Chapter 8.21


8.21.010    Definitions.

8.21.020    Public nuisance defined.

8.21.030    Nuisance defined.

8.21.040    Prohibited conduct.

8.21.050    Notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity.

8.21.060    Correction by owner or other responsible person.

8.21.070    Abatement by the city.

8.21.080    Immediate danger – Summary correction.

8.21.090    Unlawful materials in alleys.

8.21.100    Violation – Penalty.

8.21.010 Definitions.

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

“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.

“Compliance officer” means the mayor’s designee.

“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 compliance officer, in his judgment, determines is necessary in the interest of the general health, safety and welfare of the community.

“Criminal gang activity” means: (1) the commission, solicitation to commit, conspiracy to commit, or attempt to commit any crime or violation of law, including but not limited to crimes against persons, crimes against property, graffiti, creation and maintenance of public or private nuisances, threats to do harm, intimidation, robbery, burglary, assault, homicide, theft, violation of laws pertaining to controlled substances, alcohol offenses, with the intent or effect to promote, further, aid, abet, or assist any criminal street gang; (2) any intimidation of or harm to any person with the purpose or intent to cause such person to participate in criminal gang activity, or to intimidate or harm any person who has ceased to participate in criminal gang activity; or (3) any public participation or use of identifiable apparel, name, sign or symbol of any criminal street gang in a manner that creates a threat of harm or intimidation to persons or property, or that promotes, furthers, aids, abets or assists any criminal street gang or criminal gang activity.

“Criminal street gang” means a group that: (1) consists of three or more persons; (2) has identifiable leadership or an identifiable name, sign, or symbol; and (3) on an ongoing basis, regularly conspires and acts in concert mainly for criminal purposes, or whose members individually or collectively engage in or have engaged in criminal gang activity.

“Health officer” means the director of the Grant County health district or his designee.

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

“Occupant” means any person occupying the premises.

“Owner” means the record owner of the subject property as listed in the records of the Grant County assessor.

“Premises” or “subject property” means any building, lot, parcel, real estate, or land or portions of land, whether improved or unimproved, including adjacent sidewalks and parking lanes.

“Responsible person” means any agent, lessee or other persons occupying or having charge or control of any premises. (Ord. 1083 § 1, 2008; Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.020 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; or

D. In any way renders one or more persons insecure in life or the use of property. (Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.030 Nuisance defined.

Each of the following conditions, unless otherwise permitted by law, is declared to constitute a public nuisance, and whenever the compliance officer determines that any of these conditions exist upon any premises or in any stream, drainageway or wetlands, the officer may require or provide for the abatement thereof pursuant to this chapter. The determination of the compliance officer shall be afforded great weight in the resolution of any contest over the enforcement of this chapter. The determination of the compliance officer shall be sustained unless the court determines that the officer’s application of this chapter is contrary to law or the respondent establishes by a preponderance of the evidence that the factual basis for the issuance of the infraction or notice to correct unsafe or unlawful condition is unfounded. It is the policy of the city to establish a duty requiring each property owner within the city to maintain their premises in a neat, orderly, and clean condition, to preserve property values, esthetics, and quality of life.

A. The existence of any weeds, trash, excess dirt, filth, the 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 Grant County health district);

E. All other acts, failures to act, occupations, or uses of property which are 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 12 feet above the surface of any street;

G. All buildings, other structures, or portions thereof which have been damaged by fire, decay, or have otherwise deteriorated 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 fire code in force within the city;

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 (more than four offenses in a 12-month period) in violation of Chapter 6.05 SLMC, Animal Control;

J. Making or causing to be made by means of any mechanical device, electrical or otherwise, any unnecessary noise of any kind which annoys the public prior to 7:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. daily;

K. 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 or public or private property of another in the city;

L. 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, the 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, swamps, 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 ordinances of the city;

5. Any poison oak or poison ivy, Russian thistle, or other noxious weeds, 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 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 not neatly piled, or anything whatsoever in which flies or rats may breed or multiply or which may be a fire hazard;

M. 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;

N. 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;

O. 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;

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

Q. The keeping or permitting the existence of any bees or other insects, reptiles, rodents, fowl, or any other animal, domestic or wild, in any manner contrary to law, or which affect the safety of the public;

R. The existence of any fence, or 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;

S. The existence of any 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;

T. The keeping or permitting the existence of morning glory, tackweed, Russian thistle, or other noxious weed, as defined in Chapter 17.10 RCW, growing or otherwise, which is a health or safety hazard to persons or property;

U. All grasses, weeds, or other vegetation growing, or which has grown and died, determined to be a fire or safety hazard or a nuisance to persons, shall not exceed 12 inches in height measured above the ground except as follows:

1. Any parcel of land or contiguous segregated parcels of land which when combined represent a parcel larger than one acre in size, may comply with these requirements by providing a firebreak along that portion of the perimeter of the parcel which abuts developed property or an improved street. The firebreak shall be a minimum of twenty feet in width, within which all weeds and vegetation, except established trees, shall not exceed 12 inches in height measured above the ground;

