Chapter 8.26


8.26.010    Definitions.

8.26.020    Public nuisance defined.

8.26.030    Nuisance defined.

8.26.040    Prohibited conduct.

8.26.050    Enforcement—Abatement.

8.26.060    Correction by owner or other responsible person.

8.26.010 Definitions.

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

(a)    “Boarded-up building” means any building with at least twenty-five percent of exterior openings closed by extrinsic devices or some other manner designed or calculated to be permanent, giving the building the appearance of nonoccupancy or non-use for an indefinite period of time.

(b)    “Correct” means to abate, repair, replace, remove, destroy or otherwise remedy the condition in question by such means and in such a manner and to such extent as the enforcement officer, in his judgment, determines is necessary in the interest of the general health, safety and welfare of the community.

(c)    “Code enforcement officer” means the mayor’s designee.

(d)    “Health officer” means the Adams County health officer or his or her designee.

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

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

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

(h)    “Membrane” means a tarpaulin, banner, fabric, or other sheeting, made of cloth, plastic, vinyl, paper or other similar material.

(i)    “Criminal street gang” is defined in RCW 9.94A.030(12) as now enacted or hereafter amended.

(j)    “Pattern of criminal street gang activity” is defined in RCW 9.94A.030(36) as now enacted or hereafter amended. (Ord. 1306 § 1 (part), 2009).

8.26.020 Public nuisance defined.

A public nuisance is any thing, act, failure to act, occupation or use of property which:

(a)    Annoys, injures, or endangers the safety, health, comfort, or repose of one or more persons.

(b)    Offends public decency.

(c)    Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs, tends to obstruct, or renders dangerous for passage, a public park, street, sidewalk, alley, highway, or other public area.

(d)    In any way renders one or more persons insecure in life or the use of property. (Ord. 1306 § 1 (part), 2009).

8.26.030 Nuisance defined.

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

(a)    The existence of any trash, dirt, filth, and carcass of any animal, waste shrubs, accumulation of lawn or yard trimmings or other offensive matter.

(b)    Defective or overflowing septic or sewage systems, and the existence of any noxious, foul, or putrid liquid or substance which poses a health hazard or creates a noxious odor.

(c)    Any man-caused pool of standing or stagnant water, except storm drainage systems, which serves as a breeding area for insects.

(d)    Accumulation of garbage, decaying vegetation, manure, dead animals, or other noxious things in a street or alley, or on public or private property to an extent injurious to the public health as determined by the health officer.

(e)    All other acts, failure to act, occupations, or use of property which is determined by the health officer to be a menace to the health of the public.

(f)    All limbs of trees which are less than seven feet above the surface of any public sidewalk, or twelve feet above the surface of any street.

(g)    All buildings, other structures, or portions thereof which have been damaged by fire, decay, neglect, or have otherwise deteriorated or become dilapidated so as to endanger the safety of the public.

(h)    All explosives, flammable liquids, and other dangerous substances stored or used in any manner in violation of the International Fire Code.

(i)    The keeping or harboring of any dog, fowl, or other animal which by frequent or habitual howling, yelping, barking, crowing, or in the making of other noises, annoys or disturbs the public, or the habitual allowing of dogs kept at any one address to run at large in violation of Chapter 6.04, Animal Control.

(j)    Making or causing to be made by any means whatsoever any noise of any kind which is a violation of Chapter 5.38, Noise Control.

(k)    The frequent, repetitive, or continuous sound made by any secured, unsecured, or deteriorated membrane or sheet metal, being moved by the wind or other source, which unreasonably interferes with the peace, comfort and repose of adjacent property owners or possessors.

(l)    Dumping, throwing, placing, leaving or causing or permitting to be dumped, thrown, placed or left, any filth, paper, cans, glass, rubbish, trash, garbage, grass trimmings, shrub trimmings, and shrubbery of any kind, in or upon any street, alley, sidewalk, ditch, easement, or public or private property of another in the city.

