Chapter 8.05


8.05.010    Purpose.

8.05.020    Definitions.

8.05.030    Types of nuisances.

8.05.040    Prohibited conduct.

8.05.050    Abatement – Order.

8.05.060    Abatement – Failure – Penalty.

8.05.070    Abatement – Immediate.

8.05.080    Abatement by city – Safeguards.

8.05.090    Abatement – Cost.

8.05.110    Statutory provisions – Incorporated by reference.

8.05.010 Purpose.

The purpose of this chapter is to exercise the police power in relation to public nuisances and 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 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 liveability and its economic development. (Ord. 95-7 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1995).

8.05.020 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/her 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 the city official or employee so designated by the city manager.

D. “Junk” means and includes the storage of all old appliances, equipment or parts thereof, all old iron or other scrap metal, all inoperable vehicles or parts thereof, including tires, all vehicle hulks, cardboard, all 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, farming 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. “Weed,” “vegetable growth” and “horticultural growth” means and includes, 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. (Ord. 95-7 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 1995).

8.05.030 Types of nuisances.

In addition to the places, acts and omissions defined as a public nuisance by Chapter 9.66 RCW, 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,

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 twelve inches or more;

B. The existence of any junk, litter or refuse within the city which is harmful to the surrounding neighborhood or the use of property in the surrounding neighborhood, 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 thirty days, except at the city landfill 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 liquid or substance, or any liquid or substance likely to become nauseous, foul, offensive or putrid;

E. The erection, continuance or use of any building, room, property or other place in the city for the exercise of any trade, employment or manufacturer which results in offensive odors or other annoyances being released, and which annoys, injures or is offensive or detrimental to the health of the individuals there employed or residing, or to the public;

F. The burning of refuse or other material in such a manner as to cause or permit the smoke, ashes, soot or gases arising from such burning to become discomforting or annoying, or to injure or endanger the health of any person or neighborhood;

G. The maintenance or use of any building, house, room or other structure or vehicle for the purpose of lewdness, assignation or prostitution;

H. Any pit, basin, hole, well or other excavation which is unguarded and dangerous to life, or has been abandoned, or is no longer used for the purpose for which it was constructed, or is maintained contrary to law;

I. All obstructions to streets, rights-of-way or other public ways in the city, and all excavations in or under the same, which are by ordinance prohibited, or which may be made without lawful permission, or which, having been made by lawful permission, are kept and maintained after the purpose thereof has been accomplished, or for an unreasonable length of time;

J. All premises, buildings and vehicles whereon or wherein intoxicating liquor is manufactured, sold, bargained, exchanged, given away, furnished, disposed of, consumed or permitted to be consumed, in violation of laws of the state and ordinances of the city;

K. All vacant, unused or unoccupied buildings and structures within the city, which are allowed to become or remain open to entrance by unauthorized persons or the general public, because of broken, missing or open doors, windows or other openings, so that the same may be used by vagrants or other persons in a manner detrimental to the health and welfare of the inhabitants of the city;

L. Any refrigerator, icebox or deep freeze locker having a capacity of one and one-half cubic feet or more or any other container manufactured, custom-made or homemade designed for storage which is discarded, abandoned or left in any place accessible to children and which has not had the door or latching mechanism removed to prevent the latching or locking of the door;

M. Any sign, poster or other advertising matter of any nature placed upon telephone, utility or other poles, trees, sidewalks, streets, signs, traffic signs or other traffic control devices or other structures or places within streets, alleys or other public places or rights-of-way;

N. All buildings or parts thereof, vehicles, or other structures wherein any gambling, as defined by RCW 9.46.020, may be found, and any gambling device, as defined by RCW 9.46.020, may be found, except as licensed and within the scope of the requirements of the license required under state law and this municipal code;

O. The depositing or allowing of irrigation or other water to run by any street, alley or other public place, in such manner as to cause settling or damage to the street, alley or other public place, or to cause annoyance, damage or hazard to any user of the street, alley or other public place;

P. Any violation of the city’s critical areas ordinance, Chapter 21.04, shall be declared a public nuisance, and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and Section 21.04.140;

Q. Any violation of the city’s illicit discharge ordinance, Chapter 13.15, shall be declared a public nuisance, and shall be subject to the provisions of this chapter and Section 13.15.070;

R. Any violation of the city’s construction and post-construction stormwater ordinance, Chapter 13.16, shall be declared a public nuisance, and subject to the provisions of this chapter and Chapter 13.16. (Ord. 2010-25 § 1, 2010: Ord. 2010-01 § 1, 2010: Ord. 2009-07 § 2, 2009: Ord. 98-24 § 1, 1998: Ord. 95-7 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 1995).

