Chapter 8.04
NUISANCES

Sections:

8.04.010    Purpose.

8.04.020    Definitions.

8.04.030    Types of nuisances.

8.04.040    Prohibited conduct.

8.04.050    Enforcement.

8.04.051    Voluntary abatement.

8.04.052    Notice and order to abate.

8.04.053    Administrative reviews by the director.

8.04.060    Abatement – Suit.

8.04.070    Immediate danger – Summary abatement.

8.04.080    Reserved.

8.04.082    Each day separate offense.

8.04.100    Civil penalty.

8.04.110    Penalty.

8.04.120    Abatement.

8.04.130    Collection of judgments.

8.04.140    Additional relief.

8.04.150    Conflicts.

8.04.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to exercise the police power in relation to public nuisances and the abatement of such nuisances, to protect the public health, safety and welfare, and to promote the economic development of the city. It is also the purpose of this chapter to prevent and prohibit those conditions which reduce the value of private property, interfere with the enjoyment of public and private property, create and constitute fire and other safety and health hazards, and generally create a menace to the health and welfare of the public and contribute to the degradation of the character of neighborhoods and depreciation of property values. It is necessary for the public health, safety and welfare to regulate, prevent and prohibit conditions which may constitute disorderly, disturbing, unsafe, unsanitary, fly-producing, rat-harboring, and/or disease-causing places, conditions, or objects. It is also necessary for the public social and economic welfare to regulate, prevent, and prohibit conditions which degrade the city’s scenic attractiveness and livability and its economic development. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.020 Definitions.

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

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

B. “Disposable package or container” means all packages or containers defined as such by rules and regulations adopted by the State of Washington Department of Ecology.

C. “Enforcement officer” means any city official or employee designated by the city manager.

D. “Junk” includes the storage of all old appliances, equipment, or parts thereof, all old iron or other scrap metal, automobile tires, cardboard, old lumber, old wood and mattresses, which items are not being used for their intended purpose, and does not include orderly stacked firewood.

E. “Litter” means and includes all waste material, including but not limited to disposable packages or containers thrown or deposited on public or private property, including the depositing on public property or cars of handbills, but not including the waste of primary process of mining, logging, sawmilling, firming, or manufacturing.

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

G. “Refuse” means vegetable offal, animal offal, discarded food, cans, bottles, waste paper, large tree limbs and all other waste substances from private and public establishments and from residences; but shall not include small amounts of weeds, twigs, grass, or other material resulting from the normal tending of lawns and gardens.

H. “Responsible person” means any agent, lessee, owner or other person occupying or having charge or control of any premises.

I. “Repeat offender” means any responsible person who has had an abatement order issued in his or her name within the prior 36 months, regardless of the nuisance’s location, except that in the case of a landlord the prior abatement order must have been issued for the same property.

J. “Weed,” “vegetable growth” and “horticultural growth” mean and include but are not limited to trees, plants, shrubs, bushes, flowers, garden vegetables and grasses and further include all growths of every kind and character, whether domestic or wild, causing the obstruction or interference or detriment prohibited by this chapter.

K. “Administrative hearings officer” means the city manager or any city official or employee designated by him other than the person designated as “enforcement officer” as in subsection C of this section. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.030 Types of nuisances.

Each of the following places, conditions, or things is declared to constitute a public nuisance, and whenever the enforcement officer determines that any of these conditions exist upon any premises the officer may require or provide for the abatement thereof pursuant to this chapter:

A. The growing, maintaining, permitting or allowing of any weed, vegetable or horticultural growth which either:

1. Overhangs, encroaches upon, obstructs or in any manner interferes with the full and free use by the public of any street, sidewalk or sidewalk area upon which such property so owned or occupied abuts; or

2. Has grown and died upon any premises owned, occupied or in control of the responsible person or persons and which constitutes a detriment to the public health, safety or welfare, including but not limited to a fire hazard; or

3. Is so overgrown upon any premises owned, occupied or in control of the responsible person or persons, as to cause the degradation of the character of the neighborhood, and for which a general rule of thumb shall be an average length of 12 inches or more.

B. The existence of any junk, litter, or refuse within the city, when written complaint from one or more city residents who are impacted by the present or potential effect of the condition on them or their property, has been received by the city unless such materials are kept or stored in an orderly and sightly manner and so as not to create a fire, safety, health or sanitary hazard.

C. The depositing, leaving or throwing away of any junk, litter or refuse within the city for an unreasonable length of time beyond what is necessary for proper disposal, which length of time shall be not less than 30 days, except at any designated city landfill or city solid waste transfer facility site or in covered containers or receptacles acceptable to the enforcement officer of the city.

D. The causing or permitting to be discharged, placed or thrown, or the throwing, into or upon any premises or any public street or alley of any nauseous, foul or putrid liquor or substance, or any liquid or substance likely to become nauseous, foul, offensive or putrid.

E. The maintaining, permitting or existence of any unsightly and unsafe, partially destroyed building or structure, that has not been repaired or removed within a reasonable period, and which period shall be not less than 60 days and not more than one year. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.040 Prohibited conduct.

A. It shall be unlawful for any responsible person(s) to create, permit, maintain, suffer, carry on or allow, upon their premises, any of the acts or things declared by this chapter to be a public nuisance.

B. It shall be unlawful for any person to create, maintain, carry on or do any of the acts or things declared by this chapter to be a public nuisance. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.050 Enforcement.

