Chapter 8.26JUNK AND NUISANCE VEHICLES

Sections:

8.26.010
Purpose.
8.26.020
Definitions.
8.26.030
Storage of Certain Vehicles and Components Prohibited.
8.26.040
Public Nuisance Declared.
8.26.050
Responsible Parties.
8.26.060
Violation - Penalty.
8.26.070
Exemptions.
8.26.080
Abatement and Removal of Junk and Nuisance Vehicles on Private Property.
8.26.090
Junk and Nuisance Vehicle Removal - by City.
8.26.100
Summary Abatement of Junk and/or Nuisance Vehicles by City Authorized - Procedure.
8.26.110
Use of Public Funds for Junk and Nuisance Vehicle Removal.
8.26.120
City Costs Enforceable - Debt - Lien.
8.26.010Purpose.

The purpose of this Chapter is to preserve the character and safety of the City's neighborhoods by eliminating junk and other nuisance vehicles from public and private property that constitute blight to the community. This Chapter provides procedures for the removal of junk vehicles as authorized by RCW 46.55.240. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.020Definitions.

For the purposes of this Chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

A. “Apparently inoperable” means a vehicle that meets any of the following criteria:

The vehicle is:

1. covered or partially covered by moss, leaves, needles or other vegetation; or has grass or other vegetation growing up around the vehicle; or other circumstances exist that support a reasonable belief that the vehicle has not been moved for 30 days or more;

2. has any visibly damaged, missing, or broken major components, including but not limited to any of the following: windows, windshields, headlights, taillights, mirrors, body panels, hoods, doors, bumpers, trunk lids, driver's seats, steering wheels, grill covers, radiators, or any major mechanical or electrical equipment; or

3. for any other reason appears in such a condition as to not be legally operable on a public road.

B. “Junk vehicle” means a vehicle meeting at least three of the following requirements:

1. is three years old or older; or

2. is extensively damaged, such damage including but not limited to any of the following: broken window or windshield; or missing wheels, tires, motor, transmission or other parts; or

3. is apparently inoperable; or

4. has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it.

C. “Landowner” means an owner of private property, or a person in possession or control of private property.

D. “Vehicle” means any device capable or designed to be capable of moving upon a roadway, off-road, or on or across the water, whether motorized or not, and in, upon, or by which any person or property is or may be transported, and shall include but not be limited to motor vehicles, trailers, recreational, utility, and sporting vehicles, boats, and campers designed or intended to be mounted on trucks or vehicle chassis, or parts or components thereof. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.030Storage of Certain Vehicles and Components Prohibited.

No person owning, leasing, renting, occupying, being in possession or having charge of any property in the City, including vacant lots, shall retain or store, except if permitted by any other City ordinance, any of the following:

A. One or more junk, wrecked, dismantled, partially dismantled, or apparently inoperable vehicles; or

B. Body parts, engines or drive-train parts, wheels, tires, or any other parts, assemblies or components of automobiles and other vehicles. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.040Public Nuisance Declared.

All junk vehicles identified as such by a law enforcement officer or code enforcement officer as defined in LMC 8.26.020, and found on private or public property, are declared to constitute a public nuisance subject to removal, impoundment and disposal. It is unlawful for any individual, firm, entity, or corporation to allow, cause to allow or place a junk vehicle on any premises. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.050Responsible Parties.

The City may take enforcement action for violations under this chapter to the landowner of record, tenant, or other person with responsibility or control of the property, and/or the person in possession or with responsibility or control of the vehicle, and/or the vehicle’s last known registered owner of record. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.060Violation - Penalty.

A. Any violation of this Chapter is a civil infraction punishable by a fine in the amount of $500 per violation. Each day a violation of this Chapter is allowed to exist shall constitute a separate violation.

B. In addition to or as an alternative to any other penalty provided in this Chapter or by law, any violation of this Chapter shall constitute a misdemeanor. Each day a violation of this Chapter is allowed to exist shall constitute a separate violation. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.070Exemptions.

The following are exempt from the prohibitions of this Chapter:

A. A. A vehicle or part thereof which is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

B. A vehicle or part thereof which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a properly licensed dismantler, repair business, or vehicle dealer, and is fenced according to the provisions of RCW 46.80.130 as currently enacted or as hereafter amended or recodified; or

C. A vehicle that is an individual’s or family’s sole source of transportation provided that all the following shall apply:

1. the vehicle exists and is maintained in such a condition as to be immediately legally operable on public roads and highways;

2. the vehicle is currently registered to an occupant of the property it is located on; and

3. the burden of proof that the vehicle meets these criteria shall be on the owner, occupant, or person with responsibility for or control of the property. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.080Abatement and Removal of Junk and Nuisance Vehicles on Private Property.

In addition to and as an alternative to the penalties specified in this Chapter, whenever the City determines that junk and/or nuisance vehicle violations exist, the City may issue a notice to abate the nuisance pursuant to the procedures in LMC Chapter 8.16 for “Public Nuisances” to a responsible party provided that following additional provisions shall be followed:

A. The person(s) designated by the City Manager with duties of enforcement of this Ordinance shall give notice to the last registered owner of record of the vehicle and to the property owner of record that a hearing may be requested but that, if no hearing is requested, the vehicle will be removed and impounded;

B. If a request for a hearing is received, the City shall provide a written notice giving the time, location and date of a hearing on the question of abatement and removal of the vehicle, or part thereof as a public nuisance, which notice shall be mailed, by certified mail with return receipt requested to the owner of the property as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the last registered and legal owner of record unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership;

C. The owner of the property on which the vehicle, or component thereof, is located may appear in person at the hearing or present a written statement in time for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle or item on the property, with his or her reasons for the denial and, if it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle or item was placed on the land without the consent of the owner, and that the owner has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the City Hearing Examiner shall not assess costs of administration or removal against the property upon which the vehicle or item is located;

D. After notice has been given of the intent of the City to dispose of the vehicle and, after a hearing, if requested, the vehicle shall be removed at the request of a law enforcement officer with notice to the Washington State Patrol and to the Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.090Junk and Nuisance Vehicle Removal - by City.

Upon failure of persons to comply with the notice by the designated date where the City is authorized to cause the junk and/or nuisance vehicle to be abated by City forces or by private contractor, the City or its private contractor is authorized to enter upon the premises for such purposes using any lawful means. All reasonable efforts to minimize damage from such entry shall be taken by the City. Property owners may consent in advance to City entry onto private property for junk and/or nuisance vehicle removal purposes. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.100Summary Abatement of Junk and/or Nuisance Vehicles by City Authorized - Procedure.

Junk and/or nuisance vehicles found to constitute an immediate threat to the public health, safety or welfare or to the environment may be abated summarily by the City without prior notice by removal, disposal or destruction at the City’s discretion. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.110Use of Public Funds for Junk and Nuisance Vehicle Removal.

In the abatement of a junk and/or nuisance vehicle from publicly or privately owned property, the City is authorized, in its discretion, to use public funds in a manner consistent with this Chapter. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)

8.26.120City Costs Enforceable - Debt - Lien.

Any and all costs incurred by the City in the abatement of the junk and/or nuisance vehicle, as provided in this Chapter, shall constitute a debt owed to the City by the property owner and/or person in charge or control of the property or vehicle, and shall, at the City’s discretion, be enforceable as a lien against the person or the property upon which such nuisance existed. This remedy is in addition to all other legal remedies available for the enforcement of debts. (Ord. 545 § 2 (part), 2012.)