Chapter 17.10


17.10.010    Purpose

17.10.020    Declaration of Public Nuisance

17.10.030    Right of Entry

17.10.040    Code Compliance Required

17.10.050    General Provisions

17.10.060    Conflicts

17.10.070    Joint and Several Responsibility and Liability

17.10.080    Separate Offense - Scope of Prohibited Acts

17.10.090    Computation of Time

17.10.100    Interference with Code Enforcement Unlawful

17.10.110    Definitions

17.10.010 Purpose.

(a)    The purpose and intent of this title is to establish a uniform code enforcement system applicable to the variety of code enforcement actions that occur within the City. These regulations establish procedures and mechanisms to resolve violations, establish penalties for violations, provide an opportunity for a prompt hearing, decision and appeal as to alleged code violations, provide for abatement when necessary, and provide a mechanism to recover the City’s costs.

(b)    It is the express and specific purpose and intent of this title to provide for and promote the health, safety and welfare of the general public and not to create or otherwise establish or designate any particular class or group of persons who will or should be especially protected or benefited by the terms of this chapter.

(c)    This title shall apply to all applicable provisions of the Lake Stevens Municipal Code and shall supersede any conflicting enforcement process. References in the code to violations or unlawful acts or omissions of “ordinances of the City” shall mean and include every such violation, act or omission of any provision of the code as maintained by the City. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.020 Declaration of Public Nuisance.

In addition to the penalties provided by this title, any condition caused or allowed to exist in violation of any of the provisions of the code is a public nuisance and all remedies given by law for the prevention and abatement of nuisances shall apply to any such nuisance or person responsible therefor, regardless of the institution or imposition of criminal or civil remedies stated above. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.030 Right of Entry.

(a)    Nonemergency Permissive Entry. Upon presentation of proper credentials, the Code Enforcement Officer may, with the consent of the owner or occupier of a building or premises or pursuant to a lawfully issued inspection warrant, enter such location at all reasonable times to perform the duties of this chapter and to conduct inspections, tests or to carry out other duties imposed by the code.

(b)    Refusal of Entry. If entry is refused or cannot be obtained, the Code Enforcement Officer may apply to a court of competent jurisdiction to obtain entry, and/or shall have recourse to every remedy provided by law to secure entry, including but not limited to obtaining an administrative warrant for entry.

(c)    Emergency Entry. In the event of an emergency presenting a threat to public health or safety and requiring immediate action by the Code Enforcement Officer, the Code Enforcement Officer may enter onto any property without obtaining consent but shall advise the property owner or other responsible person of such entry as soon as practicable thereafter. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.040 Code Compliance Required.

It shall be unlawful for any person to violate or fail to comply with the requirements of the City’s municipal code. Code compliance and violations shall primarily be enforced pursuant to this title, while maintaining the authority to use any other provisions of the Code, or as otherwise available under State and Federal law. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.050 General Provisions.

(a)    The Code Enforcement Officer shall have the authority to administer and enforce this title and is authorized to adopt procedures, rules or guidelines; conduct inspections; and prepare the forms necessary to carry out the purposes of this title. The Code Enforcement Officer may seek assistance from City departments, other public agencies or private contractors to resolve code violations.

(b)    No provision or any term used in this title is intended to impose any duty upon the City, nor any of its officers, employees, or agents, which would subject them to damages in a civil action.

(c)    The provisions of this title detailing administration of code compliance procedures are not to be construed as creating a substantive basis for appeal or a defense of any kind to an alleged violation.

(d)    The provisions of this title authorizing the enforcement of noncodified requirements of any City department are intended to assure compliance with conditions of approval on plats, conditional use or special use permits, zone reclassifications and other similar permits or approvals which may have been granted by policies, requirements, or procedures which have not been codified, and to enforce new regulatory requirements which are not yet codified.

(e)    All conditions of land use or building permit approvals or licenses, and all easements and use limitations shown on the face of an approved final plat which are intended to serve or protect the general public are deemed conditions applicable to all subsequent property owners and their tenants and agents as permit requirements enforceable under this title. The Code Enforcement Officer may modify or revoke any action under this title taken by the City if the City’s action was incomplete or issued in error, or in response to new information or a change in circumstances. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.060 Conflicts.

