

(f) Any poison oak or poison ivy, Russian Thistle, Bull and Canadian Thistle, Evergreen and Himalayan blackberries, Tansy Ragwort and other noxious weeds, whether growing or otherwise, including, but not limited to any noxious weeds identified by the Skagit County Noxious Weed Control Board; but nothing herein shall prevent the temporary retention of such weeds in approved covered receptacles;

(g) Any grass, weeds, shrubs, bushes, trees or vegetation growing or which has grown and died upon any property and are a fire hazard or a menace to public health, safety or welfare;

(h) Any bottles, cans, glass, ashes, small pieces of scrap iron, wire, metal articles, bric-a-brac, broken stone or cement, broken crockery, broken glass, broken plaster and all such trash, or abandoned material, unless it is kept in approved covered bins or receptacles;

(i) Any trash, litter, rags, accumulations or empty barrels, boxes, crates, packing cases, mattresses, bedding, excelsior, packing hay, straw or other packing material, lumber not neatly piled, scrap iron, tin or other metal not neatly piled, or anything whatsoever in which flies or rats may breed or multiply or which may be a fire hazard;

(12) The depositing of burning or causing to be deposited or burned in any street, alley, sidewalk, park, parkway, or other public place which is open to travel, any hay, straw, paper, wood, boards, boxes, leaves, manure, or other rubbish or material;

(13) The storage or keeping on any premises for more than 30 days of any used or unused building materials, without a special permit from the building official; provided, that nothing herein shall:

(a) Prohibit such storage without a permit when done in conjunction with a construction project for which a building permit has been issued and which is being prosecuted diligently to completion;

(b) Prohibit such storage without a permit on the premises of a bona fide lumber yard, dealer in building materials or other commercial enterprise when the same is permitted under the zoning ordinance and other applicable ordinances;

(c) Make lawful any such storage or keeping when it is prohibited by other ordinances or laws;

(14) The existence of any pits, cesspools, privy vaults, potholes or holes which would endanger safety;

(15) The existence of any condition which would produce dust or noxious odors; provided, that nothing herein be prohibited when done in conjunction with a construction project for which a building permit has been issued and is being prosecuted diligently to completion. However, the contractor or owner will be responsible for dust control throughout his development area; provided, that this shall not be construed to apply to publicly maintained, unpaved roadways or road rights-of-way now existing;

(16) The existence of any fence or other structure or thing on private property abutting or fronting upon any public street, sidewalk, or place which is in a sagging, leaning, fallen, decayed or other dilapidated or unsafe condition;

(17) The existence or maintenance on any premises of a storage area, junk yard or dumping ground for the wrecking or disassembling of automobiles, trucks, trailers, house trailers, boats, tractors, or other vehicle or machinery of any kind, or for the storing or leaving of more than two worn out, wrecked, inoperative, or abandoned automobiles, trucks, trailers, house trailers, boats, tractors, or other machinery of any kind or of any parts thereof;

(18) The existence of any drainage onto or over any sidewalk, public pedestrian way, street, or alley;

(19) The existence on any premises, in a place accessible to children, of any unattended and/or discarded icebox, refrigerator or other large appliance. [Ord. 963 § 4, 2005; Ord. 672 §§ 1, 2, 1995; Ord. 567 § 2, 1989; Ord. 536 § 2, 1986.]

7.10.030 Prohibited conduct.

It shall be unlawful for any responsible person or owner to create, permit, maintain, suffer, carry on or allow, upon any premises, any of the acts or things declared by this chapter to be a public nuisance. [Ord. 536 § 3, 1986.]

7.10.040 Enforcement – Notice.

The enforcement officer having knowledge of any public nuisance shall cause any owner or other responsible person to be notified of the existence of a public nuisance on any premises and shall direct the owner or other responsible person to abate the condition within 20 calendar days after notice. The notice shall be substantially as the following form:

Notice To Abate Unsafe or Unlawful Condition

(Name and address of person notified)

As owner, agent, lessee, or other person occupying or having charge or control of the building or premises at ____________ (Parcel Number) you are hereby notified that the undersigned, pursuant to Chapter 7.10 LCMC, has determined that there exists upon or adjoining said premises, the following conditions contrary to the provisions of LCMC 7.10.020: _____________ ________________________________.

