Chapter 18.140
COMPLIANCE Revised 1/17 Revised 3/18 Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

Sections:

18.140.010    Purpose.

18.140.020    Applicability. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

18.140.023    Innocent Purchasers. Revised 1/17

18.140.025    Enforcement Following Complaint.

18.140.030    Permits, Approvals and Uses. Revised 1/17 Revised 3/18

18.140.040    General Enforcement Provisions. Revised 1/17 Revised 3/18

18.140.050    Penalties. Revised 1/17

18.140.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this Chapter is to establish authority and procedures for compliance with the Pierce County Development Regulations and other regulations as set forth in this Chapter. (Ord. 2010-70s § 10 (part), 2010; 2003-57s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 97-84 § 1 (part), 1997)

18.140.020 Applicability. Amended Ord. 2013-45s4

The provisions of this Chapter shall be applicable to any development, land use or activity on a property taken contrary to any provision of the following regulations:

Title 17A     Construction and Infrastructure Regulations – Site Development and Stormwater Drainage

Title 17B    Construction and Infrastructure Regulations – Road and Bridge Design and Construction Standards

Title 18A    Pierce County Development Regulations – Zoning

Title 18B    Development Regulations – Signs

Title 18D    Development Regulations – Environmental

Title 18E    Development Regulations – Critical Areas

Title 18F    Development Regulations – Land Divisions and Boundary Changes

Title 18H    Development Regulations – Forest Practices

Title 18I    Development Regulations – Natural Resource Lands

Title 18J    Development Regulations – Design Standards and Guidelines

Title 20    Shoreline Management Use Regulations

Such development, activity or use shall be and is hereby declared to be an unlawful public nuisance and subject to the provisions contained within this Chapter. Every owner has a duty to maintain his or her property free of public nuisances and to comply with any written order concerning the removal or abatement of a public nuisance.

(Ord. 2010-70s § 10 (part), 2010; Ord. 2003-57s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 97-84 § 1 (part), 1997)

18.140.023 Innocent Purchasers. Revised 1/17

A.    "Innocent purchaser" is defined in Chapter 18.25 PCC.

B.    The burden of proof of innocence is on the property owner. Evidence that can be used to demonstrate innocence includes, but is not limited to, aerial photography, property tax records, real estate deeds, and real property transfer disclosure statements.

C.    To be considered an "innocent purchaser," the current owner must have purchased the property for fair market value. "Innocent purchaser" does not include acquiring property via inheritance or trusts.

D.    Real Property Transfers before January 1, 2011. The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to development that occurred prior to January 1, 2011, on property purchased by innocent purchasers.

E.    Real Property Transfers on or after January 1, 2011. The provisions of this Chapter shall not apply to development on property purchased by innocent purchasers on or after January 1, 2011, with the following exceptions:

1.    A person will not qualify as an innocent purchaser where Pierce County has recorded a certificate of noncompliance, lis pendens, or other notice of violation regarding the subject property with the County Auditor.

F.    Recognition of unpermitted development which is owned by an innocent purchaser does not imply or establish nonconforming rights under Pierce County Code.

G.    These provisions are not intended to exempt development from complying with the construction standards of Title 17C PCC when the Building Official determines that a structure poses a "life/safety" risk.

H.    These provisions are not intended to exempt development from permitting requirements of State or Federal agencies.

(Ord. 2016-56s § 3 (part), 2016; Ord. 2010-70s § 10 (part), 2010)

18.140.025 Enforcement Following Complaint.

Alleged violations will undergo a detailed review by staff for accuracy and content to ensure against false allegations. No enforcement action will be pursued until such time staff confirms a violation has occurred. (Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 4 (part), 2013)

18.140.030 Permits, Approvals and Uses. Revised 1/17 Revised 3/18

A.    Permits and Approvals. Pierce County regulations require acquisition of permits or approvals before certain activity may be performed. It shall be unlawful to conduct these regulated activities without first obtaining a written permit or approval. When a permit or approval has been issued, it shall be unlawful to act in a manner which is inconsistent with such permit or approval.

B.    Uses. The Development Regulations identify zone classifications and uses allowed in various geographic areas. It shall be unlawful to use property contrary to those zones and use classifications unless such use is considered to be legally nonconforming or otherwise exempt from the Development Regulations.

C.    No Conflicting Licenses or Permits Shall Be Issued. No license, permit, or approval for uses, buildings, or activity where the same would be in conflict with any provision of the Pierce County Development Regulations shall be issued. In the event that conflicting licenses, permits, or approvals are issued, the most restrictive license, permit, or approval shall apply while any license, permit, or approval, if issued in conflict with the provisions hereof, shall be null and void.

D.    Nonconforming Uses. A claim of nonconforming use or development rights must be verified by Pierce County Planning and Public Works through an application for confirmation of legal nonconforming uses or development rights.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2016-56s § 3 (part), 2016; Ord. 2003-57s § 1 (part), 2003; Ord. 97-84 § 1 (part), 1997)

18.140.040 General Enforcement Provisions. Revised 1/17 Revised 3/18

A.    Notice and Orders to Correct, Stop Work Orders or Any Other Written Order.

1.    The County is authorized to issue a Notice and Order to Correct, Stop Work Order, or any other written order when any person, firm, corporation or agent thereof has engaged in any development activity or land use or activity contrary to any provision of the regulations listed in PCC 18.140.020.

