Chapter 8.15
NUISANCES*

Sections:

8.15.010    Purpose and intent.

8.15.020    Authority.

8.15.030    Definitions.

8.15.040    Nuisances prohibited.

8.15.050    Recreational, utility and motor vehicles.

8.15.060    Nuisance premises.

8.15.070    Graffiti.

8.15.080    Disabled persons’ parking spaces.

8.15.085    Fire lane maintenance/blocking fire lane prohibited.

8.15.090    Penalty.

8.15.100    Enforcement.

* For nuisance regulations regarding animals, see MTMC Title 6, Animals.

8.15.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is to create and maintain a safe and healthy living environment for the citizens of Mountlake Terrace, by identifying and reducing the precipitators of injury, illness, devaluation of property, and the incidence of crime. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.020 Authority.

A Police Officer or designated employee of the City of Mountlake Terrace may enforce the provisions of this chapter. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.030 Definitions.

For the purpose of this chapter:

A. “Auxiliary parking” or “auxiliary driveway” means any area excluding the required minimum improved surfaces for parking or driveways that provides for the parking or driving of vehicles per MTMC 19.125.070.

B. “Junk vehicle” is defined as any vehicle, including a recreational vehicle, having at least two of the following characteristics:

1. Is three years old or older;

2. Is extensively damaged or requires repair equal to or in excess of the value of the vehicle;

3. Has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it;

4. Is hazardous or a nuisance due to damage or broken glass or exposure to the elements.

C. “Improved surface” means an area that is covered by a permanent hard surface, including concrete, asphalt, or pavers in accordance with the engineering standards of the Mountlake Terrace Community Development Department, or any combination of materials with pervious features, such as ribbon driveways, that has been permitted by that department as a functionally equivalent hard surface per MTMC 19.125.070.

D. “Inoperative vehicle” is defined as any vehicle or recreational vehicle that may not be operated or towed behind a vehicle on a public roadway due to the condition of the vehicle or the status of the ownership, registration, or license of the vehicle.

E. “Maintained surface” means a surface that consists of gravel contained in a defined area of the property without spilling into the street, sidewalk, or adjoining property and that has no more than 50 percent of its surface area comprised of exposed soil or plant material, unless the surface has otherwise been permitted by the Community Development Department as an improved surface.

F. “Motor vehicle” means any car, truck, van or motorcycle used for the transportation of passengers, but not including recreational vehicles or utility vehicles.

G. Nuisances. A public nuisance shall be defined as a thing, act, omission, condition or use of private property or adjacent public property improved or unimproved, which is created, maintained or allowed to exist that annoys, offends, injures, endangers, or obstructs the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others.

H. “Recreational or utility vehicle” means a vehicular-type unit primarily designed for recreation, camping, travel, or hauling, which has its own motor power or is typically mounted or towed by another vehicle, including but not limited to: motor homes, campers, travel trailers, boats over 14 feet in length, horse trailers, and utility trailers.

I. “Unimproved surface” means a soil and/or planted surface. (Ord. 2452 § 1, 2007; Ord. 2415 § 2, 2006; Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.040 Nuisances prohibited.

No person, persons, firms, or corporation shall erect, contrive, cause, continue, maintain, or permit to exist any public nuisances within the City of Mountlake Terrace. Prohibited public nuisances include, but are not limited to:

A. Vegetation.

1. Vegetation exceeding 12 inches in height (exclusive of plants and flowers within a flower bed or container, shrubbery, or trees) located in any front, back, or side yard, adjacent public right-of-way or planting strip, or any vacant property;

2. Overhanging limbs or branches that are less than eight feet above a public walkway or sidewalk, or less than 14 feet above a public street;

3. Vegetation that obstructs or hinders the use of any public walkway, sidewalk, or street, or that obstructs or obscures the view of traffic or traffic control devices;

4. Dead, decaying or diseased trees or branches that pose a threat of falling onto public property or public right-of-way;

5. Any growth of noxious weeds or any toxic vegetation that impedes or invades public property;

6. Woodpiles that are not properly stacked or accumulations of wood debris, such as branches, that could become a fire hazard or harbor rodents.

B. Buildings, Structures, Fences. Buildings, structures, fences or other constructed objects that are decayed, damaged, or in disrepair to the extent that they pose a threat of collapse, structural failure, or falling onto public property or public right-of-way.