In the event a conflict exists between the enforcement provisions of this title and the enforcement provisions of any international or uniform code, statute, or regulation that is adopted in the Lake Stevens Municipal Code and subject to the enforcement provisions of this title, the enforcement provisions of this title will prevail, unless the enforcement provisions of this title are preempted or specifically modified by said code, statute, or regulation. In the event of a conflict between this title and any other provision of this code or City ordinance providing for a civil penalty, the more specific provision shall control. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.070 Joint and Several Responsibility and Liability.

Responsibility for violations of the codes enforced under this title is joint and several, both as to duty to correct and to payment of monetary penalties and costs, and the City is not prohibited from taking action against a party where other persons may also be potentially responsible for a violation, nor is the City required to take action against all persons potentially responsible for a violation. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.080 Separate Offense - Scope of Prohibited Acts.

(a)    Any person violating the code is guilty of a separate offense for each and every day or portion of any day in which any violation of this code is committed, continued, or permitted by any such person, and such person is punishable accordingly.

(b)    Whenever in the code or ordinances of the City any act or omission is made unlawful, such act shall include causing, allowing, permitting, aiding, abetting, suffering or concealing the fact of such act or omission. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.090 Computation of Time.

In computing any period of time prescribed or allowed by this code, the day of the act, event or default from which the designated period of time begins to run shall not be included. The last day of the period so computed shall be included unless it is a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, in which event the period shall run until the end of the next day which is neither a Saturday, Sunday, nor legal holiday. When the period of time prescribed or allowed is less than seven days, intermediate Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays shall be excluded in the computation. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.100 Interference with Code Enforcement Unlawful.

Any person who intentionally obstructs, impedes, or interferes with any lawful attempt to serve a notice of violation, stop work order, or emergency order, or intentionally obstructs, impedes, or interferes with lawful attempts to correct a violation shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.10.110 Definitions.

Except where specifically defined in this section, all words used in this title shall carry their customary meanings. The word “shall” is always mandatory, and the word “may” denotes a use of discretion in making a decision. The following words and phrases used in this title shall have the following meanings:

“Abate” means to take whatever steps are deemed necessary in the interest of the general health, safety, and welfare of the City by the Code Enforcement Officer to return a property to the condition in which it existed before a civil code violation occurred or to assure that the property complies with applicable code requirements. Abatement may include, but is not limited to, rehabilitation, demolition, removal, replacement or repair.

“Act” means doing or performing something.

“Appeal hearing” means a hearing requested in response to a notice of violation, emergency order infraction or other official written notice of violation issued by the Code Enforcement Officer to contest the finding that a violation occurred or to contest that the person cited for a violation is responsible for the violation.

“Cease and desist” means an order to stop an activity or condition which is contrary to the provisions of Lake Stevens Municipal Code.

“City” means the City of Lake Stevens, Washington.

“Civil penalty” means a fine assessed for violation of a statute or regulation, in accordance with Chapter 17.60 or other provisions of Lake Stevens Municipal Code.

“Code” means the Lake Stevens Municipal Code.

“Code Enforcement Officer” means the Planning and Community Development Director or designee.

“Code violation” means and includes one or more of the following:

(a)    Any act or omission contrary to any ordinance, resolution, regulation or public rule of the City that regulates or protects public health, the environment or the use and development of land or water, whether or not the ordinance, resolution or regulation is codified; and

(b)    Any act or omission contrary to the conditions of any permit, notice of violation or stop work or other order issued pursuant to any such ordinance, resolution, regulation or public rule.

“Complaint” means a report submitted to the City through an approved method, regarding possible violations of any ordinance, resolution, regulation or public rule of the City.

“Contest” means to defend against an adverse claim or challenge a position asserted during a legal proceeding.