2.    The order may be directed to the person, firm, corporation or agent thereof who committed the violation and/or to the owner of the property where the violation occurred.

3.    Notice and Orders to Correct, Stop Work Orders, or any other written orders shall be obeyed upon issuance of the order. Such order shall specify each violation by reference to the specific Title, Chapter, and Section, or by reference to the approved permit. Every written order shall describe the violation and shall order appropriate corrective action(s) to be taken within a specified time period.

4.    Any final written order shall be served by any one or combination of the following methods:

a.    by both first class and certified mail with a return receipt requested to the last known address of the intended recipient, or

b.    by posting the order in a prominent location on the property where the violation occurred, or

c.    by personal service.

5.    A Notice and Order to Correct, Stop Work Order, or other written order may be issued along with other enforcement actions as described in this Chapter.

B.    Additional Enforcement Powers.

1.    The provisions of this subsection are in addition to, and not in lieu of, any other penalty, sanction, or right of action provided by law.

2.    The County may require the owner to remove any unpermitted development and/or restore the property to the pre-development condition.

3.    The County may remove, correct, or replace unpermitted development or portion thereof. All expenses incurred by the County to remove, correct, or replace unpermitted developments on a property must be paid in full prior to the issuance of any additional permits.

4.    The County may record a Notice of Non-Compliance with the Pierce County Auditor against the property on which a violation has taken place. A Notice of Non-Compliance is recorded on the title to notify any interested parties or lenders that a violation exists on the property provided that:

a.    Prior to recording a Notice of Non-Compliance, the County shall provide written notice of intent to record to the owner. Notice shall be delivered either personally or by mailing a copy of such notice by regular first class and certified mail to last known address of the owner. If the owner's address is unknown, the notice shall be mailed to the taxpayer as shown on the Assessor's records.

b.    When any monetary penalty assessed for the violation has been paid and the violation has been remedied to the satisfaction of the County (i.e., final inspections have occurred and final approvals have been granted), the County may record a Notice of Compliance. The owner shall be responsible for paying the cost of recording the Notice of Non-Compliance and the Notice of Compliance before the Notice of Compliance is recorded.

5.    Aerial photography, orthophotos, planimetrics, satellite data or any other aerial surveillance technique shall not be utilized as proactive enforcement tools to initiate enforcement actions by the Planning and Public Works Department in pursuit of compliance with the enforcement provisions of this Chapter.

C.    Appeals. A final decision or written order may be appealed to the Pierce County Hearing Examiner under Chapter 1.22 PCC as an appeal of an administrative order or decision.

(Ord. 2017-12s § 2 (part), 2017; Ord. 2016-56s § 3 (part), 2016; Ord. 2015-25s § 2 (part), 2015; Ord. 2014-42 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2014-4s § 2 (part), 2014; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 4 (part), 2013; Ord. 2010-70s § 10 (part), 2010; Ord. 2009-18s3 § 1 (part), 2009; Ord. 2004-58s § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 99-86 § 2, 1999; Ord. 97-84 § 1 (part), 1997)

18.140.050 Penalties. Revised 1/17

The purpose of penalty provisions is to discourage violations of existing codes and regulations and to provide a mechanism to obtain redress for ecological, recreational, and economic values lost or damaged due to any unlawful actions.

A.    Civil Infractions. Acts which are designated as civil infractions under this Code shall be prosecuted in accordance with Chapter 1.16 PCC. The designation of an act as a civil infraction shall not preclude the use of any other civil remedies provided in this Code or under State law. Violations of the following regulations are classified as Class 1 civil infractions:

1.    PCC 18A.37.060, "Animals."

2.    PCC 18A.37.070, "Motor Tracks."

3.    PCC 18A.37.110, "Home Occupation."

4.    PCC 18A.38.050 E., "Temporary Occupancy of Recreational Vehicle, Travel Trailer or Tent."

5.    PCC 18A.38.050 F., "Temporary Storage in Cargo Containers."

6.    PCC 18A.42.040, "Adult Magazine Sales as a Secondary Use."

7.    Title 18B PCC, "Development Regulations – Signs."

B.    Civil Penalty. The provisions of this subsection are in addition to and not in lieu of any other penalty, sanction, or right of action provided by law. Any person who fails to comply with the Development Regulations listed in PCC 18.140.020 and/or any person who fails to comply with a final written order may be assessed a civil penalty as follows:

1.    The Director may assess the violator a civil penalty not to exceed $1,000.00 for each violation.

2.    Each violation or each day of continued unlawful activity shall constitute a separate violation. Each day that a person fails to comply with the terms of a final written order shall constitute a separate violation.

3.    Any person who, through an act of commission or omission, aids in a violation shall be considered to have committed the violation for purposes of the civil penalty.

