Common Code Questions:
How do I report an abandoned vehicle? What happens next?
Under city code 10.12.020 no vehicle can park in the same location any more than 24 hours without moving. If you see cars, boats, travel trailers,or any other type of recreational vehicle that appears to be stored in the street and want to let Code Compliance know about it call us at 509-244-3707 Code Compliance will mark the vehicle and re-check it for movement in twenty-four hours. If it hasn’t moved, one of two things can happen. Code compliance may contact the owner or leave a courtesy flyer on the vehicle letting the owner know to move it or it will be tagged for 24 hour tow. Or it may be tagged immediately for 24 hour tow if it appears abandoned or presents a hazard. If the vehicle is not street legal in the first place (expired tags, flat tires, and appears inoperable) Code will tag it immediately for twenty-four hour tow as it cannot be on the city streets if it’s not street legal.
My neighbor’s grass is dead and full of out of control weeds. Can the city do something to make them take care of it?
Currently, there are no city statues that require property owner’s to water their grass so Code Enforcement cannot force a property owner to keep it green. However, under Code 8.08.030 the city has a statue that prohibits the growth of weeds/ vegetation over eight inches in height and we can require the property owner to cut it down. For large areas such as vacant lots, the code requires the property owner to maintain a fire break even if they don’t cut it all down.
I want to have chickens in the city, is this allowed?
Yes, with limitations! Chapter 6.05.030 gives more information but you are allowed up to four chickens under set circumstances. However, no roosters are allowed in city limits.
Who’s responsible for cutting the grass and keeping the weeds at bay in the city right of way in front of my house and in the alley behind my house?
Under City Code, the property owner is responsible for maintaining the right of way in front of their home, the sidewalk and the area behind their home (alley). This means the weeds must be cut down in all areas. For renters this means the property owner is still legally responsible and will likely contact you if we contact them.
The neighbor is a hoarder and I am sick of looking at his junk pile. What can I do to make them get rid of this stuff?
Hoarding is a huge concern for the health and safety of the neighborhood and Code Compliance works to act on these concerns quickly. Under City Code 8.08.20 Junk is defined in detail and it cannot be stored on the property in public view. The Code Compliance Officer will work to get the property owner to comply with a cleanup effort, and failing that, the property owner will be cited and if the problem still persist, the property will be abated and the home owner will be billed for the cleanup. Failing to pay the cleanup bill will result in a lien being placed against the property which will have to be paid before a house could be sold.
Can I store my personal property in the right of way in front of my home?
No, the right of way must be kept clear and the intent is for vehicles to be able to park there. Personal property left in the right of way can be disposed of by the city, the property owner can be cited and can be billed for the cost to clean up. The only thing allowed in the right of way are vehicles. Further you can be cited for illegal dumping for leaving anything in the right of way other than a vehicle.
I think people are living/ camping on my street in their RV what can I do?
Currently our Municipal Codes do not give Code Enforcement any ability to stop camping beyond enforcing a 24 hour parking rule. However, if you call Code Enforcement at 509-244-3707 and let me know where, when and what, I will make contact with the unit and let them know about our 24 hour parking rule and help them find resources to relocate if possible. Currently this solution has been working successfully with campers behind Walmart where most of our temporary travelers seem to end up.
If it is after hours to reach Code Compliance (Monday-Thursday 7 to 5) please either call the Police, crime check or leave a message for Code Compliance to address the next working business day.
Why can't I have a free pile in front of my house?
Code Compliance appreciates you are trying to keep items out of the landfill however there are plenty of thrift store drop boxes set up in town and thrift stores in nearby Spokane that are happy to take your gently used items for re-sell. There are several concerns with placing items in free piles:
1) Items get scattered by people or the windstorms and it looks trashy very quickly.
2) Not all items placed for pickup are gently used. Many people use the curbside as a way to avoid dump fees and it creates blight which most neighbors don't appreciate it.
3) The odds that the right person will happen along your street and want your item are not always great which means free piles can sit for a long time and truly become trash which keeps them from being re-used by anyone.
If you have items for donation there are several non-profits that are happy to assist and you can probably find an organization that you support by a simple google search. In the meantime curbed items are subject to a citations for either illegal dumping (on city property) or for not maintaining your property (city code) so please don't do it.