Chapter 8.16


8.16.010    Construction.

8.16.020    Definitions.

8.16.030    Public nuisances declared.

8.16.035    Graffiti – Public nuisance.

8.16.040    Prohibited conduct.

8.16.050    Enforcement notice.

8.16.060    Abatement by city.

8.16.070    Abatement by owner or other responsible person.

8.16.080    Summary abatement.

8.16.090    Violation – Penalty.

8.16.100    Remedies not exclusive.

8.16.010 Construction.

This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the police power of the city and is deemed necessary for the continued peace, health and welfare of the city. Therefore, all of its provisions shall be liberally construed for the accomplishment of such purposes. (Ord. 1392 § 1, 1987)

8.16.020 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 and 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. “Building materials” means and includes lumber, plumbing materials, wall board, sheet metal, plaster, brick, cement, asphalt, concrete block, roofing materials, cans of paint and similar materials.

C. “Considerable number of persons” means three or more persons from different households.

D. “Enforcement officer” means the building official of the city of Sumner, or his designee.

E. “Person” means and includes natural persons of either sex, firms, copartnerships and corporations, and all associations of natural persons, whether acting by themselves or by a servant or employee.

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

G. “Property” means any object of value that a person may lawfully acquire and hold.

H. “Public nuisance” means a thing, act, omission to act, occupation or use of property which:

1. Annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of the public;

2. Offends public decency;

3. Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs, or renders dangerous for passage any stream, river, channel, public park, square, street, alley, highway or sidewalk; or

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

I. “Responsible person” means any agent, lessee, owner or other person occupying or having charge or control of any premises. (Ord. 1392 § 2, 1987)

8.16.030 Public nuisances declared.

Each of the following conditions, unless otherwise permitted by law, 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: the erecting, maintaining, using, placing, depositing, causing, allowing, leaving or permitting to be or remain in or upon any private lot, building, structure or premises, or in or upon any street, avenue, alley, park, parkway or other public or private place in the city, of any one or more of the following places, conditions, things or acts to the prejudice, danger or annoyance of others:

1. Accumulations of manure or rubbish, except a compost pile so covered or concealed as not to affect the health, safety or depreciation of adjoining property;

2. Burning or disposal of refuse, sawdust or other material in such a manner as to cause or permit ashes, sawdust, soot or cinders to be cast upon the streets or alleys of the city, or to cause or permit dense smoke, noxious fumes, ashes, soot or gases arising from such burning to become annoying or injurious to the health, comfort or repose of the general public;

3. Carcasses of animals not buried or destroyed within 24 hours after death;

4. Ponds or pools of stagnant water,

5. All snow and ice not removed from public sidewalks within a reasonable time after the snow and ice have ceased to be deposited thereon;

6. All limbs of trees overhanging a public sidewalk which are less than 10 feet above the surface of such sidewalk, or overhanging a city street which are less than 12 feet above the surface of such street;

7. The existence of any vines or climbing plants growing into or over any street, public hydrant, pole or electrolier, or the existence of any shrub, vine or plant growing on, around or in front of any hydrant, standpipe, sprinkler system connection or any other appliance or facility provided for fire protection purposes in such a way as to obscure the view thereof or impair the access thereto; or obstruct or interfere with the proper diffusion of the light from any street lamp;

8. Any use of property abutting on a public street or sidewalk or any use of public street or sidewalk which causes any obstructing of traffic and the free use of the streets or sidewalks; provided, that this subsection shall not apply to events, programs or parades authorized by the city council;

9. Any poisonous or harmful substance which is reasonably accessible to persons or to animals;

10. The keeping, using or maintaining of any pen, stable, lot, place or premises in which any hog, sheep, goat, cattle, mink, fox, chinchilla, nutria, or fowl or any other animal or bird may be confined or kept, in such a manner as to be noxious, foul or offensive to any considerable number of persons;

11. The keeping or harboring of any animal which by frequent or habitual howling, yelping, barking or the making of other noises, or the keeping or harboring of any fowl which by frequent habitual crowing or the making of other noises, annoys or disturbs any considerable number of persons;

12. All unused, abandoned or discarded refrigerators, ice boxes or like containers which are left in any place exposed or accessible to children;

13. The existence of any dead, diseased, infested or dying tree that may constitute a danger to property or persons;

14. All shrubs, bushes, trees or vegetation which has grown and died and which is a fire hazard;

15. All grass and/or weeds which exceed 12 inches in height in a nonagricultural use;

16. The existence of caterpillar infestations or other horticultural pests;

17. Premises overgrown with blackberry vines;

18. The depositing or burning or causing to be deposited or burned in any street, alley, sidewalk, park, parkway, or other public place which is open to travel, of any hay, straw, grass, grass clippings, paper, wood, boards, boxes, leaves, manure or other rubbish or material;