4.    The Director shall impose the penalty provided for in this Section by sending written notice, either by certified mail with return receipt requested or by personal service, to the person incurring the penalty. Such written notice shall describe the violation with reasonable particularity and shall order appropriate corrective action(s) to be taken within a specified time period.

5.    If the penalty is not appealed, the violator will have up to 30 days after receipt of notice to pay the penalty.

6.    Any violation of the Hearing Examiner Conditions that exceeds the requirements for a Minor Amendment as set forth in PCC 18.130.020 A. shall pay a penalty in the amount of one-half the cost of the original Land Use Application fee. This penalty may not be applied toward application fees.

7.    The payment of a civil penalty for any violation shall not excuse the violation or allow it to continue.

8.    Appeal of a civil penalty. See PCC 18.140.040 C.

C.    Misdemeanor. Except as provided in subsection A, it shall be a misdemeanor for any person, firm, corporation, or association or any agent of any person, firm, corporation, or association to knowingly perform any act in violation of any of the provisions of the regulations listed in PCC 18.140.020, or to knowingly fail to comply with the terms of a final written order after being served with a copy of the order. Service of the order shall be by any one or combination of the methods listed in PCC 18.140.040 A.4.

A misdemeanor under this Code shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000.00 or by imprisonment of not more than 90 days, or both.

The imposition of a penalty for any violation shall not excuse the violation or allow it to continue.

Each person found guilty of a misdemeanor shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of this Code is committed, continued, or permitted by such person.

D.    Gross Misdemeanor. It shall be a gross misdemeanor for any person, firm, corporation, or association or any agent of any person, firm, corporation, or association to violate any provision of this Title:

1.    Relating to the sale, offer for sale, lease or transfer of any lot, tract, or parcel of land in violation of State or local subdivision laws and/or regulations.

2.    Any person found to have willfully engaged in activities on the shorelines of the state in violation of the provisions of this Title and/or the Shoreline Management Regulations, or who knowingly fails to comply with a written order regarding regulated activities on the shorelines of the state after being served with a copy of the order, shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor pursuant to the provisions set forth in RCW 90.58.220. Service of the order shall be by any one or combination of the methods listed in PCC 18A.140.040 A.4.

E.    Each Day a Separate Offense-Injunction. Each person, firm, or corporation found guilty of a violation shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for every day during any portion of which any violation of any provision of the regulations listed in PCC 18.140.020 is committed, continued, or permitted by such person, firm, or corporation and shall be punishable therefore as provided for in this Chapter; and any development, activity, use, occupation, building, or structure maintained contrary to the provisions hereof shall constitute a public nuisance and may be enjoined as provided by law.

F.    Additional Penalties.

1.    Failure to comply with any provision of the regulations listed in PCC 18.140.020 will be cause for withholding or withdrawing approval of the overall project plans, suspension or denial of any permit applications, revocation of approvals or permits, suspension of building inspections, forfeiture of the financial guarantee submitted as part of an application to the County, and/or nonacceptance of the work by the County.

2.    Any person who violates any provision of the Shoreline Management Regulations shall also be subject to additional penalties as set forth in RCW 90.58.210 and .230.

G.    Recovery of Costs Incurred by the County.

1.    Any person who discharges or causes a discharge which violates the County's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit and/or produces a deposit or obstruction or causes damage to or impairs the County's stormwater disposal system or causes damage to physical, chemical, or biological systems of waters of the State or waters of the United States shall be liable to the County for any expense, loss or damage caused by such violation or discharge, including the costs for bringing the County back into compliance with its NPDES permit associated with the violation of these regulations, and any fine levied for the violation of the County's NPDES permit.

2.    Any person violating any of the regulations listed in PCC 18.140.020 shall be liable to the County for any expense, loss or damage caused by such violation including the costs to the County for bringing the property back into compliance.

3.    If a citizen submits more than three complaints within any two-year period which contain erroneous information or false allegations as determined by the Director, a Site Reconnaissance fee shall be required prior to investigation of each subsequent complaint that is filed. If the compliant is deemed to be a legitimate Code infraction, the fee shall be refunded.

4.    A bill issued by the Director for collection of costs incurred under this subsection may be appealed to the Pierce County Hearing Examiner within 14 days of the date of the bill pursuant to PCC 1.22.090, Appeals of Administrative Decisions to the Examiner.

(Ord. 2016-56s § 3 (part), 2016; Ord. 2016-33 § 2 (part), 2016; Ord. 2016-14s § 1 (part), 2016; Ord. 2015-34s § 1 (part), 2015; Ord. 2014-42 § 1 (part), 2014; Ord. 2014-4s § 2 (part), 2014; Ord. 2013-85 § 1 (part), 2013; Ord. 2013-30s2 § 4 (part), 2013; Ord. 2010-70s § 10 (part), 2010; Ord. 2009-18s3 § 1 (part), 2009; Ord. 2007-85s § 1 (part), 2007; Ord. 2004-58s § 1 (part), 2004; Ord. 97-84 § 1 (part), 1997)