The following procedures shall be available in the event of any violation of this chapter:

A. Voluntary abatement pursuant to SMC 8.04.051;

B. Notice and order to abate pursuant to SMC 8.04.052;

C. Civil infraction pursuant to SMC 8.04.100; and

D. Abatement pursuant to SMC 8.04.060 or 8.04.120.

These enforcement procedures shall not be mutually exclusive. Exercise of one procedure shall not constitute an election which prevents use of another procedure. The enforcement officer shall have the right and authority to determine which enforcement procedure(s) to employ and to combine enforcement procedures to effect the purposes of this chapter. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.051 Voluntary abatement.

When it has been determined that a violation has occurred or is occurring, the city 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:

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

B. 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

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

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

E. 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

F. 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

G. 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. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.052 Notice and order to abate.

A. 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 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 have 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 by filing a written request for hearing with the director of the department of community development 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 no less than 20 days but no more than 60 days from the date the notice and order is issued; 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 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.

B. Service on the person responsible for the violation may be done either personally or by mailing a copy of the citation or the notice and order 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 Clallam County and if an address for mailed service cannot be ascertained, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the citation or the notice and order 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. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.053 Administrative reviews by the director.

A. General. A person who receives a notice and order may request an administrative review.

B. How to Request Administrative Review. A person, firm, or corporation may request an administrative review of the notice and order for a nuisance(s) by filing a written request with the director of the department or division listed as the contact within the notice and order within 10 calendar days of the notification date of violation. The request shall state, in writing, the reasons the director should review the notice and order. Failure to state the basis for the review in writing shall be cause for dismissal of the review. Upon receipt of the request for administrative review, the director shall review the information provided. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.060 Abatement – Suit.

Whenever a public nuisance exists, pursuant to SMC 8.04.050, the city may proceed by a suit in the Clallam County superior court to enjoin and abate it in the manner provided by Chapter 7.48 RCW as amended; or it may elect to enforce the provisions of this chapter by complaint, citation and/or warrant in Clallam County district court. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.070 Immediate danger – Summary abatement.

Whenever any condition or use of the premises causes or constitutes or reasonably appears to cause or constitute an imminent or immediate danger to the health or safety of the public or a significant portion thereof, and the responsible person(s) cannot be contacted or refuse(s) to immediately abate the condition, the enforcement officer shall have the authority to summarily and without notice abate the same. The expenses of such abatement may become a civil debt against the owner or the responsible person and shall be collectible in the same manner as any other civil debt owing to the city or as otherwise provided in this chapter. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.080 Reserved.

(Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A); Ord. 2001-022)

8.04.082 Each day separate offense.

Each day a violation of this chapter continues shall constitute a separate offense under this chapter. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.100 Civil penalty.

A. When it is determined that a violation or offense 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 and file the same in municipal court. The notice shall be in the form used for issuance of an infraction citation in municipal court and shall be subject to the civil rules for infractions.

B. Service on the person responsible for the violation may be done either personally or by any method authorized by law for service of infraction citations. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.110 Penalty.

A. Violation of, or failure to comply with, any provision of this chapter is a civil offense subject to a fine of $250.00 for each offense.

B. 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 24 hours next after so creating, keeping, or maintaining the nuisance, or permitting, allowing, or suffering the same to be maintained, shall, for each 24 hours thereafter during which the nuisance is continued, be guilty of a separate violation of maintaining a public nuisance. On the fourth consecutive day that the violation is maintained or allowed to exist, the violation shall constitute a continuing offense.

C. A continuing 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 shall be in addition to any civil remedy for abatement and collection for the cost and expense thereof. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.120 Abatement.

Any property on which there continues to be a violation of any of the provisions of this chapter is subject to abatement by the city.

A. Whenever a nuisance violation causes a condition, the continued existence of which constitutes an immediate and emergent threat to the public health, safety, or welfare of the environment, the city may summarily and without prior notice abate the condition.

B. 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.

C. Abatement – Immediate. 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 person designated by the city manager may abate and remove the nuisance summarily.

D. Abatement by City – Safeguards. In any case where a nuisance is to be abated by the person designated by the city manager 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 to effect the entire abatement of the nuisance.

E. Judicial Abatement. The city may seek judicial process, as it deems necessary, to abate a condition that was caused by or continues to be a violation of the Sequim Municipal Code when other methods of remedial action have failed to produce compliance. When an order of abatement is issued through the appropriate court, the costs, including incidental expenses, of correcting the violation shall be charged to the person responsible for the violation and/or the owner, lessor, tenant or other person entitled to use and/or control of the property.

F. For purposes of this section, 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 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.

G. Abatement – Cost. Every person 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 for abating the same. The costs and expenses may be assessed as a 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 person designated by the city manager abates any nuisance he shall keep an account of all expenses attending such abatement and, in addition to other powers given in this chapter, 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 by such suit, he shall pay the same to the city finance department.

H. 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. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.130 Collection of judgments.

If the person cited fails to pay a penalty imposed pursuant to this chapter, the penalty or abatement costs may be referred to a collection agency. The cost to the city for the collection services shall be added as costs to the amount to be collected. Alternatively, the city may pursue collection in any other manner allowed by law. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.140 Additional relief.

The city may seek any legal or equitable relief available at any time to mitigate any acts or practices that violate the provisions of this chapter or abate any condition that constitutes a nuisance. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))

8.04.150 Conflicts.

All ordinances or parts of ordinances of the city in conflict herewith are hereby repealed and/or superseded. (Ord. 2016-005 § 1 (Exh. A))