Chapter 17.70


17.70.010    Appeals

17.70.020    Decision of the Hearing Examiner

17.70.030    Failure to Appear - Default Order

17.70.010 Appeals.

(a)    Scope. Any person issued or named in an enforcement action may file an appeal with the City Clerk.

(b)    Deadline for Appeal and Service. The appeal and the appeal fee shall be filed by the appellant with the City Clerk not later than 10 days after service of the enforcement action objected to. When the last day of the period so computed is a Saturday, Sunday, or a Federal or City holiday, the period shall run until 4:30 p.m. on the next business day.

(c)    Jurisdiction. If the appeal and appeal fee are not timely filed and served, the Hearing Examiner shall be without jurisdiction to hear the appeal.

(d)    Contents of Appeal. The request shall include the contents listed below:

(1)    Identify the parties to the appeal;

(2)    Attach the enforcement action or administrative order complained of; and

(3)    Contain a concise statement of the issues appealed, the basis for relief, and relief requested by the appellant.

(e)    Hearing Examiner Review. Upon receipt of an appeal, the City Clerk shall forward the appeal to the City Hearing Examiner. The Hearing Examiner shall thereafter review and decide the appeal pursuant to this chapter and the Hearing Examiner’s rules of procedure.

(f)    No Stay. Enforcement of any stop work order shall not be stayed during the pendency of an appeal. When multiple enforcement actions have been issued simultaneously for any set of facts constituting one or more violations, only one appeal of all such enforcement actions shall be allowed.

(g)    Cancellation of Hearing. Except in the case of a repeat violation; a violation which creates a situation or condition which cannot be corrected; or a violation posing an immediate risk or threat to persons, property or public safety, an appeal hearing may be canceled if the Code Enforcement Officer approves a fully completed remedy or corrective action at least 48 hours prior to the scheduled hearing commencement date. Accrued fines, penalties, and costs shall not be affected by cancellation of the hearing.

(h)    Costs of Administrative Appeal. Whenever an enforcement action is affirmed or substantially upheld on appeal, the Hearing Examiner shall assess to the appellant the amount of the costs incurred by the City and the Examiner in litigating and processing the appeal before the Hearing Examiner. These costs shall, without limitation, include those expenses incurred in preparing for the appeal, issuing public notice as required under the code or Examiner’s rules, general clerical expenses, staff, witness and examiner preparation time, site inspections, City Attorney costs, including fees paid to outside counsel and consultants needed to prosecute the appeal, and other expenses incurred by the City arising from the enforcement action and/or violation. City litigation costs may be waived in whole or in part by the Code Enforcement Officer if the responsible person has corrected or remedied the alleged violation at least 30 working days prior to the scheduled appeal hearing date and the Code Enforcement Officer verified in writing the adequacy of the corrective action. Accrued fines and penalties to the date of verified correction or remedy shall not be waived. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.70.020 Decision of the Hearing Examiner.

(a)    At the conclusion of the appeal hearing, the Hearing Examiner shall issue an order to the person responsible for the violation which includes the following information:

(1)    The decision regarding the alleged violation including findings of fact and conclusions based thereon in support of the decision;

(2)    The required corrective action, if any, and the date by which the correction must be completed;

(3)    The civil penalties assessed based on the provisions of this title and the fee resolution; and

(4)    The date after which the City may proceed with abatement of the unlawful condition if the required correction is not completed.

(b)    The Hearing Examiner may cause a copy of the decision and order to be served upon the parties at the close of the hearing. When the Hearing Examiner requires more time to prepare a written order, or when a party fails to appear after requesting a contested hearing, the Hearing Examiner shall cause a copy of the decision and order to be served on the parties by mailing a copy to each party’s last known address no later than 10 business days following the hearing.

(c)    The decision of the Hearing Examiner shall be final unless appealed pursuant to this section. To appeal the decision of the Hearing Examiner, a person with standing to appeal must file a land use petition, as provided in Chapter 36.70C RCW, Land Use Petition Act, within 21 calendar days of issuance of the Hearing Examiner’s decision. The cost for transcription of all records ordered certified by the Superior Court for such review shall be borne by the appellant and is nonrefundable.

(d)    If judicial review is not obtained, the decision of the Hearing Examiner shall constitute the final decision of the City, and the failure to comply with the decision of the Hearing Examiner shall constitute a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or up to 90 days’ imprisonment, or both. In addition to criminal punishment pursuant to this subsection, the City may pursue collection, liening the property, and abatement as provided in this title. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)

17.70.030 Failure to Appear - Default Order.

If the person who requests an appeal hearing fails to appear at the scheduled hearing after having been given notice in the manner provided for by this chapter, the Hearing Examiner shall immediately issue a default order, which finds that the nonappearing party committed all the violations set forth in the notice of violation and which assesses a monetary penalty in the full amount indicated in the notice of violation. In addition, at the request of the City, the Hearing Examiner shall also impose upon the nonappearing party any costs to the City related to preparation for the hearing. The Hearing Examiner shall cause a copy of the decision to be served upon the nonappearing party by mailing a copy to the last known address of the nonappearing party within 10 business days of the hearing. Upon the motion of a party, the Hearing Examiner may rescind a default judgment only upon a showing of good cause to do so and only if such motion has been brought within 30 calendar days of the date of the hearing at which the default judgment was ordered. (Ord. 1122, Sec. 2 (Exh. A), 2021)