Chapter 8.04


8.04.010    Purpose and intent.

8.04.020    Definitions.

8.04.030    Public nuisance defined.

8.04.040    Specific public nuisances declared.

8.04.050    Abandoned property in the right-of-way or public property.

8.04.060    Violation – Enforcement.

8.04.070    Violation – Penalty.

8.04.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose of this chapter is to provide for the protection of the public health, safety and welfare of the citizens of the city of Tumwater by proscribing those nuisances which affect the rights of the greater community. The presence of litter, debris, trash, abandoned buildings, overgrown vegetation, waste, unsanitary conditions, and other hazards and undesirable conditions affects not only the neighbors in the immediate vicinity of these conditions, but also detracts from the entire community. As such, these conditions require measures by the property owner to correct these conditions to protect the public health, safety and welfare. It is the intent of the city council to establish standards to define public nuisances for enforcement by the city.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013)

8.04.020 Definitions.

Unless otherwise specified, for purposes of this chapter, the following definitions apply to phrases and words used in this chapter. Phrases and words used in the singular include the plural and the plural the singular. Where phrases and words are not defined herein within this chapter, they shall have their ordinary accepted meaning within the context in which they are used.

A.    “Apparently inoperable vehicle” means:

1.    A vehicle that is unlicensed;

2.    A vehicle that does not appear to comply with requirements for safe and legal operation on public streets or highways with regard to lights, tires, safety glass or other safety equipment;

3.    A vehicle that has been determined by the Thurston County health department to be unfit for use due to contamination from methamphetamine or other substances which are harmful to human health or the environment;

4.    A vehicle that is attached to another vehicle such as by a tow hitch or bar, or is located on top of another vehicle, such as on the bed of a truck or trailer;

5.    Other circumstances or conditions that are evidence that the vehicle is not currently operable, including: the vehicle does not have current license tabs; the vehicle is filled with trash or debris; vegetation growing inside, around or on the vehicle; the tires on the vehicle are bald or flat or have been removed; the vehicle is partially disassembled; or

6.    Other evidence that the vehicle has not been moved for more than fifteen consecutive days.

B.    “Critical areas” means as defined in TMC Chapter 17.04.

C.    “Day” means calendar day.

D.    “Include” means included but not limited to.

E.    “Vegetation” includes all grass, weeds, vines, brush, shrubs, bushes, or trees, either growing, diseased, hazardous or dead.

F.    “Vehicle” means a conveyance for transporting people, animals or goods, and shall include all-terrain vehicles, automobiles, boats, buses, campers, farm vehicles, mopeds, motorcycles, motor homes, recreational vehicles, scooters, snowmobiles, tractors, trailers, trucks, and wagons.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013)

8.04.030 Public nuisance defined.

A public nuisance consists of doing an act, or omitting to perform a duty, or permitting an action or condition to occur or exist which:

A.    Unreasonably annoys, injures or endangers the comfort, repose, health or safety of others;

B.    Is unreasonably offensive to the senses;

C.    Unlawfully interferes with, obstructs or tends to obstruct, or renders dangerous for passage, any stream, public park, square, highway, public trail, or public right-of-way in the city;

D.    Unlawfully interferes with, damages or pollutes habitat areas, critical areas, open spaces, restoration sites, groundwater, creeks, lakes, wetlands, wetland buffers, and similar areas;

E.    In any way renders other persons insecure in life or the use of property;

F.    Interferes with the comfortable enjoyment of life and property;

G.    Creates or permits the existence or continuance of any of the specific nuisances identified in this chapter.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013; Ord. 616, Added, 04/18/1972. Formerly 8.04.010)

8.04.040 Specific public nuisances declared.

The following specific acts, omissions, places and conditions are declared to be public nuisances, including the erecting, maintaining, placing, depositing, allowing, leaving or permitting to be, in or upon any public or private real property, building, structure, premises, public right-of-way or park any one or more of the following:

A.    Excavations, including cesspools, sumps, pits, wells or any other similar conditions, which are not secure and which constitute a concealed danger.

B.    The discharge of sewage, human excrement, or other wastes in any location or manner, except through systems approved for the conveyance of such to approved public or private disposal systems.

C.    Filthy, littered, trash-covered or overgrown premises such as:

1.    Animal parts or wastes including manure, excreta, bones, meats, hides, skins or any part of any dead animal left or handled in or on the premises in such a way so as to create an offensive odor, attract flies or rodents, or cause pollution of runoff or groundwater.

2.    Overgrown, unkempt vegetation of any type, including grasses and weeds more than one foot in height, shrubs, brush, trees, and vines, including vegetation which may pose a fire hazard, harbor rodents or attract transient activity. Fire hazards may be eliminated as a public nuisance by mowing all grass and brush, and pruning shrubs and trees within thirty feet of any building and property line.

3.    Vegetative waste such as grass clippings, brush, trees, weeds, or cut wood, except as contained in a compost pile not to exceed two cubic yards, or orderly stacked fire wood cut in lengths of four feet or less.

