Chapter 8.50
ABANDONED AND JUNKED
MOTOR VEHICLES

Sections:

8.50.010  Statutes adopted by reference.

8.50.020  Administrative hearing officer.

8.50.030  Abatement and removal of unauthorized junk motor vehicles or parts thereof from private property.

8.50.040  Abatement and removal of automobile hulks and/or abandoned vehicles on private property – Contents.

8.50.050  Disposition of abandoned junk motor vehicles.

8.50.060  Stolen and abandoned vehicles – Reports of notice – Disposition.

8.50.070  Owner of record presumed liable for costs when vehicle abandoned – Exceptions.

8.50.080  Owner or agent required to pay charges – Lien.

8.50.090  Impounding not to prevent prosecution.

8.50.100  Contract with registered disposer to dispose of vehicles and hulks – Compliance required.

8.50.110  Unlawful to abandon junk motor vehicles.

8.50.120  Abandoning vehicles unlawful.

8.50.125  Written impound authorization form.

8.50.200  Penalties.

8.50.300  Severability.

8.50.010 Statutes adopted by reference.

The following statutes of the state of Washington, including all future amendments thereto, are adopted by reference:

RCW

46.55.010 Definitions

46.55.070 Posting requirements – Exception

46.55.080 Law enforcement impound, private impound

46.55.085 Law enforcement impound – Abandoned vehicle

46.55.090 Storage, return requirements – Personal belongings – Combination endorsement for tow truck drivers – Authority to view impounded vehicle

46.55.100 Impound notice – Abandoned vehicle

46.55.110 Notice to legal and registered owners

46.55.113 Removal by police officer, when

46.55.120 Redemption of vehicles – Sale of unredeemed vehicles

46.55.130 Notice requirements – Public auction – Accumulation of storage charges

46.55.140 Operator's lien, deficiency claim, liability

46.55.230 Junk vehicles – Certification, notification, removal, sale

[Ord. 2736, 1989; Ord. 2592 § 2, 1986; Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.020 Administrative hearing officer.

All hearings required under this chapter, including the hearing required by RCW 46.55.120(2), shall be conducted by an administrative hearings officer instead of the district court. The Edmonds hearing examiner shall serve as the administrative hearings officer. A decision made by an administrative hearing officer shall be final. [Ord. 2592 § 3, 1986].

8.50.030 Abatement and removal of unauthorized junk motor vehicles or parts thereof from private property.

A. The storage or retention of an unauthorized junk motor vehicle, as defined in RCW 46.55.010(5), on private property is declared to constitute a public nuisance subject to removal and impoundment. The police shall inspect and investigate complaints relative to unauthorized junk motor vehicles or parts thereof on private property. Upon discovery of such nuisance, the police department shall give notice in writing to the last registered owner of record to abate the nuisance or face removal of said vehicle and informing the property owner of record that a hearing before the Edmonds hearing examiner may be requested in writing directed to the chief of police within 10 days of said notice. If no hearing is requested within 10 days, the vehicle will be removed.

B. 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 last registered and legal owner of record unless the vehicle is in such condition that the identification numbers are not available to determine ownership.

C. 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. If it is determined at the hearing that the vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner and that he has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the court shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the vehicle against the property upon which the vehicle is located or otherwise attempt to collect the cost from the owner.

D. Costs of removal of vehicles or parts thereof under this section shall be assessed against the last registered owner of the vehicle or automobile hulk if the identity of the owner can be determined unless the owner in the transfer of ownership of the vehicle or automobile hulk has complied with RCW 46.12.101, or the costs may be assessed against the owner of the property on which the vehicle is stored unless the property owner establishes the facts set forth above in subsection (B) of this section.

E. This section shall not apply to:

1. A vehicle or part thereof that is completely enclosed within a building 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 a police officer and disposed of to a licensed motor vehicle wrecker or hulk hauler with notice to the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked. [Ord. 2592 § 4, 1986].

8.50.040 Abatement and removal of automobile hulks and/or abandoned vehicles on private property – Contents.

A. The storage or retention of an automobile hulk and/or abandoned vehicle on private property is declared to constitute a public nuisance subject to removal and impoundment. The police shall inspect and investigate complaints relative to the automobile hulks and/or abandoned vehicles or parts thereof on private property. Upon discovery of such nuisance, the police department shall give notice in writing to the last registered owner of record of the automobile hulk and/or abandoned vehicle and also to the property owner of record that a public hearing may be requested before the city council and that if no hearing is requested within 10 days the automobile hulk and/or abandoned vehicle will be removed. Costs of removal may be assessed against the last registered owner of the abandoned hulk and/or abandoned vehicle if the identity of such owner can be determined, or the costs may be assessed against the owner of the property on which the automobile hulk and/or abandoned vehicle is stored.

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

C. This section shall not apply to:

1. An automobile hulk or part thereof which is completely enclosed within a building in a lawful manner where it is not visible from the highway or other public or private property, or

2. An automobile hulk or part thereof which is stored or parked in a lawful manner on private property in connection with the business of a licensed dismantler or licensed vehicle dealer fenced according to the provisions of RCW 46.80.130.

D. The owner of the land on which the automobile hulk and/or abandoned 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 hulk and/or abandoned vehicle on the land, with his reasons for such denial. If it is determined at the hearing that the hulk and/or abandoned vehicle was placed on the land without the consent of the landowner and that he has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the city council shall not assess costs of administration or removal of the hulk and/or abandoned vehicle against the property upon which the hulk is located or otherwise collect such costs from the property owner.

