Chapter 8.14


8.14.010    Purpose.

8.14.020    Definitions.

8.14.030    Nuisance declared.

8.14.040    Certification of junk vehicles.

8.14.050    Enforcement.

8.14.060    Abatement and removal.

8.14.070    Abatement costs – Lien.

8.14.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to preserve the character and safety of the city’s neighborhoods by prohibiting and eliminating as public nuisances junk or inoperable vehicles from private property, and to provide procedures for the abatement and removal of such vehicles. (Ord. 1221-15 § 1)

8.14.020 Definitions.

The definitions contained in RCW 46.55.010 shall apply to the interpretation and enforcement of this chapter. For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

A. “City” means the city of Sultan, Washington.

B. “Fence” means a structure constructed of solid material through which no visual images or light may be seen.

C. “Impound” means to take and hold a vehicle in legal custody.

D. “Inoperable 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 vehicle” may include vehicles that do not meet the definition of junk vehicle.

E. “Junk vehicle” has the meaning ascribed in RCW 46.55.010(5), as now in effect or hereinafter amended.

F. “Landowner” means an owner of private property, or a person in possession or control of private property.

G. “Mayor” means the mayor of the city of Sultan, Washington.

H. “Opaque landscaping” means a screen that is opaque from the ground to a height of at least six feet. An opaque screen is intended to exclude all visual contact between uses and to create a strong impression of spatial separation. The opaque portion of the screen must be opaque in all seasons of the year.

I. “Vehicle” has the same meaning as the definition of “motor vehicle” in RCW 46.04.320 as now or hereinafter enacted. (Ord. 1256-16 § 1; Ord. 1221-15 § 1)

8.14.030 Nuisance declared.

A. All junk or inoperable vehicles placed or situated upon private property within the city limits, except as provided in subsection (B) of this section, constitutes a public nuisance subject to the enforcement and abatement procedures of this chapter.

B. This chapter shall not apply to a vehicle or part thereof that:

1. Is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

2. Is enclosed in an opaque auto cover specifically designed for the vehicle that completely shields the vehicle from view. The cover must be in good condition and must be replaced if it becomes torn, weather-beaten, or acquires any other defects. Tarps and makeshift covers do not satisfy the requirement of this subsection; or

3. Is completely screened (opaque fence or landscaping) in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

4. Is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler or licensed vehicle dealer and is fenced in accordance with RCW 46.80.130. (Ord. 1256-16 § 2; Ord. 1221-15 § 1)

8.14.040 Certification of junk vehicles.

Any law enforcement officer having jurisdiction, or any code enforcement officer or other person so authorized by the mayor, may inspect and certify in writing that a vehicle meets the definition of a junk vehicle in accordance with RCW 46.55.230. The person making inspection shall record the make of the vehicle and, if discernible, the vehicle identification number and license number, and shall certify that the vehicle meets at least three of the requirements for junk vehicles as defined in RCW 46.55.010(5). (Ord. 1221-15 § 1)

8.14.050 Enforcement.

A. Procedure. The provisions of this chapter shall be enforced using the procedures established in SMC 1.10.080 through 1.10.180, subject to the additional requirements of this section.

B. Violation – Notice. For violations of this chapter, the notice of civil violation shall be served upon the vehicle’s last registered owner of record and upon the landowner of the property where the vehicle is located, and shall contain substantially the following information:

1. The name and address of the landowner of record upon whose property the vehicle is located;

2. The name and address of the vehicle’s last registered owner of record, provided license or vehicle identification numbers are available;

3. The vehicle description, including the license plate number and/or the vehicle identification number, the year, make and model of the vehicle, and the factors which render the vehicle a public nuisance;

4. A street address sufficient to identify the property where the vehicle is located;

5. The required corrective action and a date and time by which the correction must be completed; and

6. A statement that if no hearing is requested to contest or mitigate the violation, the vehicle will be removed.

C. Hearing – Notice. When a request for hearing is received, the city shall provide notice of the time, location, and date of the hearing by certified mail, with a five-day return receipt requested, to the landowner as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the last registered and legal owner of record of the vehicle, unless the vehicle is in such condition that identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

D. Hearing – Determination of Responsibility. The landowner of the property on which the vehicle is located may appear in person at the hearing, or present a written statement in time for consideration at the hearing, and deny responsibility for the presence of the vehicle on the land with reasons for the denial. If the hearing examiner determines that the vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner, and that the landowner did not subsequently acquiesce in its presence, then the city shall not assess fines or abatement costs against the landowner. (Ord. 1221-15 § 1)

8.14.060 Abatement and removal.

A. After notice has been given that the city intends to dispose of a vehicle or part thereof, and after a hearing has been held, if a hearing was requested, and the owner or landowner has failed to comply with an order of abatement or otherwise remove the vehicle, the vehicle or part thereof shall be removed at the request of a law enforcement officer and be disposed of at a licensed vehicle wrecker, hulk hauler, or scrap processor.

B. Upon removal of a junk or inoperable vehicle pursuant to this section, the city shall provide notice to the Washington State Patrol and the Washington State Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked. (Ord. 1221-15 § 1)

8.14.070 Abatement costs – Lien.

A. The costs of removal and disposal of a junk or inoperable vehicle shall be assessed against (1) the registered owner of the vehicle, if known, unless the owner transferred ownership of the vehicle in compliance with RCW 46.12.520; or (2) the owner of the property on which the vehicle was stored, subject to the provisions of SMC 8.14.050(D).

B. In addition to, or in lieu of, any other state or local provisions for the recovery of abatement costs resulting from the enforcement of this chapter, the city may, after removal of a junk or inoperable vehicle under this chapter, file with the Snohomish County auditor a claim of lien for abatement costs as defined in SMC 1.10.020(H), which shall be substantially in accordance with the provisions covering mechanics’ liens in Chapter 60.04 RCW, and said lien shall be foreclosed in the same manner as mechanics’ liens. (Ord. 1221-15 § 1)