19. The storage or keeping on any premises for more than 60 days of any used or unused building materials, without a special permit from the building official; providing that nothing herein shall:

a. Prohibit such storage without a permit when done in conjunction with a construction project for which a building permit has been issued and which is being prosecuted diligently to completion,

b. Prohibit such storage without a permit on the premises of a bona fide lumber yard, dealer in building materials or other commercial enterprise when the same is permitted under the zoning ordinance and other applicable ordinances, or

c. Make lawful any such storage or keeping when it is prohibited by any other ordinances or laws;

20. The existence of any fence or other structure or thing on private property abutting or fronting upon any public street, sidewalk or place which is in a sagging, leaning, fallen, decayed or other dilapidated or unsafe condition;

21. The existence of any drainage onto or over any sidewalk or public pedestrian way;

22. Privies, vaults, cesspools, sumps, pits, or like places which are not securely protected from flies or rats, or which are foul or malodorous;

23. Any tin cans, bottles, glass, cans, ashes, small pieces of scrap iron, wire, pipe, metal articles, bric-a-brac, broken stone or cement, broken crockery, broken glass, broken plaster, and all other trash or abandoned material, unless the same is kept in covered bins or metal receptacles approved by the building official;

24. Any trash, litter, rags, accumulations of empty barrels, boxes, crates, packing cases, mattresses, bedding excelsior, packing hay, straw or other packing material, lumber not neatly piled, scrap iron, tin, pipe and other metal not neatly piled;

25. Any unsightly and dangerous building, billboard or other structure, or any old, abandoned or partially destroyed building or structure, or any building or structure commenced and left unfinished;

26. All places not properly fenced which are used or maintained as junkyards or dumping grounds, or for the wrecking, disassembling, repair or rebuilding of automobiles, trucks, tractors or machinery of any kind, or for the storing or leaving of worn-out, wrecked or abandoned automobiles, trucks, tractors or machinery of any kind or of any of the parts thereof, or for the storing or leaving of any machinery or equipment used by contractors or builders or by other persons, which places are kept or maintained so as to essentially interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property by others;

27. Deposit, keep or leave or permit to be deposited, kept or left in any place accessible to children, or in any place viewable from a public street or alley, any abandoned, unused, nonrunning or discarded automobile, truck or other such vehicle, or any vehicle hulk or any part thereof. For the purposes of this subsection “abandoned, unused, nonrunning” refers to a vehicle which is not movable under its own power and which has been in a stationary position for more than 14 days;

28. Repair of an automobile, truck or other motor vehicle of any kind upon the public streets, alleys or other public property of the city;

29. Any putrid, unsound or unwholesome bones, meat, hides, skins, or the whole or any part of any dead animal, fish or fowl, butcher’s trimmings and offal, or any waste vegetable or animal matter in any quantity, garbage, human excreta or other offensive substance; provided, nothing contained in this chapter shall prevent the temporary retention of waste in receptacles in the manner approved by the building official of the city;

30. The erection, continuance or use of any building, room or other place in the city for the exercise of any trade, employment or manufacture which, by occasioning noxious exhalations, offensive odors or other annoyances, is discomforting or offensive or detrimental to the health of individuals or of the public;

31. The playing or causing to be played, in front of any building where any show, moving picture exhibition or theatrical performance is given, or in the open vestibule or area of any building, of any automatic or mechanical musical instrument for the attraction of customers;

32. Making, causing or permitting to be made by means of any speaker or other sound-amplifying device, or horn or other mechanical device, or by outcry, loud speaking, singing or by any other means of discordant and unnecessary noise of any kind which annoys any considerable number of persons lawfully in the immediate area;

33. Any unguarded or abandoned excavation, pit, well or holes which would endanger safety. (Ord. 1392 § 3, 1987)

8.16.035 Graffiti – Public nuisance.

A. Definitions.

1. “Abate” means to remove the graffiti by such means, in such a manner and to such an extent and within the time frame as the enforcement officer, as defined in SMC 8.16.020(D), reasonably determines is necessary to remove the graffiti from public view.

2. “Graffiti” means any unauthorized writing, painting, drawing, inscription, figure, or mark of any type that has been placed upon any property through the use of paint, ink, chalk, dye, markers, objects, adhesive material, or any other substance capable of marking property.

3. “Graffiti nuisance property” means property upon which graffiti has not been abated after the abatement date established by the enforcement officer.

4. “Owner” means any entity or entities having a legal or equitable interest in real or personal property including but not limited to the interest of a tenant or lessee.

5. “Premises open to the public” means all public spaces, including, but not limited to, streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, and public open space, as well as private property onto which the public is regularly invited or permitted to enter for any purpose, the doorways and entrances to those buildings or dwellings, and the grounds enclosing them.

