TITLE 26 Code Enforcement Attachment A

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Attachment A (download pdf file)

TITLE 26 – CODE ENFORCEMENT

CHAPTER 26.05 GENERAL PROVISIONS

26.05.005 Short Title.

26.05.010 Purpose.

26.05.020 Administration.

26.05.030 Calculation of penalties and damages.

26.05.040 Enforcement and violation remedies.

26.05.050 Abatement of illegal use, structure or development.

26.05.060 Enforcement, violations, and penalties – Stop work orders.

26.05.070 Revocation of permits.

26.05.080 Appeals.

26.05.090 Code enforcement interpretation and application.

26.05.100 Definitions.

26.05.110 Restoration orders for critical areas.

26.05.120 Liability for violations.

26.05.005 Short Title.

This title shall be known as the “Thurston County Code Enforcement Ordinance.”

26.05.010 Purpose.

This title is adopted for the purpose of governing enforcement and penalties for the following codes now or as subsequently amended: Roads and Bridges (Title 13 TCC), Buildings and Construction (Title 14 TCC), Thurston County Stormwater Standards (Chapter 15.05 TCC), Sewer Systems (Chapter 15.09 TCC), Water Systems (Chapter 15.10 TCC), Cross-connections (Chapter 15.11 TCC), State Environmental Policy Act (Chapter 17.09 TCC) Agricultural Activities Critical Areas (Chapter 17.15 TCC), Mineral Extraction and Asphalt Production (Chapter 17.20 TCC), Thurston County Forest Lands Conversion Ordinance (Chapter 17.25 TCC), Platting and Subdivisions (Title 18 TCC), Shoreline Master Program for the Thurston Region (Title 19 TCC), Zoning Ordinances (Titles 20, 21, 22, and 23 TCC), Critical Areas (Title 24 TCC), and including any permit, permit condition, or order issued pursuant to any of the codes listed above. This Title hereby replaces and supersedes all code provisions referenced herein.

26.05.020 Administration.

A. Any person, whether owner, lessee, principal, agent, employee or otherwise, who violates a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in Section 26.05.010 TCC, or permits any such violation, or fails to comply with any of the requirements thereof, shall not be granted a permit or approval pursuant to the Thurston County Code, and shall be guilty of

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a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be subject to punishment as provided by law.

B. No permit or approval shall be granted pursuant to the Thurston County Code if any violation of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC exists on the subject property.

C. A permit or approval may be granted if conditioned on having the violation remedied within a reasonable time as provided by the approval authority. If a permit or approval is conditioned on remedial action, security in the form of a letter of credit or similar instrument shall be required unless waived by the approval authority for good cause. This section shall not apply to requests for a permit or approval to remedy a violation.

D. Any building erected or improvements constructed contrary to any of the requirements of a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC, and any use of any building or land which is conducted, operated or maintained contrary to any of the requirements of a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010, or permits issued pursuant thereto shall be and is declared to be unlawful.

E. The enforcement officer(s) for violations of the Thurston County Code Titles and Chapters 14, 15.05, 15.09 through 15.11, 17.09, 17.15, 17.20, 17.25, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, and 24 is the director of Resource Stewardship or his or her designee, for violations of Thurston County Code Title 13 and the remainder of 15 is the director of Public Works or his or her designee. For civil infraction and civil penalties purposes, the enforcement officer shall be designated by resolution of the board of county commissioners upon the recommendation of the director.

F. The prosecuting attorney is authorized to bring actions by any appropriate means to prevent the violation of a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010, and to enforce the provisions therein.

26.05.030 Calculation of penalties and damages.

A. Each violation of a provision of a section of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC, is a separate offense.

B. Each day in which such a violation is not remedied is a separate and distinct violation at the discretion of the director.

C. The director is not required to issue a notice of violation, notice of abatement, restoration order, stop work order, civil infraction, civil penalty or other order for each day of the violation.

D. The initiation of a singular remedy under this title, or a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC, for a violation does not preclude the initiation of a separate remedy.

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E. The County may seek recovery of all costs, fees, and expenses in connection with enforcement actions as damages against the violator. Costs, fees, and expenses may include, but are not limited to, costs of restoration, abatement, or cleanup, including staff time and court expenses.