C. Sidewalks.

1. Any protrusion, awning, or overhang that inhibits or obstructs use of a public walkway or sidewalk;

2. Any object, construction, or damage that inhibits or obstructs the surface use of a public walkway or sidewalk;

3. Snow or ice not removed from a public sidewalk within a reasonable time;

4. Accumulations of dirt or debris not removed from a public sidewalk.

D. Unauthorized Signs. All unauthorized signs, signals, markings or devices that are displayed to resemble an official traffic control device.

E. Building and Construction Materials. Accumulations, stacks, or piles of building or construction materials not associated with a current in-progress project including metal, wood, wire, electrical or plumbing materials in disarray or exposed to the elements on the property.

1. Fire Hazards. Stacks or accumulations of newspapers, cardboard, or other paper, clothes, or wood products left in a manner that could pose a substantial risk of combustion or the spread of fire;

2. Toxic or Caustic Substances. Improper storing or keeping of any toxic, flammable, or caustic substances or materials;

3. Smoke, Soot, or Odors. The escaping or emitting of any unnecessary or harmful smoke, soot, fumes, or gases or odors offensive or harmful to persons of ordinary sensibilities;

4. Insect or Vermin Attractions. Creating or maintaining accumulations of matter, including foodstuffs, that harbor or are an attraction for the infestation of insects or vermin or failing to eliminate such infestations.

F. Bodies of Water.

1. Except for City-approved structures connected to storm drainage systems, all stagnant, pooled water in which mosquitoes, flies or other insects may multiply;

2. The polluting of any waterway, wells, or body of water.

G. Garbage, Recyclables, and Compost. In addition to the regulations in Chapter 13.10 MTMC:

1. Garbage not kept in a proper receptacle with a tight-fitting lid;

2. Recyclables not properly stored and regularly disposed of;

3. Compost not kept in a manner to prevent it from attracting infestations of insects or emitting foul odors.

H. Furniture and Appliances.

1. All broken or discarded household furniture, furnishings or equipment, or any appliances not in an approved enclosed structure, in the front, side, or back yard of a property;

2. All accessible refrigeration appliances not having the doors secured or removed, or any enclosure that can entrap humans or animals.

I. Debris and Trash. Accumulations of broken or neglected items, litter, salvage materials, and junk not in an approved enclosed structure, in the front, back, or side yards of the property.

J. Holes, Pits, and Excavations. All uncovered holes, pits, or excavations not marked or guarded.

K. Machinery and Equipment. Broken, inoperable accumulations of, or parts of, machinery or equipment not in an approved enclosed structure, in the front, back, or side yards of the property.

L. Attractive Nuisances. Any accessible attractive nuisance to children including, but not limited to, unattended machinery or equipment, unsecured abandoned or vacant buildings, open and unattended vehicle trunks, or other unguarded conditions or situations that could injure or trap a child.

M. Obstructions within Sight Area Triangles. Any violation set forth in MTMC 19.120.290. (Ord. 2728 § 1, 2018; Ord. 2415 § 3, 2006; Ord. 2389 § 1, 2005; Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.050 Recreational, utility and motor vehicles.

A. Motor vehicle repair, sales, storage or otherwise operating a vehicle-oriented business is prohibited unless all zoning and licensing requirements have been met and conditions maintained.

B. Motor vehicles parked on private property shall meet the following criteria:

1. All motor vehicles that are junk, inoperable or unused for 30 days or more shall be stored inside a fully enclosed structure.

2. Motor vehicles belonging to persons other than a resident may not be stored on a property outside a fully enclosed structure.

3. All motor vehicles shall be parked on an improved surface anywhere on a property, or on a maintained surface per MTMC 19.125.070. No more than two motor vehicles may be parked in the rear yard of a residence unless contained in a legal and fully enclosed structure.

4. Recreational or utility vehicles stored in a front yard shall be parked on an improved surface, or on a maintained surface per MTMC 19.125.070.

5. Recreational vehicles shall not extend onto public property or public right-of-way, or obstruct the view of traffic or traffic control devices.

6. No more than two recreational vehicles may be parked anywhere on a property.

7. Recreational or utility vehicles parked in a side or rear yard may be parked:

a. On an unimproved surface that is mowed and tended to; or

b. On a maintained surface per MTMC 19.125.070; or

c. On an improved surface.

8. Recreational or utility vehicles parked outside of a building shall be maintained in a clean, stable and well-kept state, which means that they shall have none of the following: a broken window, body damage or rust affecting more than 10 percent of the vehicle’s exterior surface excluding the vehicle’s undercarriage or other appearance of substantial disrepair or neglect.

