Chapter 10.06


10.06.010    Purpose.

10.06.020    Definitions.

10.06.030    Storage – Unlawful.

10.06.040    Vehicles as a public nuisance.

10.06.050    Abatement and removal of public nuisance vehicles.

10.06.060    Removal of vehicle due to expired registration.

10.06.010 Purpose.

It is the purpose of this chapter to:

A. Establish procedures for the abatement and removal of inoperable and junk vehicles and parts thereof as public nuisances pursuant to RCW 46.56.230 through 46.56.240;

B. Decrease the likelihood of criminal conduct associated with inoperable and junk vehicles;

C. Enhance the aesthetic qualities of Richland;

D. Conserve and stabilize property values;

E. Reduce the inherent public health and safety problems associated with inoperable and junk vehicles;

F. Prevent overcrowding of land; and

G. Secure safety from fire and provide adequate open spaces for light and air. [Ord. 19-12 § 3].

10.06.020 Definitions.

“Inoperable motorized vehicle” means any car, truck, van, recreational vehicle, motorcycle, snowmobile or other vehicle typically powered by an engine, excepting watercraft, that has been in a stationary position for more than 14 calendar days, is apparently inoperable or requires repairs in order to be operable, or is unable to move a distance of 20 feet under its own power on a flat surface. “Inoperable motorized vehicle” may include vehicles that do not meet the definition of “junk vehicle.”

“Junk vehicle” is a vehicle or portion thereof that meets three or more of the following criteria:

A. Three years old or older;

B. Extensively damaged, such damage including but not limited to any of the following: broken window or windshield; or missing wheels, tires, motor, or transmission;

C. Apparently inoperable;

D. Without a valid current registration or license;

E. Equal in value only to the fair market value of the scrap/parts in it. [Ord. 19-12 § 3].

10.06.030 Storage – Unlawful.

A. It is unlawful for any person, or corporation, to place or keep an inoperable motorized vehicle or junk vehicle, or portion thereof, upon any private or public property within the city of Richland or as owner, occupant, or party in control of any real property within the city to permit or allow any such automobile or portion thereof to be placed or kept upon such property unless:

1. The vehicle or part thereof is completely enclosed within a building or behind a 100 percent sight-obscuring fence, in a manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property. Visibility of the vehicle shall mean as viewed from street level as determined by the street in front of the subject property; or

2. The vehicle or part thereof is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed automobile dismantler or dealer, and the property is fenced according to the provisions of RCW 46.80.130.

B. Any vehicle that is deemed by the city manager, chief of police or a designated official to be a junk vehicle must be abated or removed in accordance with this chapter by the vehicle owner and/or property owner within 10 days of the receipt of notice from the chief of police or a designated official that the vehicle has been so designated as a junk vehicle. [Ord. 19-12 § 3].

10.06.040 Vehicles as a public nuisance.

A. An inoperable motorized vehicle will be considered a public nuisance unless contained entirely within an enclosed building. It is provided, however, that one inoperable motorized vehicle may be allowed on residential property, outside of an enclosed building, if it is stored in the rear yard of the property and screened from the neighboring properties and any street by a 100 percent sight-obstructing fence.

It is further provided that in the agricultural zone more than one inoperable vehicle may be allowed outside of a building, so long as the property on which the inoperable motorized vehicles are located consists of at least one acre of property per inoperable motorized vehicle; provided, that in no case shall there be more than five inoperable vehicles outside of buildings on any size of property.

B. All junk vehicles certified as such by a law enforcement officer or code enforcement officer designated by the director according to RCW 46.55.230 and the Richland Municipal Code and found on private and 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 or place a junk vehicle on any premises. As a public nuisance, these shall be abated and removed in accordance with the provisions of this section as hereinafter set forth. [Ord. 19-12 § 3].

10.06.050 Abatement and removal of public nuisance vehicles.

A. Cost of abatement and removal of such vehicle may be assessed against the last registered owner of the nuisance vehicle if the identity of such owner can be determined unless such owner in the transfer of ownership of such vehicle or automobile hulk has complied with RCW 46.12.101, or the costs may be assessed against the owner of the real property on which the vehicle is stored and shall constitute a lien thereon.

B. Before the abatement or removal of such nuisance vehicle, notice shall be given to the last registered owner thereof of record and the real property owner of record that a public hearing may be requested before the code enforcement board, and if no hearing is requested within 10 days, the nuisance vehicle will be removed and abated and the costs thereof assessed in accordance with this section.

C. If a request for hearing is received by the city, a notice giving the time, location and date of such hearing on the question of the abatement and removal of such vehicle as a public nuisance shall be mailed by certified or registered mail, with a five-day return requested, to the owner of the real property as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the last registered and legal owner of record of such nuisance vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

D. The applicant for hearing may appear in person at such hearing, or present a written statement in time for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the nuisance vehicle on the land with his reasons for such denial. If it is determined at the hearing that the nuisance vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner, and that he has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the city shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the nuisance vehicle against the real property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect such costs from the landowner.

E. Upon determination by the code enforcement board that a public nuisance vehicle located on private property is to be abated by the city, the city attorney shall file in the superior court a civil action for the abatement of a public nuisance and seek an order or warrant directing the city to abate the public nuisance vehicle under Chapter 7.48 RCW, Nuisances, as it now exists or may hereafter be amended.

F. After notice has been given of the intent of the city of Richland to dispose of a nuisance vehicle, the nuisance vehicle shall be removed from the private property by the chief of police or a designated official and disposed of to a licensed auto wrecker or tow truck operator with notice to the Washington State Patrol and Department of Motor Vehicles that the nuisance vehicle has been wrecked.

G. The city of Richland may, within 30 days after the removal by the chief of police or a designated official of an abandoned, wrecked, dismantled or inoperative automotive vehicle from real property, file for recording with the Benton County auditor a claim for lien for the costs of removal, which shall be in substance in accordance with provisions covering mechanics’ liens in Chapter 60.04 RCW, and the lien may be foreclosed in the same manner as such lien; provided, that this section shall not apply to vehicles as set forth in RMC 10.06.030(A)(1) and (2). [Ord. 19-12 § 3].

10.06.060 Removal of vehicle due to expired registration.

The following is adopted by the city of Richland as set forth in RCW 46.55.113(2)(i), Removal by a Police Officer:

(2) In addition, a police officer may take custody of a vehicle, at his or her discretion, and provide for its prompt removal to a place of safety under any of the following circumstances;

(i) When a vehicle with an expired registration of more than forty-five days is parked on a public street.

[Ord. 19-12 § 3].