You are hereby notified to abate the condition to the satisfaction of the undersigned within 20 days of the date of this notice. If you do not abate such condition within 20 days, the town will abate the condition at your expense.

Abatement is to be accomplished in the following manner: __________________.

Dated: __________

By: _____________

[Ord. 536 § 4, 1986.]

7.10.050 Abatement by the town.

In all cases where the enforcement officer has determined to proceed with abatement 20 days after giving notice, the town shall acquire the jurisdiction to abate the condition at the person’s expense as herein provided. Upon the abatement of the condition or any portion thereof by the town, all the expenses thereof shall constitute a civil debt owing to the town jointly and severally by such of the persons who have been given notice as herein provided. The debts shall be collectible in the same manner as any other civil debt owing to the town. [Ord. 536 § 5, 1986.]

7.10.060 Abatement by owner or other responsible person.

If and when an owner or other responsible person shall undertake to abate any condition described in this chapter, whether by order of the enforcement officer or otherwise, all needful and legal conditions pertinent to the abatement may be imposed by the enforcement officer. It is unlawful for the owner or other responsible person to fail to comply with such conditions. Nothing in this chapter shall relieve any owner or other responsible person of the obligation of obtaining any required permit to do any work incidental to the abatement. [Ord. 536 § 6, 1986.]

7.10.070 Right to appeal.

Any person notified of the existence of a condition specified in this chapter shall have the right to appeal to the council of the town of La Conner. Such appeal shall be taken by filing with the town council, within seven calendar days after notice as provided in LCMC 7.10.040 has been given, a written statement setting forth in full the grounds for appeal. The town council shall set a time and place for a hearing on such appeal, and notice of such hearing shall be given to the appellant in writing setting forth specifically the grounds for the complaint and the time and place of hearing. Such notice shall be mailed, postage prepaid, to the appellant at his last known address, at least five days prior to the date set for the hearing. Further action on the abatement as specified in the original notice shall be stayed pending the decision of the town council on the appeal. The decision and the order of the town council on such appeal shall be final and conclusive. [Ord. 536 § 7, 1986.]

7.10.080 Immediate danger – Summary abatement.

Whenever any condition or use of the property causes or constitutes or reasonably appears to cause or constitute an imminent or immediate danger to the health or safety of the public or a significant portion thereof, the enforcement officer shall have the authority to summarily and without notice abate the same. The expenses of such abatement shall become a civil debt against the owner or other responsible person and be collected as provided in LCMC 7.10.050. [Ord. 536 § 8, 1986.]

7.10.090 Violation – Civil penalty.

A violation of this chapter shall be a civil infraction for which a civil penalty may be imposed pursuant to the provisions of Chapter 1.15 LCMC. [Ord. 839 § 15, 2001; Ord. 536 § 9, 1986.]

Article II.

7.10.100 Slaughter of animals.

It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to kill or slaughter any beef, sheep, hog or other animal in such a manner as to become a nuisance within the corporate limits of the town of La Conner. [Ord. 107 § 5, 1895.]

7.10.110 Sale of stale, infected or decayed food.

It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to knowingly sell any stale or infected meats, vegetables or any decayed fruit or eatables of any kind within the corporate limits of the town of La Conner. [Ord. 107 § 6, 1895.]

7.10.120 Moss on roofs.

It shall be unlawful for any person or persons to allow or to permit moss to gather on, accumulate or remain on the roof of any building or shed owned, leased or occupied by such person or persons within the corporate limits of the town of La Conner. [Ord. 107 § 7, 1895.]

7.10.130 Violation – Penalty.

It shall be an infraction for any person or persons to violate a provision of this article, which person shall be liable for a civil penalty not to exceed $100.00. [Ord. 812 § 8, 2001; Ord. 107 § 9, 1895.]

7.10.140 Action on complaints.

Whenever a complaint shall be made to the town of La Conner against any persons or person for violation of any of the provisions of this article, the town planner shall forthwith examine into the facts, and if such complaint appears to be well-founded, shall notify such person or persons to remove or abate the nuisance and upon failure within a reasonable time to comply with such notice, the town planner shall cause such nuisance to be removed or abated at the expense of the person guilty of creating the same and to be brought before any court of competent jurisdiction. [Ord. 812 § 9, 2001; Ord. 107 § 10, 1895.]