4.    Storing or dumping of any poisonous or hazardous waste, material or substance:

a.    In violation of Washington State or Thurston County law;

b.    That may cause contamination of soil, groundwater or surface water; or

c.    So as to allow uncontrolled access to it by any animal or person.

5.    Storing of flammable material, including old rags, tires, boxes, paper, wood, or chemicals, in violation of TMC Chapter 15.16.

6.    Storing outside, longer than thirty consecutive days, any of the following items so that they are visible from any public right-of-way: furniture designed and constructed for indoor use; batteries; trash; garbage; wheels; tires; waste; used lumber; salvaged wood; machinery, appliances or electronic devices; component parts of machinery, appliances or electronic devices; vehicular component parts; unused household goods or hardware; or medical supplies or devices.

7.    All unused, abandoned or discarded refrigerators, freezers, stoves or other large appliances, whether located outside or within any unoccupied or abandoned building or other structure.

8.    All places used, maintained or appearing as a dump, junk yard, scrap yard, salvage yard, impound yard, wrecking yard, or automobile or machinery disassembly yard not licensed and located within a land use zone allowing such use, or which is operating outside of specific conditions set forth for the operation of such businesses.

D.    The existence of any fencing or other screening which is in a falling, decayed, dilapidated or unsafe condition or otherwise not maintained in accordance with the provisions of TMC Chapter 18.46.

E.    Any building or structure:

1.    Declared unsafe by the city building official; or

2.    That has been abandoned or unused for longer than fifteen consecutive days and has significantly deteriorated and become unsightly.

F.    Any building or structure where construction was commenced and the exterior of the building or structure is unfinished and the building permit has expired; or any building or structure that has been constructed or modified without a permit; or the construction of any building or other structure within the public right-of-way.

G.    The parking of an apparently inoperable vehicle within the public right-of-way for longer than forty-eight consecutive hours.

H.    The parking of an apparently inoperable vehicle on private property in a location visible from the public right-of-way, except under the following circumstances which are not a public nuisance:

1.    The apparently inoperable vehicle is parked within a completely enclosed structure; or

2.    No more than one apparently inoperable vehicle is parked outside or in a carport, and is covered with a fitted cover (but not a tarp).

I.    All forms of graffiti.

J.    The operation of any business in a residential zone not permitted under the zoning code or operating in violation of state, county or city laws or regulations, or that involves the regular coming and going of commercial vehicles.

K.    Any structure or exterior property condition contributing to rodent harborage and infestation.

L.    Painting of vehicles unless conducted inside an approved spray booth and/or performed inside a structure or similarly enclosed area designed and approved for such purposes.

M.    The production or processing of marijuana or cannabis:

1.    Outside a completely enclosed and secure structure that prevents unauthorized entry; or

2.    In violation of Washington State law or Tumwater Municipal Code; or

3.    That creates an offensive odor perceptible by a person of ordinary sensitivity, without instruments, at any point of any boundary line of the lot on which the use or structure is located.

N.    Use of a vehicle within a right-of-way for living purposes or storing of materials or goods.

O.    Use of a vehicle, tent or tarp on private property for living purposes, for more than fourteen days in a year.

P.    Temporary tarps used for covering structures or vehicles under repair or other items such as wood piles, for more than thirty consecutive days.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013; Ord. 1170, Amended, 09/06/1988; Ord. 920, Amended, 09/07/1982; Ord. 616, Added, 04/18/1972)

8.04.050 Abandoned property in the right-of-way or public property.

A.    All property left in the public right-of-way or on city-owned property, including any personal and household items, furniture, appliances, machinery, equipment, building materials or other items, shall be deemed abandoned and shall constitute a violation of this chapter and is hereby declared a public nuisance.

B.    Any items which remain on the public right-of-way or on city-owned property for a period of forty-eight consecutive hours shall be deemed abandoned and constitute a public nuisance subject to removal from the property by the city with or without notice.

C.    The costs of abatement may be assessed against the abutting property from which the nuisance was abated.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013)

8.04.060 Violation – Enforcement.

The enforcement official or his or her designee may enforce the provisions of this title through any enforcement provisions in TMC Chapter 1.10. Police officers may enforce the provisions of this title criminally or otherwise regardless of any civil actions or proceedings. The provisions of this title are not exclusive and may be used in addition to other enforcement provisions authorized by the Tumwater Municipal Code or other applicable law. The enforcement official charged with the enforcement of this title, acting in good faith and without malice in the discharge of his duties, shall not thereby be rendered personally liable for damage that may accrue to persons or property as a result of an act or omission in the discharge of the assigned duties. The community development director is authorized to administer and adopt rules and regulations to carry out the provisions of this title.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013)

8.04.070 Violation – Penalty.

Anyone who violates or fails to comply with any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor. Each separate day or portion thereof during which any violation of this chapter occurs or continues constitutes a separate violation of this chapter.

(Ord. O2013-004, Amended, 10/15/2013; Ord. O2011-007, Amended, 07/19/2011; Ord. 616, Added, 04/18/1972)


Prior legislation: Ords. 1112 and 1122.