2. Any designated public parkland, natural area, or environmentally sensitive area, or any large undeveloped parcels of land not adjacent to developed areas or which are used for agricultural purposes. Any of the above exceptions may be waived and additional maintenance required by the compliance officer if he determines such action is necessary to protect the safety of persons or adjoining property. All maintenance shall be done in a manner so as to minimize disruption of soil stability;

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 materials;

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

Z. 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 junk vehicles, vehicle parts, machinery, or equipment; mattresses, bedding, clothing rags or cloth; straw, packing material, cardboard, or other paper; tin cans, wires, 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;

AA. 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, other real or personal property;

BB. The locating of automobiles, trucks, recreational vehicles, trailers, boats, or any other vehicles, vessels, or the like for the purpose of advertising their sale on property located in any commercial or industrial zone not owned by the seller, except for new and used vehicle and vessel sales lots, unless the seller presents to the compliance officer a document containing the name, address and telephone number of the property owner allowing the seller to use the property for the sale of that specific item;

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

DD. Permitting any violation of RCW 59.18.510 in any rental dwelling unit;

EE. Criminal street gangs and criminal 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, criminal 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. (Ord. 1083 § 1, 2008; Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.040 Prohibited conduct.

A. It is unlawful for any responsible person or owner to permit, maintain, suffer, carry on, or allow, upon any premises, 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.

C. In the enforcement of this chapter, the city shall be permitted to act upon the reports of persons, including the observations of city employees, to investigate and, if in the opinion of the compliance officer the complaints are based upon events which have occurred in violation of this chapter, issue a notice of infraction or a notice to correct unsafe or unlawful condition as set forth in SLMC 8.21.050. (Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.050 Notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity.

The code enforcement officer, to be designated by the mayor, having determined that a public nuisance exists, may pursue any enforcement action as provided for in Chapter 1.30 SLMC. (Ord. 1263 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1083 § 1, 2008; Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.060 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 compliance officer, or otherwise, all necessary and legal conditions pertinent to the correction may be imposed by the compliance 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. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.070 Abatement by the city.

A. In all cases where the code enforcement officer has determined to proceed with issuance of a notice of violation and order to correct, then 10 days after issuance of such notice, the city shall have the ability, in addition to any other remedy provided in this chapter and not as an alternative means of abatement to the exclusion of others, to abate the nuisance identified by the code enforcement officer in the notice of violation and order to correct as provided herein.

B. A violation of this chapter may be subject to abatement by the following means:

1. Summarily, by a restraining order or injunction issued by a court of competent jurisdiction; or

2. Following issuance of a notice of violation and order to correct, and following the expiration of the time to correct the condition or cease the activity constituting a nuisance as identified in the notice and order, a written notice of the code enforcement officer sent by return receipt mail to the owner, as such appears on the rolls of the county assessor, which notice shall state that the city council will consider for adoption, after not less than 10 days from the date of that notice, of a resolution which shall describe the property involved by street address or parcel number and the condition in violation of this chapter and require the owner to make the removal or destruction of such condition. Such notice shall state the owner may appear before the city council at the time it considers such resolution and that will be the owner’s only opportunity to protest the proposed action of the city council to abate the nuisance as provided in this section. Such notice shall further provide that should the city council adopt such resolution it may direct therein that the destruction or removal of the condition in violation of this chapter is to be accomplished by city forces or contractors and that all costs, direct and indirect, of such work shall be charged to the owner. If such removal or destruction is not made by the owner after the notice is given, the city council may, by resolution passed not less than 10 days from the date of the notice, cause the city to make the removal or destruction thereof as provided herein and provide that the cost thereof shall become a charge against the owner of the property. This debt shall be collectible in the same manner as other debts owing to the city. (Ord. 1083 § 1, 2008; Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.080 Immediate danger – Summary correction.

Whenever any condition on or use of property causes or constitutes or reasonably appears to cause or constitute an imminent or immediate danger to the health or safety of the public or significant portion thereof, the correction officer shall have the authority to summarily and without notice correct the same. The correction officer shall make a reasonable effort consistent with the circumstances to contact the owner and occupant of the subject property to obtain compliance before proceeding. The expense of such correction shall become and be collectible in the same manner as any debt owing the city. (Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.090 Unlawful materials in alleys.

A. It is unlawful for a person, firm, or corporation to deposit any debris, vegetation, lawn clippings, lumber piles, wood piles, auto parts or bodies, garbage, and the like, or store any material of any kind except approved garbage or refuse containers in the alleys of the city. Abutting property owners shall be responsible for the control of vegetation within alleys.

B. The materials referred to in subsection (A) of this section shall be removed by the depositor. Failure to remove the materials within five days shall be an additional infraction and it shall be considered an additional infraction for each five-day period that a party fails to remove the material after having been notified of its existence. (Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).

8.21.100 Violation – Penalty.

A. Every person who violates any of the provisions of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a civil infraction and shall be subject to a penalty as provided in Chapter 1.10 SLMC. Each violation shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter. A C-15 penalty will be imposed for each civil infraction as provided by SLMC 1.10.030. Additionally, the court may require the party liable for the civil infraction to reimburse the city for costs incurred by the city for abatement and removal of the nuisance related to the violation of this section.

B. Each second or subsequent violation of this chapter within a 12-month period shall subject the violator to a C-12 penalty as provided in SLMC 1.10.030. (Ord. 1010 § 1, 2004).