6. “Property” means any real or personal property and that which is affixed, incidental or appurtenant to real property, including but not limited to any structure, fence, wall, sign, or any separate part thereof, whether permanent or not.

7. “Responsible party” means an owner, or an entity or person acting as an agent for an owner by agreement, who has authority over the property or is responsible for the property’s maintenance or management. Irrespective of any arrangement to the contrary with any other party, each owner shall always be a responsible party for the purposes of this chapter. There may be more than one responsible party for a particular property.

8. “Unauthorized” means without the consent of a responsible party.

B. Violation.

1. Any property located in the city of Sumner that becomes a graffiti nuisance property is in violation of this chapter and is subject to its remedies.

2. Every responsible party who permits a property to become a graffiti nuisance property is in violation of this chapter and subject to its remedies.

C. Penalty. Violation of any of the provisions of this section is a Class 2 civil infraction, with a maximum penalty and default amount of $125.00, plus statutory costs and/or assessments. Each day that the violation continues or exists constitutes a separate violation.

D. Removal of Graffiti. Notwithstanding the remedies available under this chapter, whenever graffiti exists upon the property owned by a public agency, or a private property owner, the city may remove it with the consent of the public entity or private property owner owning such property. However, nothing in this chapter imposes a duty on the city to abate any nuisance graffiti on any property other than that which is owned and controlled by the city. (Ord. 2542 § 1, 2015; Ord. 2250 § 1, 2008)

8.16.040 Prohibited conduct.

It is unlawful for any responsible person or owner to create, 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. (Ord. 1392 § 4, 1987)

8.16.050 Enforcement notice.

The enforcement officer, upon receipt of a written complaint of any public nuisance, shall cause any owner or other responsible person to be notified of the existence of a public nuisance on any premises and shall direct the owner or other responsible person to abate the condition within 10 calendar days after notice, or other reasonable period. The notice shall be substantially in the following form:


(Name and address of person notified)

As owner, agent, lessee or other person occupying or having charge or control of the building, lot or premises at ___________, you are hereby notified that the undersigned pursuant to Ordinance No. ____ of the City of Sumner has determined that there exists upon or adjoining said premises the following condition contrary to the provisions of subsection ____ of Ordinance No. ________:

You are hereby notified to abate said condition to the satisfaction of the undersigned within 10 days of the date of this notice. If you do not abate such condition within ten (10) days the city will abate the condition at your expense.

Abatement is to be accomplished in the following manner:


(Name of enforcement officer)


(Ord. 1392 § 5, 1987)

8.16.060 Abatement by city.

In all cases where the enforcement officer has determined to proceed with abatement, 10 days after giving notice the city shall acquire jurisdiction to abate the condition at the person’s expense as herein provided. Upon the abatement of the condition or any portion thereof by the city, all the expenses thereof shall constitute a civil debt owing to the city jointly and severally by such of the persons who have been given notice as herein provided. The debt shall be collectible in the same manner as any other civil debt owing to the city. The city shall also have the right to file a lien against the real property for all charges and expenses incurred in abating the nuisance. A notice of the city’s lien specifying the expenses incurred in abating the nuisance and giving the legal description of the premises sought to be charged shall be filed with the county auditor within 90 days from the date of the abatement and the same may at any time thereafter be collected in the manner provided for foreclosure of mechanic’s liens under the laws of the state of Washington. (Ord. 1478 § 1, 1990: Ord. 1392 § 6, 1987)

8.16.070 Abatement by owner or other responsible person.

If and when an owner or other responsible person undertakes to abate any condition described in this chapter, whether by order of the enforcement officer or otherwise, all needful and legal conditions pertinent to the abatement may be imposed by the enforcement 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 permit to do any work incidental to abatement. (Ord. 1392 § 7, 1987)

8.16.080 Summary abatement.

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 a significant portion thereof, the enforcement officer shall have the authority to summarily and without notice abate the same. The expenses of such abatement shall be collected as provided in SMC 8.16.060. (Ord. 1478 § 2, 1990: Ord. 1392 § 8, 1987)

8.16.090 Violation – Penalty.

Any violation of this chapter is a Class 2 civil infraction, with a monetary penalty in an amount not to exceed $125.00 plus applicable statutory assessments. A person is deemed to have committed a separate offense for each day or occurrence during which he or she commits, continues, or permits a violation of any provision under this chapter.

“Civil infraction” has the meaning given that term by chapter 7.80 RCW, the Infraction Rules for Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (“IRLJ”) and any local rule adopted thereto by the Sumner municipal court.

The Sumner municipal court shall have jurisdiction to adjudicate, in accordance with applicable laws, any violation of this chapter. (Ord. 2542 § 2, 2015: Ord. 1392 § 9, 1987)

8.16.100 Remedies not exclusive.

The remedies prescribed in this chapter are in addition to all other remedies provided or authorized by law. (Ord. 1392 § 10, 1987)