Chapter 8.28


8.28.005    Statutes adopted by reference.

8.28.006    Definitions.

8.28.010    Unlawful storage.

8.28.020    Nuisance declaration.

8.28.030    Notice to owner of abandoned or junk vehicles on public property.

8.28.040    Notice--Violation designated.

8.28.050    Impoundment by city.

8.28.060    Release for payment.

8.28.070    Repair or reconstruction restrictions.

8.28.080    Authorization to impound.

8.28.090    Abatement and removal of unauthorized junk vehicles from private property.

8.28.100    Municipal court hearings/appeals.

8.28.110    Owner of record presumed liable for costs when vehicle abandoned--Exceptions.

8.28.120    Impounding not a bar to prosecution.

8.28.130    Penalties.

8.28.005 Statutes adopted by reference.

The following statutes of the Revised Code of Washington are adopted by reference as sections of this code.  For the purposes of interpreting the meaning of the statutes adopted by reference, reference therein to the state of Washington or to the highways of the state shall refer to the city of Wapato or the highways and roadways of the city.

RCW 46.55.070

Posting requirements--Exception.

RCW 46.55.080

Law enforcement impound, private impound--Master log--Certain associations restricted.

RCW 46.55.085

Law enforcement impound--Unauthorized vehicle in right-of-way.

RCW 46.55.100

Impound notice--Abandoned vehicle report--Owner information, liability--Disposition report.

RCW 46.55.110

Notice to legal and registered owners.

RCW 46.55.230

Junk vehicles--Removal, disposal, sale--Penalties--Cleanup restitution payment.

(Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.006 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:

A.  “Abandoned vehicle” means any vehicle left on private property for more than twenty-four hours without permission of the person having right to possession of the property, or left within the right-of-way, including parking strips and sidewalks, of any public street or highway, or on public property open for vehicular travel or parking, for twenty-four hours or longer.

B.  "Police chief" means the Wapato police chief or his designee.

C.  "Code enforcement officer" means the Wapato code enforcement officer.

D.  "Court clerk" means the Wapato municipal court clerk.

E.  "Junk vehicle" means a motor vehicle that has been certified under RCW 46.55.230 as meeting at least two of the following requirements:

1.  Is extensively damaged, such damage including, but not limited to, any of the following:  a broken window or windshield or missing wheels, tires, motor or transmission;

2.  Is apparently inoperable;

3.  Has an approximate fair market value equal only to the approximate value of the scrap in it; or

4.  Is without valid, current license plates or certificate of registration.

F.  "Vehicle" means every device capable of being moved upon a public highway, and in, upon, or by which any persons or property is or may be transported or drawn upon a public highway, excepting devices moved by human or animal power or used exclusively upon stationary rails or tracks, except that mopeds, and similar devices, shall be considered vehicles.  "Vehicle" also means any and all types of trailer.

G.  "Vehicle hulk" means any portion or portions of a vehicle which are inoperative and cannot be made mechanically operative without additional vital parts and a substantial amount of labor.

H.  "Sufficiently fenced" means fencing that is of such a height as to obscure the view of the public from streets, alleys, and neighboring public and private property and also complies with Wapato Municipal Code Chapter 17.04 regarding fencing requirements.

I.  "Highways" means all roads, thoroughfares, highways, alleys or other public rights-of-way of any kind located within the city of Wapato.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.010 Unlawful storage.

It is unlawful to park, or leave or permit the parking, storing or leaving of any licensed or unlicensed motor vehicle of any kind for a period of time in excess of seventy-two hours, which is in a rusted, wrecked, junked or partially dismantled or inoperative or abandoned condition, whether attended or not, upon any public or private property within the city, unless the same is completely enclosed within a building or unless it is in connection with a business enterprise properly operated in the appropriate business zone and it is in a sufficiently fenced area, out of view from the street, or other public or private property.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §1, 1966)

8.28.020 Nuisance declaration.

Any motor vehicle parked, stored, left or permitted to be parked, stored or left in violation of the provisions of Section 8.28.010 shall constitute rubbish and unsightly debris and a nuisance detrimental to the health, safety and welfare of the inhabitants of the city.  It shall be the duty of the registered or other owner of such vehicle, and it shall be the duty of the owner of the private property, or of the lessee or other person in possession of the private property upon which such vehicle is located, either to remove the same from the city or to have the same housed in a building or sufficiently fenced in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §2, 1966)