9. Recreational or utility vehicles equipped with liquefied petroleum gas containers shall meet the standards of the Interstate Commerce Commission. Valves or gas containers shall be closed when the vehicle is parked or stored. In the event of leakage, immediate corrective action must be taken.

10. Any vehicle, including a recreational or utility vehicle, parked in a side yard shall be at least three feet away from the structure, and shall allow for at least five feet of clear access on one side or the other between the structure and the property line.

C. All stored vehicles must be maintained in a clean and safe manner.

D. All vehicle parts and accessories including, but not limited to, containers of oils and fluids must be appropriately stored in an approved structure.

E. Repairing of any vehicles on private property is prohibited unless:

1. It is maintenance or repair of a vehicle registered to a resident of the property where the repair is taking place and the repairs may not exceed 30 days; and

2. The repair is not in association with any licensed or unlicensed vehicle-oriented business unless the property is authorized and licensed by the City of Mountlake Terrace for such business; and

3. The repair is conducted in a manner that does not violate noise regulations; and

4. The repair is conducted in a manner so as not to allow any vehicle fluids to saturate the ground or enter any drainage system or body of water.

F. Leaving vehicles unattended on blocks, jacks, ramps or otherwise elevated above the ground is prohibited. (Ord. 2452 § 2, 2007; Ord. 2415 § 4, 2006; Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.060 Nuisance premises.

Any premises or structures allowing or maintaining prostitution, lewd behavior, underage consumption of alcohol, the harboring of juvenile runaways or wanted persons, or where there is the use, sale, manufacturing or distributing of any narcotic or controlled substance, or at which there is a pattern of criminal activity are a prohibited nuisance. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.070 Graffiti.

Graffiti or unauthorized defacement of any surface located on a private property must be removed within 10 days of discovery or notification by the Mountlake Terrace Police Department. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.080 Disabled persons’ parking spaces.

Any place or premises which is required to have designated disabled parking spaces is prohibited from allowing those spaces to be blocked or made inaccessible, or to allow the required markings to be removed or obscured, including by age or lack of maintenance. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.085 Fire lane maintenance/blocking fire lane prohibited.

A. The owner or manager of a property that is required to establish designated fire lanes shall maintain those fire lanes as specified by code. Allowing fire lane signs and/or markings to become altered, removed, or obscured, including by age or lack of maintenance, is prohibited.

B. The owner or manager of a property that is required to establish designated fire lanes shall keep those designated fire lanes free from obstructions including barriers, gates, and/or parked vehicles. Allowing obstructions of marked fire lanes is prohibited. (Ord. 2415 § 5, 2006).

8.15.090 Penalty.

A. Violation of, or failure to comply with, any provision of this chapter is a civil offense subject to a fine which may be set by resolution for the first three consecutive days the violation is maintained or allowed to exist. On the fourth consecutive day that the violation is maintained or allowed to exist, the violation shall constitute a continuing offense subject to the penalties in MTMC 8.15.090(B).

1. Any person or entity cited for violation under MTMC 8.15.090(A) may request an administrative hearing by notifying the Violations Bureau in writing within 15 days of the issuance of the citation. The requested hearing shall be brought before the Hearing Examiner in accordance with and pursuant to Chapter 2.120 MTMC.

B. A continued offense or subsequent violation of the same or like provision committed within a 24-month period shall constitute a misdemeanor crime and shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed $1,000 or 90 days in jail, or both such fine and jail, and shall be in addition to any civil remedy for abatement and collection for the cost and expense thereof. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).

8.15.100 Enforcement.

A. Voluntary Correction. When it has been determined that a violation has occurred or is occurring, the City of Mountlake Terrace may enter into a voluntary correction agreement, which is a contract between the City and the responsible person, under which such person agrees to abate the violation within a specified time and according to specified conditions. The voluntary correction agreement shall include the following:

1. The name and address of the person responsible for the violation; and

2. The street address or other description sufficient for identification of the building, structure, premises, or land upon or within which the violation has occurred or is occurring; and

3. A description of the violation and a reference to the regulation which has been violated; and

4. The necessary corrective action to be taken, and a date or time by which the correction must be completed; and

5. An agreement by the person responsible for the violation that the City may inspect the premises as necessary to determine compliance with the voluntary correction agreement; and

6. A statement of understanding that if the terms of the voluntary correction agreement are not satisfied, that the City may abate the violation and recover its costs and expenses (including attorney fees, expert witness fees, and court costs) from the person responsible for the violation, and/or they may be subject to a monetary penalty; and

7. A statement of understanding that by entering into the voluntary correction agreement, the person responsible for the violation waives the right to a hearing as to the existence of the violation and stipulates to the same. A statement of understanding that an extension of the time limit for correction or a modification of the required corrective action may be granted if the person responsible for the violation has shown due diligence and/or substantial progress in correcting the violation, but unforeseen circumstances delay correction under the original conditions.

