Chapter 8.26
PUBLIC NUISANCES

Sections:

8.26.010    Public nuisance defined.

8.26.020    Permitting and maintaining a nuisance.

8.26.030    Abatement order.

8.26.040    Failure to abate—Violation.

8.26.050    Nuisances requiring immediate abatement by city.

8.26.060    Abatement by city—Safeguards.

8.26.070    Abatement costs—Liability.

8.26.080    Appeals.

8.26.090    Hearing.

8.26.100    Decision.

8.26.110    Conflict of interest.

8.26.120    Summary determination.

8.26.130    Review by county superior court.

8.26.140    Perjury and obstruction—Violation.

8.26.160    Violation—Penalty—Abatement.

8.26.010 Public nuisance defined.

A.    Every act unlawfully done and every omission to perform a duty, which act or omission does any of the following, shall constitute a public nuisance:

1.    Annoys, injures, or endangers the safety, health, comfort, repose, or life of the citizens of the city; or

2.    Offends public decency; or

3.    Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs, or tends to obstruct, or renders dangerous for passage, a public park, street, alley, highway, or other public area; or

4.    In any way renders any citizens of the city insecure in life or use of property.

B.    The following acts, in addition to any others in violation of subsection A of this section, shall constitute a public nuisance:

1.    Erecting, continuing, or using any building, room, property, or other place in the city for the exercise of any trade, employment, or manufacture which results in offensive odors or other annoyances being released, and which annoys, injures, or is offensive or detrimental to the health of the individuals there employed or residing, or to the public;

2.    Burning of refuse or other material in such a manner as to cause or permit the smoke, ashes, soot, or gases arising from such burning to become discomforting or annoying, or to injure or endanger the health of any person or neighborhood;

3.    Any building, house, room, or other structure, vehicle, or place maintained or used for the purpose of lewdness, assignation, or prostitution;

4.    All houses, rooms, booths, or other structures used as a place or resort where disorderly persons are allowed to congregate, or in which drunkenness, or the unlawful use or sale of drugs, is carried on or permitted;

5.    Any pit, basin, hole, or other excavation which is unguarded and dangerous to life, or which has been abandoned, or is no longer used for the purpose for which it was constructed, or is maintained contrary to law;

6.    All obstructions to streets, rights-of-way, or other public ways of the city, and all excavations in or under the same, which are by ordinance prohibited, or which may be made without lawful permission, or which, having been made by lawful permission, are kept and maintained after the purpose thereof has been accomplished, or for an unreasonable length of time;

7.    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, but not limited to, the following conditions or things:

a.    Any unsound, putrid, or unwholesome bone, meat, hides, skin, or the whole or parts of any dead animal or fish, or any unsound, putrid, or unwholesome substance; or the offal, garbage, or other offensive parts of any animals; or any noxious, offensive, dangerous or otherwise injurious chemicals or other materials such as oil, grease, poisons, explosives, radioactive materials, and other similar substances in such a manner as to be offensive or injurious to public health, or unpleasant or disagreeable to the adjacent residences or persons,

b.    Any cellar, vault, drain, sewer, or septic tank to become, from any cause, noxious, foul, offensive, or injurious to public health, or unpleasant or disagreeable to the adjacent residences or persons,

c.    Any noxious, foul, or putrid liquid or substances, including but not limited to any privy contents, drainage from buildings, the effluent from any sewerage treatment device, or any kitchen or laundry wastewater, or any liquid or substance likely to become noxious, foul, offensive, or putrid, to be discharged, placed, or thrown upon, or to flow from or out of, any premises into, or upon, any adjacent premises, or any public street or alley, or to stand, remain, or be upon any premises;

8.    All premises, buildings and vehicles whereon or wherein intoxicating liquor or drugs are manufactured, sold, bartered, exchanged, given away, furnished, disposed of, consumed, or permitted to be consumed, in violation of the laws of the state and the ordinances of the city;

9.    All vacant, unused, or unoccupied buildings and structures within the city, which are allowed to become or remain open to entrance by unauthorized persons, or the general public, because of broken, missing, or open doors, windows, or other openings, so that the same may be used by vagrants or other persons in a manner detrimental to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the city;

10.    Any refrigerator, icebox or deep-freeze locker, or any other container manufactured, custom-made or homemade designed for storage which is discarded, abandoned or left in any place accessible to children and which has not had the door or latching mechanism removed to prevent the latching or locking of the door;