8.28.030 Notice to owner of abandoned or junk vehicles on public property.

It shall be the duty of the police chief or designee to give written notice to the registered or other owner of any motor vehicle which is in violation of this chapter demanding that the vehicle be removed from the city within seventy-two hours or that within seventy-two hours the motor vehicle be housed in a building where it will not be visible from the street or adjoining private property.  The notice shall contain the following information:

A.  The date the notice was delivered or sent to the owner;

B.  A statement that if the vehicle is not removed within seventy-two hours from the time of notice, the vehicle may be taken into custody and stored at the owner’s expense;

C.  The address and telephone number where additional information may be obtained; and

D.  The identity of the officer.

The notice shall be given by personal service or by registered or certified mail.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §3, 1966)

8.28.040 Notice--Violation designated.

If notice is given as provided in Section 8.28.030 and the person upon whom the notice and demand is made shall fail to meet the requirements of the notice, then the persons shall be in violation of this chapter.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §4, 1966)

8.28.050 Impoundment by city.

Notwithstanding the provisions of Section 8.28.040, and regardless of whether or not the person or persons mentioned therein have been charged with a violation of this chapter, the chief of police, or his designee, after giving the notice required by Section 8.28.030, and if the requirements of such notice have not been complied with upon the expiration of the seventy-two-hour period, may cause the vehicle or vehicles to be removed to such suitable place for storage as may be designated by the chief of police or designee.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §5, 1966)

8.28.060 Release for payment.

After any vehicle is impounded and stored as set forth in Section 8.28.050, the same shall not be released by the appointed keeper thereof until all charges connected with the removal, towing and storage of such vehicle have been fully paid to the appointed keeper.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §6, 1966)

8.28.070 Repair or reconstruction restrictions.

It is unlawful to disassemble, construct, reconstruct, repair and/or service motor vehicles of any kind in or upon any street, road, alley or other public thoroughfare in the city except for emergency service; provided, however, the emergency service shall not extend over a period of two hours, and the same does not interfere with or impede the flow of traffic.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006:  Ord. 613 §7, 1966)

8.28.080 Authorization to impound.

Members of the police department, where specifically authorized below, are authorized to remove and impound vehicles immediately, unless specific prior notice of such removal and impound is required as described in each subsection below, by means of towing or otherwise, under any of the following circumstances:

A.  When a vehicle poses an immediate danger to public safety, including but not limited to danger arising from mechanical defect(s) or defective equipment, or is obstructing traffic on any public street, right-of-way, alley, access way or parking area and is unattended or, if attended, the owner or person in charge of the vehicle refuses or is unable to remove it or provide for its removal.

B.  When a vehicle is determined to be an abandoned vehicle and the officer has complied with the notice requirements of Section 8.28.030, an abandoned vehicle is declared to be a public nuisance.

C.  When a vehicle is found in a tow-away zone or abandoned at the scene of an accident.

D.  When a vehicle is determined to be a junk vehicle and is located on private property, and the code enforcement officer or law enforcement officer has complied with the notice requirements of Section 8.28.030, storage or retention of a junk vehicle or parts thereof on private property is declared to be a public nuisance subject to removal and impound.

E.  When the operator of a vehicle is arrested and placed in custody, or is otherwise incapacitated and is not in condition to drive, and the vehicle is not in a place of safety and there is no other person present or reasonably available to properly act as agent for such operator to drive the vehicle to a place of safety.

F.  When an officer discovers a vehicle that the officer determines to be stolen.

G.  When a vehicle is blocking or otherwise impeding United States Postal Service delivery, vehicles and/or facilities, water meters, pipeline valves, or other waterworks appliances or fixtures, from access by city personnel.

H.  When a vehicle has three delinquent parking tickets for the same violation, at the same location.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.090 Abatement and removal of unauthorized junk vehicles from private property.

A.  The storage or retention of an unauthorized junk vehicle on private property is declared to constitute a public nuisance subject to removal and impoundment.  The code enforcement officer shall inspect and investigate violations that are personally observed and/or are complaints derived from citizens relative to unauthorized junk vehicles, or parts thereof, on private property.  Upon discovery of such nuisance, the code enforcement officer shall give notice in writing, either by personal service or by certified mail, to the last known address of the last registered owner of record and/or to the property owner to abate the nuisance or face removal of said vehicle.  In addition to the notice requirements, the notice under this section shall inform the registered owner of record and property owner that a hearing before the Wapato municipal court may be requested in writing, directed to the Wapato municipal court clerk and received within fourteen days of said notice of nuisance.  If no hearing is requested within fourteen days, the vehicle will be removed immediately.  Notice as described herein shall be substantially in the following form(s):


NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN to (insert name of owner), owner of a vehicle described as (insert description of vehicle, make, model, year, license number and motor number if available) located at (insert address) and notice is hereby given to the owner of the property on which said vehicle is located, that the presence of said vehicle on such property constitutes a nuisance in violation of Wapato Municipal Code, Section 8.28.090 “Abatement and Removal of Unauthorized Junk Vehicles from Private Property.”.  The owner of the vehicle and the property owner must abate the nuisance by removing said vehicle from the property.  If such vehicle is not removed from its present location within fourteen (14) days of (insert date), the city shall impound and remove said vehicle immediately.