26.05.040 Enforcement and violation remedies

A. If the director finds that any person, whether owner, lessee, principal, agent, employee or otherwise, violates a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010, or permits any such violation, or fails to comply with any of the requirements hereof, or who erects any building or uses any building or uses any land in violation of a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC, the director may:

1. Issue a stop work order to halt any activity which is in violation of this title;

2. Issue a restoration order for complete or partial restoration, rehabilitation, or replacement of a critical area or other effected site, structure or area by the property owner. It is the responsibility of the property owner(s) to contact and seek a remedy from any other person(s) who may be responsible for the violation;

3. Revoke a permit or approval;

4. Issue a civil infraction to the property owner(s) of record or to the known violator or both;

5. Issue a civil penalty to the property owner(s) of record or to the known violator or both;

6. Require abatement of an illegal use, structure or development; and

7. Request that the prosecuting attorney commence a criminal prosecution, seek a temporary restraining order or seek equitable relief to enjoin any act or practices and abate any conditions which constitute or will constitute a violation.

B. Prior to issuance of a civil infraction or a civil penalty or referral to the prosecuting attorney, the enforcement officer shall give the violator a written warning with an opportunity to cure the violation within thirty calendar days, except in situations where the violation being carried out cannot be undone or is an imminent public health or safety concern, or a greater or lesser timeframe is appropriate at the discretion of the director.

26.05.050 Abatement of illegal use, structure or development.

Any use, structure, site improvement, or development not established in compliance with use and development standards in effect at the time of establishment shall be deemed illegal and shall be discontinued or terminated and subject to removal.

26.05.060 Enforcement, violations, and penalties – Stop work orders.

Stop work orders shall become effective immediately upon posting of the stop work order in a conspicuous place on the property where the violation exists or when provided to the alleged violator. Failure to comply with the terms of a stop work order may result in additional

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enforcement actions including, but not limited to, the issuance of a civil infraction, civil penalty, or referral to the prosecuting attorney. The stop work order shall set forth the following terms and conditions:

A. A dated description of the nature and extent of the violation, and where appropriate, the damage or potential damage done; and

B. A notice that the violation or the potential violation cease immediately or, in appropriate cases, the specific corrective action to be taken within a given time.

26.05.070 Revocation of permits.

Unless otherwise provided or restricted by law, the director may, in writing, suspend or revoke a permit or approval required by a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC, whenever the permit is issued in error or on the basis of incorrect information, or in violation of an ordinance or regulation or any provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in 26.05.010 TCC, or when a use or building is being maintained in a manner contrary to the terms and conditions of the permit or approval.

26.05.080 Appeals.

Notices of violation, stop work orders, and restoration orders may be appealed to the County Hearing Examiner pursuant to Section 20.60.060 TCC. Appeal of a Hearing Examiner decision shall be submitted to Superior Court.

26.05.090 Code enforcement interpretation and application.

Where conflicts occur between code enforcement, violation and penalty regulations in this title and other regulations in the Thurston County Code listed in Section 26.05.010 TCC, the code enforcement regulations in this title shall supersede other titles, unless otherwise provided for in this title. For code enforcement regarding critical areas, the regulation more protective of preserving and maintaining critical areas shall apply.

26.05.100 Definitions.

A. The Thurston County Code Enforcement Ordinance governs code enforcement for a number of different titles and sections of the Thurston County Code specified in Section 26.05.010 TCC. Definitions for words may vary depending on which section of the Thurston County Code is violated. For the purposes of this title, words, phrases, or uses will be defined as they are in the respective title or section for which the code enforcement action is being taken.

B. The following definitions shall apply to this title:

“Department” or “department” means the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department or the Thurston County Public Works Department, as appropriate.

“Director” or “director” means the director of the Thurston County Resource Stewardship Department, or the director of the Thurston County Public Works Department, as appropriate, and the director’s designees.

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“TCC” means the Thurston County Code.

“Title” or “title” means Title 26 of the Thurston County Code unless otherwise stated.

26.05.110 Restoration orders for critical areas.

A. Restoration orders shall become effective immediately upon receipt by the person or property owner to whom the order is directed. Failure to comply with the terms of a restoration order may result in additional enforcement actions including, but not limited to, the issuance of a civil infraction, civil penalty, or referral to the prosecuting attorney.