E. After notice has been given of the intent of the city to dispose of the automobile hulk and/or abandoned vehicle and after a hearing, if requested, has been held, the automobile or part thereof shall be removed at the request of a police officer and disposed of to a licensed motor vehicle wrecker or hulk hauler with notice to the Washington State Patrol and the Department of Licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked.

F. The city shall, within 30 days after removal of an automobile hulk and/or abandoned vehicle from private property, file for record with the county auditor to claim a lien for the cost of removal, which shall be in substance in accordance with the provisions covering mechanics' liens in Chapter 60.04 RCW, and said lien shall be foreclosed in the same manner as such liens. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.050 Disposition of abandoned junk motor vehicles.

A. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the chief of police on his own volition, or upon request from a private person having the right to possession of property upon which an abandoned junk motor vehicle has been left, shall inspect and may authorize the disposal of an abandoned junk motor vehicle. The chief of police shall record the make of such vehicle, the serial number or vehicle identification number if available, and shall also detail the damaged or missing equipment to verify that the value of such abandoned junk vehicle is equivalent to the value of the scrap metal therein only. He shall prepare in duplicate for each such abandoned junk motor vehicle an authorization to dispose on a form provided by the department. He shall issue the original copy of such authorization to dispose of any licensed hulk hauler, motor vehicle wrecker, or scrap processor for the purpose of acquiring an abandoned junk motor vehicle; provided, that such acquisition is for the purpose of ultimate transfer to and demolition by a licensed scrap processor.

B. Any monies arising from the disposal of abandoned junk motor vehicles shall be deposited in the city's general fund. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.060 Stolen and abandoned vehicles – Reports of notice – Disposition.

A. It shall be the duty of the chief of police to report immediately to the chief of the Washington State Patrol all motor vehicles reported to him as stolen or recovered upon forms to be provided by the chief of the Washington State Patrol.

B. In the event that any motor vehicle reported as stolen has been recovered, the person so reporting the same as stolen shall be guilty of a misdemeanor unless he shall report the recovery thereof to the chief of police to whom such motor vehicle was reported stolen.

C. It shall be the duty of the chief of police to report to the chief of the Washington State Patrol all vehicles or automobile hulks found abandoned on a highway or at any other place and the same shall at the direction of a law enforcement officer be placed in the custody of a registered disposer. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.070 Owner of record presumed liable for costs when vehicle abandoned – Exceptions.

A. The abandonment of any vehicle or automobile 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 a seller's report of sale on a form prescribed by the director. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.080 Owner or agent required to pay charges – Lien.

A. Any costs incurred in the removal and storage of an impounded vehicle shall be a lien upon the vehicle. All towing and storage charges on such vehicle impounded shall be paid by the owner or his agent if the vehicle is redeemed. In the case of abandoned vehicles, all costs of removal and storage shall be paid by the owner or his agent if the vehicle is redeemed, but if not redeemed, such costs shall be received from the proceeds of sale.

B. Either a registered or legal owner may claim an impounded vehicle by payment of all charges that have accrued to the time of reclamation. If the vehicle was impounded at the direction of a law enforcement agency, the person in possession of the vehicle prior to the time of reclamation shall notify such agency of the fact that the vehicle has been claimed, and by whom. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.090 Impounding not to prevent prosecution.

The impounding of a vehicle shall not preclude charging the violator with any violation of the law on account of which such vehicle was impounded. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.100 Contract with registered disposer to dispose of vehicles and hulks – Compliance required.

A. The city may contract with any tow truck operator who is engaged in removing and storing of vehicles and who is registered as a registered disposer by the department for the purpose of disposing of certain automobile hulks, abandoned junk motor vehicles and abandoned vehicles.

B. Any registered disposer under contract to the city for the removing and storing of vehicles or hulks shall comply with the administrative regulations relative to the handling and disposing of vehicles or hulks as may be promulgated by the police chief or the director. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.110 Unlawful to abandon junk motor vehicles.

No person shall wilfully leave an abandoned junk motor vehicle on private property for more than 24 hours without the permission of the person having the right to possession of the property, or upon or within the right-of-way of any highway or other property open to the public for purposes of vehicular travel or parking for 24 hours or longer without notification to the chief of police of the reasons for leaving the motor vehicle in such a place. For the purposes of this section, the fact that a motor vehicle has been so left without permission or notification is prima facie evidence of abandonment. Any person convicted of abandoning a junk motor vehicle shall be assessed any costs incurred by the city in disposing of such abandoned junk motor vehicle less any monies accrued to the city from such disposal. [Ord. 2083 § 1, 1979; Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.120 Abandoning vehicles unlawful.

No person shall leave or permit a vehicle to remain on any highway or private property without the permission of the owner longer than 24 hours; provided, however, said vehicles may remain on the highway for a period not to exceed 72 hours if it is lawfully parked. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.125 Written impound authorization form.

Whenever an officer impounds a vehicle pursuant to the provisions of this chapter, the officer shall complete an authorization form approved by the chief of police which specifies the section of this chapter or Chapter 46.55 RCW authorizing the impound. In the alternative, a law enforcement notice of infraction or citation for an offense which authorizes the impound may be substituted at the officer's discretion. [Ord. 2736, 1989].

8.50.200 Penalties.

Any person violating any provision of this chapter shall be guilty of an infraction and shall be punished by a maximum penalty of $250.00. [Ord. 2592 § 5, 1986; Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].

8.50.300 Severability.

If any section, subsection, clause or phrase or word of this chapter is for any reason held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, such invalidity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity or constitutionality of the remaining portions of this chapter. [Ord. 2076 § 1, 1979].