YOU ARE FURTHER NOTIFIED that you have the right to protest the removal of said vehicle if you request a hearing by personally delivering, or by mailing to the Wapato Municipal Court Clerk (205 S. Simcoe, Wapato, WA 98951) a copy of the following "Request for Pre-Impoundment/Removal Hearing" within fourteen (14) days of the date of this Notice of Abatement/Removal of Junk Vehicles.  The Request for Hearing must actually be received by the Wapato Municipal Court Clerk before the Wapato Municipal Court closes on (insert date).  You will be notified by mail of your court appearance time and date.



Code Enforcement Officer City of Wapato



a Municipal Corporation,    )


    Plaintiff,    )    IMPOUNDMENT HEARING

v.    )


[Vehicle Owner’s Name]    )

[Property Owner’s Name]    )


    Defendants.    )

____________________________    )

I, as the owner in the vehicle listed in the above "Notice of Abatement/Removal of Junk Vehicles or Parts thereof" ("Notice"), and/or the owner of the property on which said vehicle is located, request a hearing to contest the validity of the proposed impoundment of the vehicle described in the foregoing Notice; and I understand that this request must be returned to the Wapato Municipal Court Clerk before the date listed in the Notice.

DATED this _____ day of _______________, 20__.

Signature of Owner:    ____________________

Address:    ____________________

Phone Number:    ____________________

Signature of Property Owner:    _____________

Address:    ____________________

Phone Number:    ____________________

B.  If the code enforcement officer is unable to ascertain the name and address of the vehicle owner, the code enforcement officer shall attach a copy of the notice addressed to "Unknown Owner" to the vehicle in a conspicuous place and this shall be deemed sufficient notice.

C.  If a request for a hearing is received, a notice giving the time, location and date of the hearing on the question of abatement and removal of the vehicle or part thereof as a public nuisance shall be mailed, by certified mail, with a five-day return receipt requested, to the owner of the land as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the registered and legal owner of record unless the vehicle is in such condition that the identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

D.  The owner of the land 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.

E.  This section shall not apply to the following authorized vehicles:

1.  A vehicle or part thereof that is completely enclosed within a building or sufficiently fenced in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the street or other public or private property; or

2.  A vehicle or part thereof that 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 according to RCW 46.80.130.

F.  After notice has been given of the city’s intent to dispose of the vehicle and after a hearing, if requested, has been held, the vehicle or parts thereof shall be removed at the request of the police chief or his designee and disposed of to a licensed motor vehicle wrecker or hulk hauler with notice to the Washington State Patrol and Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.100 Municipal court hearings/appeals.

All hearings required under this chapter, including any hearing required by RCW 46.55.120(2), shall be conducted by the Wapato municipal court instead of the Yakima County district court.  A decision made by the Wapato municipal court may be appealed to the Yakima County district court.  If an appeal is requested, the appeal must be received by the Yakima County district court within ten days of the decision or the right to appeal is waived.  The city may act immediately upon a decision of the Wapato municipal court unless the appellant requests a stay of action and posts a bond with the Wapato municipal court clerk in the amount determined by the Wapato municipal court as reasonable.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.110 Owner of record presumed liable for costs when vehicle abandoned--Exceptions.

A.  The abandonment of any vehicle or vehicle hulk shall constitute a prima facie presumption that the last owner of record is responsible for such abandonment and thus liable for any costs incurred in removing, storing and disposing of any abandoned vehicle.

B.  A registered owner transferring a vehicle shall be relieved from personal liability under this chapter if, within five days of the transfer, he transmits to the Department of Licensing a seller’s report of sale, and provides a copy to the code enforcement officer.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.120 Impounding not a bar to prosecution.

The impounding of the vehicle shall not preclude charging the violator with any violation of the law on account of which such motor vehicle was impounded.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)

8.28.130 Penalties.

Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punished by a maximum fine of five hundred dollars.  (Ord. 1143 §1(part), 2006)