Chapter 23.80


23.80.010    Amendments.

23.80.020    Violations and penalties.

23.80.030    Remedies.

23.80.040    Abatement.

23.80.010 Amendments.

A. The county council or the planning commission may initiate an amendment to this program according to the procedures prescribed in WAC 173-26-100. The planning commission shall conduct a public hearing on any amendment proposed by the county council.

B. Any person may petition the county council or planning commission to amend this program. Petitions shall specify the changes requested and any and all reasons therefor. The county council or planning commission may schedule a public hearing on said petition(s) if it deems the proposed amendment would make this program more consistent with the Act and/or any applicable Department of Ecology Guidelines, or more equitable in its application to persons or property due to changed conditions in an area.

C. After approval or disapproval of a program amendment by the Department of Ecology as provided in RCW 90.58.090, the county shall publish a notice that the program amendment has been approved or disapproved by the Department of Ecology. For the purposes of RCW 36.70A.290, the date of publication for the amendment of a program is the date the county publishes notice that the program amendment has been approved or disapproved by the Department of Ecology.

D. The administrator shall submit an annual report to the county council reviewing the effectiveness of the program in achieving its stated purpose, goals, and objectives. Such report may also include any proposed amendments deemed necessary to increase its effectiveness or equity. If said report contains proposed amendments, the council may schedule a public hearing to consider such matter in accordance with the procedure described in subsection A of this section. Said report shall also include a determination of whether or not the goal of no net loss of shoreline ecological function is being achieved and provide recommendations for achieving and maintaining the goal.

E. Upon county council adoption of a detailed community or subarea plan under the Whatcom County Comprehensive Plan, the planning and development services department shall prepare amendments, as appropriate, for the purpose of incorporating the goals, objectives, and standards of the community or subarea plan into this program. The planning commission shall schedule a public hearing upon receipt of such proposals, and shall give due consideration to the community objectives so expressed. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2008-034 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.80.020 Violations and penalties.

A. In the event any person violates any of the provisions of this chapter, the county may issue a correction notice to be delivered to the owner or operator, or to be conspicuously posted at the site. In a nonemergency situation, such notice may include notice of the intent to issue a stop work order no less than 10 calendar days following the receipt of the correction notice, and provide for an administrative predeprivation hearing within 10 calendar days of the notice. In an emergency situation where there is a significant threat to public safety or the environment, the county may issue a stop work order. The stop work order shall include, in writing, the right to request an administrative predeprivation hearing within 72 hours following receipt of the stop work order.

B. In addition to incurring civil liability under WCC 23.80.030 and RCW 90.58.210, pursuant to RCW 90.58.220 any person found to have willfully engaged in activities on shorelines of the state in violation of the provisions of the Act or of this program, or other regulations adopted pursuant thereto shall be punished by:

1. A fine of not less than $25.00 or more than $1,000;

2. Imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 90 days; or

3. Both such fine and imprisonment;

provided, that the fine for the third and all subsequent violations in any five-year period shall not be less than $500.00 nor more than $10,000. Provided further, that fines for violations of RCW 90.58.550, or any rule adopted thereunder, shall be determined under RCW 90.58.560. Each permit violation or each day of continued development without a required permit shall constitute a separate violation.

C. The penalty provided in subsection B of this section shall be assessed and may be imposed by a notice in writing, either by certified mail with return receipt requested or by personal service, to the person incurring the same. The notice shall include the amount of the penalty imposed and shall describe the violation with reasonable particularity. In appropriate cases, corrective action shall be taken within a specific and reasonable time.

D. Within 30 calendar days after the notice is received, the person incurring the penalty may apply in writing to the county for remission or mitigation of such penalty. Upon receipt of the application, the county may remit or mitigate the penalty upon whatever terms the county in its discretion deems proper. The county’s final decision on mitigation or revisions may be reviewed by the hearing examiner if the aggrieved party files a written appeal therewith of said decision within 10 calendar days of its issuance.

E. If work activity has occurred on a site in violation of this program, prompt corrective action, restoration or mitigation of the site will be required when appropriate. If this provision is not complied with, the county may restore or mitigate the site and charge the responsible person for the full cost of such an activity. Additionally, any and all permits or approvals issued by the county may be denied for that site for a period of up to six years.

F. The county may suspend or revoke a permit if the applicant violates the conditions or limitations set forth in the permit or exceeds the scope of the work set forth in the permit.

G. Any person who willfully violates any court order or regulatory order of injunction issued pursuant to this program shall be subject to a fine of not more than $5,000, imprisonment in the county jail for not more than 90 days, or both. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2008-034 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.80.030 Remedies.

A. The Whatcom County prosecuting attorney or administrator, where authorized, shall bring such injunctive, declaratory, or other actions as are necessary to ensure that no uses are made of the shorelines of the state located within Whatcom County in conflict with the provisions of this program, the Act, or other regulations adopted pursuant thereto, and to otherwise enforce the provisions of this program.

B. Any person subject to the regulatory provisions of this program or the Act who violates any provision thereof, or permit, or permit condition issued pursuant thereto shall be liable for all damage to public or private property arising from such violation, including the cost of restoring the affected area to its condition prior to violation. The Whatcom County prosecuting attorney shall bring suit for damages under this section on their own behalf and on the behalf of all persons similarly situated. If liability has been established for the cost of restoring an area affected by a violation, the court shall make provision to assure that restoration will be accomplished within a reasonable time at the expense of the violator. In addition to such relief, including money damages, the court in its discretion may award attorney’s fees and costs of the suit to the prevailing party.

C. A person who fails to conform to the terms of a substantial development permit, conditional use permit or variance issued under RCW 90.58.140, who undertakes a development or use on shorelines of the state without first obtaining any required permit or authorization, or who fails to comply with a stop work order may be subject to a civil penalty. The penalty shall be imposed pursuant to the procedure set forth in WAC 173-27-280 and become due and recovered as set forth in WAC 173-27-290(3) and (4). Persons incurring a penalty may appeal the same to the shoreline hearings board or the county council pursuant to WAC 173-27-290(1) and (2).

D. Any order, requirement or determination by the administrator pursuant to WCC 23.80.020 may be appealed in accordance with the provisions of WCC 23.60.150(G) and (H). (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2008-034 § 1 (Exh. 1)).

23.80.040 Abatement.

Structures or development on shorelines considered by the administrator to present a hazard or other public nuisance to persons, properties or natural features may be abated by the county under the provisions of the applicable provisions of the Uniform Code for the Abatement of Dangerous Buildings, 1997 Edition, or successor as adopted by Whatcom County, or by other appropriate means. (Ord. 2009-13 § 1 (Exh. 1); Ord. 2008-034 § 1 (Exh. 1)).