11.    All buildings, or parts thereof, or other structures, wherein any gambling, as defined by RCW 9.46.020, may be found, and any gambling device, as defined by RCW 9.46.020, may be found, except as licensed and within the scope of the license required under state law, and which complies with local law;

12.    Spitting upon the floors or walls of a public building or buildings used for public assemblage, or of a building used for manufacture or industrial purposes;

13.    The depositing or allowing of irrigation or other water to run by any street, alley, or other public place, in such manner as to cause settling or damage to the street, alley, or other public place, or to cause annoyance, damage, or hazard to any user of the street, alley, or other public place,

14.    Any privy, cesspool, septic tank, or other receptacle for human excrement which shall be constructed, maintained or used so that flies have or may have access to the excrementitious matter contained therein;

15.    The allowing of the contents of privies, cesspools, septic tanks, or other receptacles for human excrement to be placed upon the surface of the ground or be used for fertilizing purposes for crops, gardens, or for other reasons;

16.    Any privy, urinal, toilet, or other receptacle for human excrement allowed to be constructed, maintained or used in any room, or have direct connection with any room, wherein any kind of exposed foods or foodstuffs are prepared, stored or handled for sale;

17.    Any violation of Section 8.16.010 relating to posting bills on public property;

18.    Throwing, depositing, exposing, or causing to be disposed of, in any street or other public place within the city, any garbage, waste, refuse, litter, debris, or other deleterious, unlawful or unreasonable materials or articles, unless disposal of such items in such place is specifically authorized by law, or causing or allowing garbage, waste, refuse, litter, debris, or other deleterious, unlawful or unreasonable materials or articles, to be collected, deposited, remain, or unreasonably accumulate in any place in the city, unless otherwise permitted by law. For purposes of this section, garbage, waste, refuse, litter, debris, or other deleterious, unlawful or unreasonable materials or articles may include, but not be limited to, bottles, cans, glass, ashes, pieces of scrap iron or other metal or plastic or vinyl, wire, metal or plastic or vinyl articles, used aluminum or plastic containers, broken stone or cement, broken crockery, broken glass, broken plaster or sheetrock, barrels, boxes, rags, crates, packing cases, mattresses, bedding, packing material, lumber not neatly piled, scrap lumber, scrap building material, vehicle parts, junk or hulk vehicles, tires, wheels, broken or unused furniture, appliances, or plumbing fixtures. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.020 Permitting and maintaining a nuisance.

It is unlawful for any person, by himself or by his agents or employees, or as the agent or employee of another person, firm or corporation, to do, or permit to be done, upon any premises over which he has control, or to maintain, carry on, suffer, or allow, at any place or places mentioned in this chapter, any of the acts or things declared to be nuisances in this chapter; or to do or cause or permit, or suffer to be done, or to maintain, any act or thing which is detrimental or injurious to public health, or offensive to the senses, or contrary to public decency or morality. If the owner or agent of any premises has actual or constructive knowledge of the maintenance on or in his premises of any nuisance, as defined in this chapter, he shall be deemed one of the persons in control of the premises. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.030 Abatement order.

A.    Upon the discovery of a nuisance, the chief of police or other proper officer or official of the city, including the city attorney, may order the owner or other person creating, keeping, maintaining or permitting the same to abate it, and in default thereof to undertake the abatement on behalf of the city. At least ten business days before he commences abatement, save in those cases of immediate necessity, the officer shall notify the person creating, keeping, maintaining or permitting the nuisance, the property owner and any person in possession of the property, if known, of his intentions. The notice shall be served personally or by registered mail, return receipt requested, and shall describe with particularity the nature of the violation, the sections of this code or other law which are being violated and specifying a reasonable time within which the abatement must be accomplished. Such an order is subject to review in accordance with this chapter.

B.    In addition to such other penalties as may be imposed, a court entering a judgment of guilty to a charge of creating a public nuisance may order the abatement of the same on such terms and conditions as may be just and equitable. (Ord. 1622 § 1, 1993; Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.040 Failure to abate—Violation.

Any person creating, keeping, or maintaining any nuisance, or permitting, allowing, or suffering any nuisance to be maintained, who neglects or fails to abate or remove the nuisance within twenty-four hours next after so creating, keeping, or maintaining the nuisance, or permitting, allowing, or suffering the same to be maintained, shall, for each twenty-four hours thereafter during which the nuisance is continued, be guilty of a separate violation of maintaining a public nuisance. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.050 Nuisances requiring immediate abatement by city.