(m)    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 city, any one or more of the following disorderly, disturbing, unsanitary, fly-producing, rat-harboring, disease-causing places, conditions or things:

(1)    Any putrid, unhealthy or unwholesome bones, meat, hides, skins, or 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.

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

(3)    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.

(4)    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 city.

(5)    Any poison oak or poison ivy, Russian thistle or other noxious weeds, as defined by this code, whether growing or otherwise; but nothing herein shall prevent the temporary retention of such weeds in approved covered receptacles.

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

(7)    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.

(n)    The permitting to remain outside any dwelling, building, or other structure, or within any unoccupied or abandoned building, dwelling, or other structure, in a place accessible to children, any abandoned, unattended, or discarded ice chest, refrigerator or other airtight container, which does not have the door, lid or other locking device removed.

(o)    Any pit, hole, basin or excavation which is unguarded or dangerous to life or has been abandoned, or is no longer used for the purpose constructed, or is maintained contrary to statutes, ordinances, or regulations.

(p)    Any well or storage tank permitted to remain on any public or private property without being securely closed or barring any entrance or trap door thereto, or without filling or capping any well.

(q)    The repair or abandonment of any automobile, truck, or other motor vehicle of any kind upon the public streets or alleys of the city.

(r)    The keeping or permitting the existence of any bees or other insects, reptiles, rodents, fowl, or any other animals, domestic or wild, in any manner contrary to law, or which affect the safety of the public.

(s)    The existence of any fence, other structure, or thing on private or public property abutting or fronting upon any public street, sidewalk, or place, which is sagging, leaning, fallen, decayed or is otherwise dilapidated and creating an unsafe condition.

(t)    The existence of any structure, improvement, vehicle, item of personal property, vine, shrub, or plant growing on, around, or in front of any fire hydrant, utility pole, utility box, or any other appliance or facility provided for fire protection, public or private utility purposes in such a way as to obscure from view or impair access thereto. Specifically, all such things shall be five feet or more from a fire hydrant and two feet from any utility pole or utility box.

(u)    Except for any designated public park land, natural area, or environmentally sensitive area, or any undeveloped parcels of land not adjacent to developed areas or which are used for agricultural purposes, all grasses, weeds, or other vegetation growing or which has grown and died, which is determined to be a fire or safety hazard or a nuisance to persons, shall not exceed twelve inches in height measured above the ground.

(1)    The above exception may be waived and additional maintenance required by the code enforcement officer if he determines such action is necessary to protect the safety of persons or adjoining property.

(2)    All maintenance shall be done in a manner so that soil stability will not be disrupted or disturbed. Grass, weed, or vegetation control shall not include plowing, discing, or scraping the soil to eliminate the grasses, weeds, or other vegetation unless a soil stabilization plan, which will minimize blowing dust and maintain soil stability and which shall be approved by the city prior to any plowing, discing, or scraping, is implemented immediately.

(v)    The existence of any dead, diseased, infected, or dying tree, shrub, or other vegetation which may pose a danger to vegetation, crops, property, or persons.

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

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

(y)    The storage or keeping on any premises for more than thirty days of any used or unused building materials as defined in Section 8.26.010(f), whose retail cost new would exceed one hundred dollars, without a special permit from the building official; provided, that nothing herein shall:

(1)    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.

(2)    Prohibit such storage without a permit upon 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 laws.

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

(z)    The existence on any premises of any unused and abandoned trailer, house trailer, automobile, boat or other vehicle or major parts thereof.

(aa)     The keeping or maintenance in any area on private property which is clearly visible from a public street, sidewalk, park or other public area any accumulation, collection or untidy storage of any of the following: old appliances or parts thereof; old iron, steel, aluminum or other metal; inoperable vehicles, vehicle parts, machinery or equipment; mattresses, bedding, clothing, rags or cloth; straw, packing materials, cardboard or paper, tin cans, wire, bottles, glass, cans, barrels, bins, boxes, containers, ashes, plaster or cement; or wood. This determination shall not apply to conditions completely enclosed within a building or fencing so as not to be visible from public property.