B. If warranted due to the scale of the damage or the sensitivity of the affected critical area, associated buffer or dependent fish and wildlife habitat, the county may require submission of a restoration plan and implementation schedule prior to initiation of the restoration activity. If so, any development activity on the site where the violation occurred shall cease until the county approves the restoration plan and schedule. The plan shall be prepared by a qualified professional as determined by the approval authority, and shall describe how the proposed actions meet the requirements of this title. Restoration activities shall be reviewed by the approval authority under the requirements for a critical area review permit (Chapter 24.40 TCC). Inadequate plans as determined by the approval authority shall be returned to the violator/property owner for revision and resubmittal.

C. Restoration plans shall comply with the following requirements unless the property owner/violator demonstrates that equal or greater critical area and buffer functions can otherwise be obtained.

1. The pre-violation structure, condition, and functions of the critical area, associated buffer and management zone, as applicable, shall be restored including, but not limited to, topography; soil types; vegetation types, sizes and densities (not including noxious weeds or invasive plants); water quality; hydrologic functions; habitat functions; and other relevant conditions.

2. If information is not available regarding pre-violation conditions at the violation site, the county shall determine the restoration goals based on similar sites.

D. The property owner/violator shall submit a surety consistent with Chapter 24.70 TCC and with the requirements of Title 24 TCC to ensure that restoration is successful.

E. The property owner/violator shall be responsible for all costs associated with the restoration plan, including review costs.

26.05.120 Liability for violations.

The owner of property on which a violation of the Thurston County Code as specified in Section 26.05.010 TCC has occurred and the persons or entities carrying out actions in violation of the Thurston County Code as specified in Section 26.05.010 TCC are each responsible and liable for the violation.

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CHAPTER 26.10 CIVIL INFRACTIONS.

26.10.010 Civil infractions – Purpose.

26.10.030 Civil infractions – Procedures.

26.10.040 Civil infractions – Class of infraction.

26.10.010 Civil infractions – Purpose.

In addition to or as an alternative to any other judicial or administrative remedy provided herein or by law, any person who violates any portion of the Thurston County Code as listed in Section 26.05.010 TCC by each act of commission or omission, or procures, aids or abets such violation, may be subject to a civil infraction pursuant to Chapter 7.80 RCW. Civil infractions shall be heard and determined according to Chapter 7.80 RCW, as amended, and any applicable court rules. Pursuant to 7.80.120 RCW each person found to have committed a civil infraction shall be assessed a monetary penalty based on the class of infraction as provided in Section 26.10.040 TCC and Table 26-1. The purpose of this section is remedial. Use of the civil infraction procedure will better protect the public from the harmful effects of violations, and will aid enforcement.

26.10.030 Civil infractions – Procedures.

A. Hearing Procedure. Civil infractions shall be heard and determined according to Chapter 7.80 RCW, as amended, and any applicable court rules.

B. Identification of Violators. An enforcement officer issuing a notice of civil infraction shall take all due diligence to correctly identify the alleged violator.

C. Administrative Responsibilities. The director is responsible for assuring county compliance with 7.80.150 RCW. The director may publicize a list of persons found committed of violations in the newspaper or other means deemed appropriate.

D. Recording of Civil Infractions.

1. Notice of civil infraction may be recorded with the Thurston County Auditor against the property on which the violation took place in the following instances:

a. The owner of the property affected by the civil infraction has been given prior notice with an opportunity to cure the violation.

b. The person receiving the notice of civil infraction does not respond as required by 7.80.080 RCW

c. The person receiving the notice of civil infraction fails to appear at a hearing requested under 7.80.080(3) or (4) RCW.

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d. The person assessed a monetary penalty for the civil infraction fails to pay such penalty within the time required by law and does not appeal the penalty. If the penalty is appealed, the enforcement officer may record the notice of civil determination only if a penalty remains unpaid after a final appellate determination has been entered.

2. The auditor shall record any notice of civil infraction submitted for recording under this section.

3. Superceding of a Recording. The recording of a notice of civil infraction with the auditor shall be superceded with a subsequent recording when:

a. The civil infraction proceeding has been dismissed or decided in favor of the person to whom the notice was issued; or

b. Any monetary penalty assessed for the infraction has been paid and the violation has been remedied to the satisfaction of the county.