“Costs” means, but is not limited to, contract expenses and City employee labor expenses incurred in abating a nuisance; a rental fee for City equipment used in abatement; costs of storage, disposal, or destruction; legal expenses and attorneys’ fees associated with civil judicial enforcement of abatement orders or in seeking abatement orders; and any other costs incurred by the City, excluding fees and expenses associated with appeals authorized by this code or by State law.

“Day” or “days” means one or more calendar days, unless expressly stated otherwise in a given section or subsection. In addition, any portion of a 24-hour day shall constitute a full calendar day.

“Emergency” means an action that must be undertaken immediately or within a time frame too short to allow full compliance with this title, in order to avoid an immediate threat to public health or safety, to prevent an imminent danger to public or private property, or to prevent an imminent threat of serious environmental degradation.

“Emergency order” means a stop work order or a cease and desist order issued pursuant to the LSMC by the City under its police power authority in response to an actual or potential threat or risk to the health, safety, or welfare of people, property, City infrastructure or the environment.

“Enforcement order” means a notice of violation, an infraction, or emergency order issued pursuant to this title.

“Fine” means payment imposed by an agency for violation of laws or regulations.

“Found in violation” means that:

(a)    A notice of violation, stop work order or infraction has been issued and not timely appealed; or

(b)    The Hearing Examiner has determined that the violation has occurred and the Hearing Examiner’s determination has not been stayed or reversed on appeal.

“Hearing Examiner” means the City of Lake Stevens Hearing Examiner, as provided in Chapter 2.48.

“Infraction” or “civil infraction” means any code violation designated as an infraction or civil infraction by the Code Enforcement Officer pursuant to Chapter 7.80 RCW, incorporated herein by reference, for which a monetary penalty may be imposed.

“LSMC” means the Lake Stevens Municipal Code as currently enacted or hereafter adopted.

A “notice of violation” represents a notice issued per the LSMC that a code violation has occurred, that the cited party is a person responsible for code compliance, and that the violations set out in the notice of violation require the assessment of penalties and costs and other remedies specified in the notice of violation.

“Nuisance” (also referred to herein as “violation” or “nuisance violation”) means, in addition to the conditions established in Chapter 9.60, a violation of any City of Lake Stevens ordinance.

“Nuisance vehicle” means any vehicle, including but not limited to motorized vehicles of any kind, boats, watercraft, recreational vehicles and trailers of any size, that:

(a)    Has characteristics which include, but are not limited to, damaged, rusted, partially dismantled, wrecked, flat tire(s), broken window(s) or windshield, or missing wheels, tires, motor, or transmission, expired tabs or an accumulation of natural vegetation or debris on or around the vehicle; and

(b)    Is apparently inoperable.

“Omission” means a failure to act.

“Permit” means any form of certificate, approval, registration, license or any other written permission issued by the City of Lake Stevens.

“Person” means any individual, association, partnership, corporation or legal entity, public or private, and includes the agents, contractors, and assigns of such person, including registered agents thereof.

“Person responsible” or “responsible person” means the owner, occupier, tenant, manager, agent or other person who caused or is causing the code violation under this title or other public law.

“Public nuisance” means a nuisance that affects equally the rights of an entire community or neighborhood, although the extent of the damage may be unequal.

“Repeat violation” means, as evidenced by the prior issuance of an enforcement order, a subsequent violation that has occurred on the same property or that has been committed by a person responsible for the prior violation elsewhere within the City of Lake Stevens. To constitute a repeat violation, the violation need not be the same violation as the prior violation. The violation of a written order of the Hearing Examiner that has been served as provided in this title shall constitute a repeat violation.

“Stop work order” means an order issued to immediately stop any action or work being conducted without a permit or performed in a manner contrary to the provisions of Lake Stevens Municipal Code.

“Violation” means an act or omission contrary to a City development regulation including an act or omission at the same or different location by the same person and including a condition resulting from such act or omission.

“Voluntary compliance agreement” or “VCA” means a written and executed contract between the person responsible for the violation and the City, under which such person agrees to abate the violation within a specified time and according to specified conditions.

“Warning letter” means a letter informing the recipient of a minor violation and does not carry a penalty or enforcement action. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)