Whenever any nuisance is within a public way or easement; or of such a character and so situated that it can be abated without the invasion or destruction of property or the prejudice of any right, and the further continuance is likely to result in expense to the city or injury to any person or property, the result of police or other proper officer or official of the city may abate and remove the nuisance summarily. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.060 Abatement by city—Safeguards.

In any case where a nuisance is to be abated by the chief of police or other proper officer or official it shall be the duty of such officer to proceed with due care and without unnecessary destruction of property. He shall in all cases be authorized to employ such assistance and adopt such means as may be necessary in his discretion to effect the entire abatement of the nuisance. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.070 Abatement costs—Liability.

Every person, firm, or corporation maintaining a nuisance, or permitting, allowing, or suffering a nuisance to be maintained, as prohibited by this chapter or otherwise, shall be liable for all costs and expenses, including an adminstrative fee of one hundred fifty dollars, for abating the same when the nuisance has been abated by any officer or official of the city. The costs and expenses, including the adminstrative fee of one hundred fifty dollars, may be assessed as part of any prosecution against the party liable and may be recovered as other costs are recovered after they have been assessed. In all cases where the chief of police, or other officer or official, abates any nuisance he shall keep an account of all expenses attending such abatement and, in addition to other powers given in this chapter, to collect such other costs and expenses, may forthwith bring suit for recovery of the costs in any court of competent jurisdiction, in the name of the city, against the person maintaining, keeping, creating, or permitting, allowing, or suffering the nuisance abated, and, upon the collection of the costs of such suit, he shall pay the same to the city treasurer. The provisions of this chapter relative to the abatement of nuisances are not exclusive, and all other rights or remedies of the city, or any citizen thereof, relative to abatement of nuisances, are declared to remain in full force and effect. (Ord. 1622 § 2, 1993: Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.080 Appeals.

A.    An order of abatement is subject to review by the city council. The council will meet as necessary to hear such appeals. No review is possible except pursuant to this chapter.

B.    Petitions for appeal must be made in writing to the city clerk within ten business days of personal service or mailing of the order sought to be appealed, whichever is the shorter period. The petition must set out the action or decision appealed and the error claimed to have been made. The city clerk will refer to the council to determine a date for hearing, and give reasonable notice to the petitioner. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.090 Hearing.

At the hearing the council will take relevant testimony and receive evidence relevant to the issues raised. The council may adjourn from time to time and require additional information of the parties. All witnesses must be sworn by the clerk and a recording will be made of the proceedings and be retained for one year. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.100 Decision.

The council will render a decision in writing as soon as reasonably practical. A majority present must concur in any modification or reversal of the action or decision appealed. The decision will set out facts as determined, any applicable law, rule or regulation relied on, and the decision or action appealed. The council may affirm, modify, reverse or return with directions, the action or decision appealed. The council’s decision is final. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.110 Conflict of interest.

No member of the council may be personally interested in the outcome of the decision. Challenges to a member must be made prior to the date of hearing. The removal of a member or members for bias does not preclude the remaining member or members from hearing a case. If all members are removed for bias, the council will appoint a special commission to hear the appeal. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.120 Summary determination.

If the petitioner and the chief of police or other officer or official of the city agree upon the facts but not upon the proper policy or application of the law to which error is claimed, the action or decision may be reviewed by the mayor or city attorney upon written facts. Their written decisions are final. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.130 Review by county superior court.

Any person aggrieved by a final decision may petition the superior court of Benton County within thirty days of the date of the decision, for such relief as he may be entitled. No review is possible of a final decision except by appropriate review by the superior court of Benton County. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.140 Perjury and obstruction—Violation.

Any person knowingly giving false testimony or evidence before the council is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and any person obstructing or hindering the council, mayor, or city attorney in the performance of their duties under this chapter is guilty of a misdemeanor. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).

8.26.160 Violation—Penalty—Abatement.

Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction is subject to a fine of one thousand dollars or imprisonment for one year, or to both such fine and imprisonment. Each day during any portion of which such violation occurs shall constitute a separate offense.

In addition to any fine or imprisonment, or both, that may be imposed for such violation, the violation may be ordered abated, and all property which is used in such violation disposed of or destroyed, all at the cost of the defendant, which cost shall be a lien upon the property of the defendant, and recovery shall be in the name of the city of Prosser of the amount of cost of abatement and of enforcement, including attorney’s fees. (Ord. 1459 § 1 (part), 1990).