26.10.040 Civil infractions – Class of infraction.

With the exceptions as listed in Table 26-1, civil infractions for all violations of the Thurston County Code as listed in Section 26.05.010 TCC are Class 2. Applicable fines are set by state law.

CHAPTER 26.20 CIVIL PENALTIES

26.20.010 Civil penalties – Purpose.

26.20.120 Civil penalties – Identification of violators.

26.20.030 Civil penalties – Lien authorized.

26.20.040 Civil penalties – Personal obligation authorized.

26.20.050 Civil penalties – Notice lien may be claimed.

26.20.060 Civil penalties – Priority of lien.

26.20.070 Civil penalties – Claim of Lien.

26.20.080 Civil penalties – Recording.

26.20.090 Civil penalties – Duration of lien – Limitation of action.

26.20.100 Civil penalties – Foreclosure parties.

26.20.110 Civil penalties – Settlement of civil penalty claims.

26.20.120 Civil penalties – Notice, Right to Appeal and Final Penalty Assessment.

26.20.010 Civil penalties – Purpose.

In addition to, or as an alternative to, any other judicial or administrative remedy provided in the Thurston County Code or by law, any person who violates a provision of the Thurston County Code as listed in Section 26.05.010 TCC, by each act of commission or omission or procures, aids or abets such violation, may be subject to a civil penalty as provided in Section 26.20.110

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TCC and Table 26-1. All civil penalties assessed shall be enforced and collected in accordance with the lien, personal obligation, and other procedures specified in this title, or as authorized by law. The purpose of this section is coercive. Use of the civil penalty procedure will better protect the public from the harmful effects of violations, will aid enforcement, and will help reimburse the county for the expenses of enforcement. The Administrative Civil Penalty procedure adopted by this Chapter provides an additional and independent method of enforcement to procedures found elsewhere in Title 26 TCC.

26.20.020 Civil penalties – Identification of violators.

An enforcement officer issuing a notice of civil penalty shall take all due diligence to correctly identify the alleged violator.

26.20.030 Civil penalties – Lien authorized.

Upon the obtaining of a judgment by the Prosecuting Attorney after the authorization of Final Civil Penalties as described in this Chapter, Thurston County may claim a lien and record same with the County Auditor for any civil penalty imposed or for the cost of any work of abatement done pursuant to this title, or both, against the real property on which the civil penalty was imposed or any of the above work was performed.

26.20.040 Civil penalties – Personal obligation authorized.

The civil penalty and the cost of abatement are also joint and separate personal obligations of any person or party in violation. The prosecuting attorney on behalf of Thurston County may collect the civil penalty and the abatement work costs by use of all appropriate legal remedies.

26.20.050 Civil penalties – Notice lien may be claimed.

The notice of violation pursuant to violations of the Thurston County Code as listed in Section 26.05.010 TCC shall give notice to the owner that a lien for the civil penalty or the cost of abatement, or both, may be claimed by Thurston County.

26.20.060 Civil penalties – Priority of lien.

The lien shall be subordinate to all existing special assessment liens previously imposed upon the same property and shall be paramount to all other liens except for state and county taxes with which it shall be on a parity.

26.20.070 Civil penalties – Claim of Lien.

A. After 90 days from the date the civil penalty is due or within 90 days from the date of completion of the work or abatement performed pursuant to this title, the Prosecuting Attorney shall seek a judgment of the final civil penalties imposed by Thurston County. After obtaining judgment, the Director may cause a claim for lien to be filed for record in the Thurston County Auditor’s Office.

B. Contents. The claim of lien shall contain the following:

1. The authority for imposing a civil penalty, or proceeding to abate the violation, or both;

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2. A brief description of the civil penalty imposed, or the abatement work done, or both, including the violations charged and the duration thereof, including the time the work is commenced and completed and the name of the persons or organizations performing the work;

3. A description of the property to be charged with the lien;

4. The name of the known owner or reputed owner, and if not known the fact shall be alleged; and

5. The amount, including lawful and reasonable costs, for which the lien is claimed.

C. Verification. The director shall sign and verify the claim by oath to the effect that the affiant believes the claim is just.

D. The claim of lien may be amended in case of action brought to foreclose same, by order of the court, insofar as the interests of third parties shall not be detrimentally affected by amendment.

