PDFRCW 46.55.240

Local ordinancesRequirements.

(1) A city, town, or county that adopts an ordinance or resolution concerning unauthorized, abandoned, or impounded vehicles shall include the applicable provisions of this chapter.
(a) A city, town, or county may, by ordinance, authorize other impound situations that may arise locally upon the public right-of-way or other publicly owned or controlled property.
(b) A city, town, or county ordinance shall contain language that establishes a written form of authorization to impound, which may include a law enforcement notice of infraction or citation, clearly denoting the agency's authorization to impound.
(c) A city, town, or county may, by ordinance, provide for release of an impounded vehicle by means of a promissory note in lieu of immediate payment, if at the time of redemption the legal or registered owner requests a hearing on the validity of the impoundment. If the municipal ordinance directs the release of an impounded vehicle before the payment of the impoundment charges, the municipality is responsible for the payment of those charges to the registered tow truck operator within thirty days of the hearing date.
(d) The hearing specified in RCW 46.55.120(2) and in this section may be conducted by an administrative hearings officer instead of in the district court. A decision made by an administrative hearing officer may be appealed to the district court for final judgment.
(2) A city, town, or county may adopt an ordinance establishing procedures for the abatement and removal as public nuisances of junk vehicles or parts thereof from private property. Costs of removal may be assessed against the registered owner of the vehicle if the identity of the owner can be determined, unless the owner in the transfer of ownership of the vehicle has complied with RCW 46.12.650, or the costs may be assessed against the owner of the property on which the vehicle is stored. A city, town, or county may also provide for the payment to the tow truck operator or wrecker as a part of a neighborhood revitalization program.
(3) Ordinances pertaining to public nuisances shall contain:
(a) A provision requiring notice to the last registered owner of record and the property owner of record that a hearing may be requested and that if no hearing is requested, the vehicle will be removed;
(b) A provision requiring that 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 identification numbers are not available to determine ownership;
(c) A provision that the ordinance shall not apply to (i) 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 (ii) 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;
(d) A provision that 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 his or her 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 or she has not subsequently acquiesced in its presence, then the local agency 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;
(e) A provision that after notice has been given of the intent of the city, town, or county to dispose of the vehicle and after a hearing, if requested, has been held, the vehicle or part thereof shall be removed at the request of a law enforcement officer with notice to the Washington state patrol and the department of licensing that the vehicle has been wrecked. The city, town, or county may operate such a disposal site when its governing body determines that commercial channels of disposition are not available or are inadequate, and it may make final disposition of such vehicles or parts, or may transfer such vehicle or parts to another governmental body provided such disposal shall be only as scrap.
(4) A registered disposer under contract to a city or county for the impounding of vehicles shall comply with any administrative regulations adopted by the city or county on the handling and disposing of vehicles.
[ 2010 c 161 § 1122; 2010 c 8 § 9064; 1994 c 176 § 2; 1991 c 292 § 3; 1989 c 111 § 17; 1987 c 311 § 20; 1985 c 377 § 24.]


Reviser's note: This section was amended by 2010 c 8 § 9064 and by 2010 c 161 § 1122, each without reference to the other. Both amendments are incorporated in the publication of this section under RCW 1.12.025(2). For rule of construction, see RCW 1.12.025(1).
Effective dateIntentLegislation to reconcile chapter 161, Laws of 2010 and other amendments made during the 2010 legislative session2010 c 161: See notes following RCW 46.04.013.