B. Notice of Civil Violation. When it is determined that a violation has occurred or is occurring, and the City is unable to secure voluntary correction or a voluntary agreement is not applicable, the City may issue a notice of civil violation, or a “Notice and Order” to the person responsible for the violation. A “Notice and Order” shall include the following:

1. The name and address of the person responsible for that violation; and

2. The street address or description sufficient for identification of the building, structure, premises, or land upon or within which the violation has occurred or is occurring; and

3. A description of the violation and a reference to the provision(s) of the City regulation(s) which has been violated; and

4. The required corrective action and a date and time by which the correction must be completed, after which the City may abate the unlawful condition using all legal means; and

5. A statement that the order may be appealed to the Hearing Examiner upon filing a written request for hearing with the Violations Bureau within 15 days of issuance of the order. Failure to timely file a notice of appeal shall constitute a waiver of the right to appeal the determination of the order. An appeal hearing, timely requested, shall be set before the Hearing Examiner no less than 20 days but no more than 60 days from the date the notice of civil violation is issued, unless such date is continued by the Hearing Examiner for good cause or by agreement of the parties; and

6. A statement indicating that the hearing will be canceled and no monetary penalty will be assessed, other than City costs and expenses, if the required corrective action is completed and approved by the City prior to the hearing; and

7. A statement that the costs and expenses of abatement incurred by the City and a monetary penalty in an amount per day for each violation may be assessed against the person to whom the notice of civil violation is directed as specified and ordered by the court.

Service of the notice to the person responsible for the violation, may be done either personally or by mailing a copy of the notice of civil violation by certified or registered mail, return receipt requested, to such person at their last known address. If the person responsible for the violation cannot be personally served within Snohomish County and if an address for mailed service cannot be ascertained, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the notice of civil violation conspicuously on the affected property or structure. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration under penalty of perjury executed by the person effecting the service, declaring the time and date of service, the manner by which the service was made and, if by posting, the facts showing the attempts to serve the person personally or by mail.

C. Abatement.

1. Urgent Abatement. Whenever a condition, the continued existence of which constitutes an immediate threat to the public health, safety or welfare or to the environment, is found to exist, the City may summarily and without prior notice abate the condition. Notice of such abatement, including the reason for it, shall be given to the person responsible for the violation as soon as reasonably possible after the abatement.

2. Judicial Abatement. The City may seek judicial process, as it deems necessary to abate a condition which was caused by or continues to be a violation of the Mountlake Terrace Municipal Code and other methods of remedial action failed to produce compliance. An Order of Abatement is issued through the appropriate court of jurisdiction.

The costs, including incidental expenses, of correcting the violation shall be billed to the person responsible for the violation and/or the owner, lessor, tenant or other person entitled to control, use and/or control of the property and shall become due and payable to the City within 10 calendar days. The term “incidental expenses” includes but is not limited to personnel costs, both direct and indirect and including attorney’s fees; costs incurred in documenting the violation; hauling, storage and disposal expenses; and actual expenses and costs of the City in preparing notices, specifications and contracts, and in accomplishing and/or contracting and inspecting the work; and the costs of any required printing and mailing. All such costs and expenses shall constitute a lien against the affected property and may be subject to collection following a court judgment.

The lien shall be subordinate to all previously existing special assessment liens imposed on the same property and shall be superior to all other liens, except for state and county taxes, with which it shall be on a parity.

The City of Mountlake Terrace may cause a claim for lien to be filed for record within 90 days from the later of the date that the monetary penalty is due or the date the work is completed or the nuisance abated. The claim of lien shall contain sufficient information regarding the notice of civil violation, a description of the property to be charged with the lien, and the owner of record, and the total of the lien. Any such claim of lien may be amended from time to time to reflect changed conditions.

Any such lien shall bind the affected property for the period as provided for by state law. (Ord. 2292 § 1, 2001).