8.05.040 Prohibited conduct.

A. It is 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 is 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. 95-7 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 1995).

8.05.050 Abatement – Order.

A. Upon the discovery of a nuisance, the enforcement officer may order the responsible person creating, keeping, maintaining or permitting the same to abate it, and in default thereof, to undertake the abatement on behalf of the city. At least ten days before he commences abatement, save in those cases of immediate necessity, the officer shall notify the person creating, keeping, maintaining or permitting the nuisance, the property owner and any person in possession of the property, if known, of his intentions. The notice shall be served personally or by first class mail and shall describe with particularity the nature of the violation, the sections of this code or other law which are being violated and specifying a reasonable time within which the abatement must be accomplished.

B. Except for actions commencing or refusing to commence a civil or criminal action, the decision or action of the enforcement officer may be reviewed by the city manager. A request for review must be made within ten days of the taking of the action or decision or, if written, must be made within ten days of the delivery, publication, posting or mailing, whichever is the shorter period. The city manager will review the action or decision promptly and give notice of his determination in writing. Any person aggrieved by a final decision of the city manager may petition the superior court of Walla Walla County within ten days of the date of the decision for such relief as he may be entitled.

C. In addition to such other penalties as may be imposed, a court entering a judgment of guilty to a charge of creating a public nuisance may order the abatement of the same on such terms and conditions as may be just and equitable. (Ord. 95-7 § 1 (Exh. A) (part), 1995).

8.05.060 Abatement – Failure – Penalty.

Any person creating, keeping or maintaining a nuisance, or permitting, allowing or suffering any nuisance to be maintained, who neglects or fails to abate or remove the nuisance within twenty-four (24) hours next after so creating, keeping or maintaining the nuisance, or permitting, allowing or suffering the same to be maintained, shall, for each twenty-four (24) hours thereafter during which the nuisance is continued, be guilty of a separate violation of maintaining a public nuisance. (Ord. 95-7 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1995).

8.05.070 Abatement – Immediate.

Whenever any nuisance is within a public way or easement, or is 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, and the responsible person(s) cannot be contacted or refuse(s) to immediately abate the condition, the enforcement officer may abate and remove the nuisance summarily. 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. 95-7 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1995).

8.05.080 Abatement by city – Safeguards.

In any case where a nuisance is to be abated by the enforcement officer, 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. (Ord. 95-7 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1995).

8.05.090 Abatement – Cost.

Every person, firm or corporation 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 when the nuisance has been abated by any officer of the city. The costs and expenses may be assessed as part of any prosecution against the party liable and may be recovered as other costs are recovered after they have been assessed; provided, that in such cases the city shall have been liable in the first instance to pay all costs of the abatement. In all cases where the enforcement officer abates any nuisance, he shall keep an account of all expenses attending such abatement and, in addition to other powers given in this chapter to collect such other costs and expenses, 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 treasurer. In the case that the responsible person, or one of the responsible persons, is the owner, the charge shall be a lien against the property. Notice of such lien shall be filed with the city clerk within thirty days after completion of the abatement work and may be enforced by action in Walla Walla County superior court which shall be brought within four months of the time of the filing of the lien.

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. 95-7 § 1(Exh. A)(part), 1995).

8.05.110 Statutory provisions – Incorporated by reference.

In addition to the provisions of this chapter, the following statutes are adopted by reference as nonexclusive remedies for public nuisances:

RCW Sections 9.66.010, 9.66.020, 9.66.030, 9.66.040 and 9.66.050. (Ord. 98-24 § 2, 1998).