26.20.080 Civil penalties – Recording.

The director or his designee may record and index the claims and notices described in this chapter with the Thurston County Auditor.

26.20.090 Civil penalties – Duration of lien -Limitation of action.

No lien created by this title binds the property subject to the lien for a period longer than three years after the claim has been filed unless an action is commenced in the proper court within that time to enforce the lien.

26.20.100 Civil penalties – Foreclosure parties.

A. Foreclosure. The lien provided by this title may be foreclosed and enforced by a civil action in a court having jurisdiction.

B. Joinder. All persons who have legally filed claims of liens against the same property prior to commencement of the action shall be joined as parties, either plaintiff or defendant.

C. Actions saved. Dismissal of an action to foreclose a lien at the instance of a plaintiff shall not prejudice another party to the suit who claims a lien.

26.20.110 Civil penalties – Settlement of civil penalty claims.

The Director is authorized to settle and compromise claims for civil penalties accruing pursuant to this chapter where such settlement is clearly in the interests of Thurston County; provided, that the director shall periodically report such settlements and compromises to the board.

26.20.120 Civil penalties – Notice, Right to Appeal and Final Penalty Assessment

The Director or his designee shall serve the Notice of Civil Penalty upon the person to whom it is directed, either personally or by mailing a registered or certified copy of the Notice of Civil

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Penalty to such person at their last known address. If the person to whom it is directed cannot after due diligence be personally served within Thurston County and if an address for mailed service cannot after due diligence be ascertained, notice shall be served by posting a copy of the Notice of Civil penalty conspicuously on the affected property or structure. Proof of service shall be made by a written declaration under penalty of perjury executed by the person affecting the service, declaring the time and date of service, the manner which the service was made, and if by posting the facts showing that due diligence was used in attempting to serve the person or by mail.

A person to whom a Notice of Civil penalty has been issued may appeal the Notice of Civil Penalty to the Hearing Examiner. Appeal procedures shall be in accordance with Section 20.60.060 TCC and as described above in Section 26.05.080 TCC. Notice of Right to Appeal shall be indicated in the Notice of Civil Penalty. For daily or accruing civil penalties, Notice of Right to Appeal for each day that a civil penalty shall accrue should be conspicuously included in the Notice of Civil Penalty.

With the exceptions listed in Table 26-1, penalties for violations of the Thurston County Codes listed in 26.05.010 TCC shall be Class 2 civil penalties with an assessment of $256.00 for first violations and double that amount for subsequent violations within any five (5) year period. Violations listed in Table 26-1 shall be Class 1 civil penalties with an assessment set of $513.00 for first violations and double that amount for subsequent violations within any five (5) year period.

Prior to a final determination of assessment of civil penalties, Notice of Hearing for Final Assessment shall be sent to the person upon whom the final assessment would be directed. Notice and Right to Appeal shall be served as described above in this provision. At the hearing for Final Assessment, the Hearing Examiner shall take into consideration the following factors:

a) The person’s efforts to correct the violation and whether corrective action has been completed;

b) Whether the person failed to appear at the hearing;

c) Whether the violation was a complete violation;

d) Whether the person showed due diligence and/or substantial progress in correcting the violation;

e) The amount of time and resources expended to abate the violation;

f) Whether a genuine code interpretation issue exists; and

g) Any other relevant factors.

Upon considering the factors above, the Hearing Examiner shall make a Final Assessment constituting the total civil penalties to be imposed. Upon issuing a Final Order of Civil Penalty, the Thurston County Prosecuting Attorney shall seek to obtain judgment on the amount assessed unless the Final Order is appealed to the Superior Court under the provisions described in Section 20.60.060 TCC.

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Table 26-1: Class 1 Civil Infractions and Class 1 Civil Penalties Code Violation Description

1.Building or installation without a permit or proper permit

2. Change of occupancy violation

3.Dangerous Building

4.Grading or unlawful fill without a permit or proper permit

5.Unauthorized alteration of critical area or buffer

6.Failure to comply with stop work or restoration order

7.Removal or irreparable damage to each protected tree

8.Unauthorized work in the right-of-way

9.Any Class 2 civil infraction or civil penalty violation may be re-classified to a Class 1 if such violation is repetitive, is unduly detrimental in nature, or is committed by a repeat violator, as determined by the director