(bb)     The keeping, permitting or harboring of any fowl, pigeons, rabbits, hoofed or cloven-footed animals, except for caged birds kept within a residence or business.

(cc)     The depositing of any debris, vegetation, lawn clippings, lumber piles, wood piles, auto parts or bodies, garbage and the like, or storing of any material of any kind; provided, that in residential zones that shall include garbage cans or refuse containers in the alleys of the city, except on garbage pickup day.

(dd)     The existence of graffiti, which is defined as a defacing, damaging, or destructive inscription, figure or design painted, drawn or the like, on the exterior of any building, fence, gate, or other structures or on rocks, bridges, trees, or other real or personal property.

(ee)     The locating of automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, trailers, boats, or any other vehicles, vessels, or the like for the purpose of advertising its sale on property located in any commercial or industrial zone not owned by the seller.

(ff)     The permitting of any condition or situation where the soil has been disrupted, disturbed, or destabilized so as to allow blowing dust to exist.

(gg)     The existence on any premises of any unsecured, unused, or abandoned building or structures.

(hh)     For any building, the existence of any broken glass in windows or doors for more than thirty days.

(ii)     Buildings or portions thereof that have faulty weather protection, such as openings in walls and roofs. Faulty weather protection shall include temporary weather barriers, such as tarps, plastic or similar material, left in place for more than thirty days.

(jj)     Any building which has a window, door, or other exterior opening closed by extrinsic devices or some other manner, with material that has not been painted to match or complement the building’s exterior or remains boarded up for more than sixty days.

(kk)     Any boarded-up building that remains boarded up for more than ninety days.

(ll)     Permitting any violation of RCW 59.18.510 in any rental dwelling unit.

(mm)     Criminal street gangs and any pattern of criminal street gang activity are each declared to be a public nuisance in violation of this chapter and other applicable code provisions, including but not limited to the Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings and Uniform Housing Code, subject to abatement through all available means. In addition thereto and without limitation, any pattern of criminal street gang activity upon, and the presence and use of property by, a criminal street gang, with the owner’s knowledge or consent, constitutes a public nuisance and grounds for revocation of any permit or license regulating or authorizing the use of such property.

(nn)     The obstruction of the public right-of-way or any public utility easement by means of any structure, improvement, vehicle, item of personal property, planting, vine or any other device or configuration of the topography to encroach within five feet of the back of a curb intended for use as a sidewalk, obstruct the width of an alley, or block the visibility triangle at the junction of two or more rights-of-way or at driveways. (Ord. 1306 § 1 (part), 2009).

8.26.040 Prohibited conduct.

(a)    It is unlawful for any responsible person or owner to permit, maintain, suffer, carry on, or allow, upon any premises or in any lake, river, stream, drainage way or wetlands, any of the acts or things declared by this chapter to be a public nuisance.

(b)    It is unlawful for any person to create, maintain, carry on or do any other acts or things declared by this chapter to be a public nuisance. (Ord. 1306 § 1 (part), 2009).

8.26.050 Enforcement—Abatement.

The code enforcement officer, to be designated by the mayor, having determined that a public nuisance exists, shall issue a notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity as provided in Chapter 1.20. All provisions of Chapter 1.20 apply to enforcement of this chapter. (Ord. 1465 § 4, 2016: Ord. 1306 § 1 (part), 2009).

8.26.060 Correction by owner or other responsible person.

If and when an owner or other responsible person shall undertake action to correct any condition described in this chapter, whether by order of the code enforcement officer or otherwise, all necessary and legal conditions pertinent to the correction may be imposed by the code 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 permits or approvals to do any work incidental to the correction. (Ord. 1306 § 1 (part), 2009).