Except where specifically defined in this section, all words used in this chapter shall carry their customary meanings. The word “shall” is always mandatory, and the word “may” denotes a use of discretion in making a decision. The following words and phrases used in this title shall have the following meanings:
“Abate” means to take whatever steps are deemed necessary in the interest of the general health, safety, and welfare of the city by the director to return a property to the condition in which it existed before a civil code violation occurred or to assure that the property complies with applicable code requirements. Abatement may include, but is not limited to, rehabilitation, demolition, removal, replacement or repair.
“Appeal hearing” means a hearing requested in response to a notice of violation, stop work order, or other official written notice of violation issued by the director to contest the finding that a violation occurred or to contest that the person cited for a violation is responsible for the violation.
“Civil penalty” or “monetary penalty” means a fine or fee levied as a consequence for a civil violation, civil infraction or stop work order.
“Civil violation” or “code violation” or “violation” means and includes one or more of the following:
1. Any act or omission contrary to any ordinance, resolution, regulation or public rule of the city that regulates or protects public health, the environment or the use and development of land or water, whether or not the ordinance, resolution or regulation is codified.
2. Any act or omission contrary to the conditions of any permit, violation notice or stop work or other order issued pursuant to any such ordinance, resolution, regulation or public rule.
“Complainant” means the person that makes a complaint to the city reporting a violation or potential violation.
“Compliance” means the violation has been abated, remediated or otherwise resolved and any applicable penalties or costs have been paid.
“Costs” means, but is not limited to, contract expenses and city employee labor expenses incurred in abating a nuisance; a rental fee for city equipment used in abatement; costs of storage, disposal, or destruction; legal expenses and attorneys’ fees associated with civil judicial enforcement of abatement orders or in seeking abatement orders; and any other costs incurred by the city, excluding fees and expenses associated with appeals authorized by this code or by state law.
“De minimis” means a civil violation that is of very low impact and poses low risk to the health, safety and welfare of the public and to the environment.
“Development” means the erection, alteration, enlargement, demolition, maintenance or use of any structure or the alteration or use of land above, at, or below ground or water level, and all acts authorized by a city permit or regulation.
“Director” means the director of the community planning and development department, or their designee.
“Excessive complaint” means a complainant that repeatedly reports to the city the same or closely related issues in a manner that may be intended to harass or antagonize the alleged person responsible.
“Found in violation” means that:
1. A notice of violation, stop work order or infraction has been issued and not timely appealed; or
2. The hearing examiner has determined that the violation has occurred and the hearing examiner’s determination has not been stayed or reversed on appeal.
“Frivolous complaint” means a complaint that is based on an issue that is not a code violation or is a de minimus violation. The complaint may be an attempt to harass or antagonize the alleged person responsible.
“Hearing examiner” means the city of Mercer Island hearing examiner, as provided in Chapter 3.40 MICC.
“Infraction” or “civil infraction” means any code violation designated as an infraction or civil infraction by the director pursuant to Chapter 7.80 RCW, incorporated herein by reference.
“Mortgagee” means a financial institution, including a bank, credit union or other commercial lender, which holds mortgaged property as security for repayment of a loan.
“Notice of violation” means a written statement, issued by the director, that contains the information required under MICC 6.10.050(B)(1) notifying a person that they are responsible for one or more civil violations of the MICC, orders the timely correction of the same, and/or assesses civil penalty for failure to timely correct.
“Nuisance” (also referred to herein as “violation” or “nuisance violation”) means:
1. A violation of any city of Mercer Island development, land use, or public health ordinance;
2. Doing an act, omitting to perform any act or duty, or permitting or allowing any act or omission that annoys, injures, or endangers the comfort, repose, health, or safety of others, is unreasonably offensive to the senses, or that obstructs or interferes with the free use of property so as to interfere with or disrupt the free use of that property by any lawful owner or occupant;
3. Potential vermin habitat or fire hazard; or
4. Junk Vehicles. A “junk vehicle” includes apparent inoperable, immobile, disassembled, or extensively damaged vehicles. In addition, any wrecked, inoperable, abandoned, or disassembled trailer, house trailer, boat, tractor, automobile, other vehicle, or any parts thereof.
“Owner” means any owner, part owner, joint owner, tenant in common, tenant in partnership, joint tenant, or tenant by the entirety, of the whole or of a part of a building or land.
“Permit” means any form of certificate, approval, registration, license or any other written permission issued by the city of Mercer Island. All conditions of approval, and all easements and use limitations shown on the face of an approved final plat which are intended to serve or protect the general public, are deemed conditions applicable to all subsequent plat property owners and their tenants and agents as permit requirements enforceable under this chapter.
“Person responsible for the violation” or “person responsible” or “violator” means any of the following: the person doing the work; a person who has titled ownership or legal control of the property or structure that is subject to the violation; an occupant or other person in control of the property or structure that is subject to the violation; a developer, builder, business operator, or owner who is developing, building, or operating a business on the property or in a structure that is subject to the violation; a mortgagee that has filed an action in foreclosure on the property that is subject to the violation, based on breach or default of the mortgage agreement, until title to the property is transferred to a third party; a mortgagee of property that is subject to the violation and has not been occupied by the owner, the owner’s tenant, or a person having the owner’s permission to occupy the premises for a period of at least 90 days; or any person who created, caused, participated in, or has allowed a violation to occur.
“Public nuisance” means a nuisance that affects equally the rights of an entire community or neighborhood, although the extent of the damage may be unequal.
“Repeat violation” means a violation that has occurred on the same property or that has been committed by the same person responsible elsewhere within the city, for which voluntary compliance previously has been agreed to or any enforcement action taken that was not timely appealed or if appealed, the appeal was dismissed, within the previous 36-month period. (For purposes of this subsection, repeat violation does not include each day in violation being counted as a separate violation.) To constitute a repeat violation, the violation need not be the same violation as the prior violation. Violation of a written order of the hearing examiner that has been served as provided in this chapter shall also constitute a repeat violation.
“Resolution” means any resolution adopted by the Mercer Island city council.
“Stop work order” means a written order specifying code violations and prohibiting any work or other activity at a particular site.
“Voluntary compliance agreement” or “VCA” means a written contract between the person responsible for the violation and the city, under which such person agrees to abate the violation within a specified time and according to specified conditions. (Ord. 18C-06 § 2 (Att. A)).