County LogoClallam County, Washington

^Arrow to Top^ About Code Enforcement

Code Enforcement is a division of the Department of Community Development dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for the citizens of Clallam County by providing effective public service in the enforcement of the County's zoning, nuisance and building codes. Our purpose is to protect the safety and welfare of our residents, and to promote and preserve community livability through an effective compliance program.

How does Code Enforcement directly affect you?

  • Adherence to County Codes prevents many safety, health and welfare issues that could cause unnecessary expense, damage to public resources or damage to real or personal property.
  • Observance of codes prevents the infringement of rights from one neighbor to another.

Code Enforcement does, and will, continue to positively impact the quality of life in Clallam County.

NOTE: It is the policy of Clallam County to emphasize code compliance by education and prevention as a first step. 

^Arrow to Top^Code Enforcement Officers

The Code Enforcement Officer has the authority to contact property owners who are in violation of the codes, inform them of the nature of the violations, and advise what must be done to correct them. Investigations of potential violations occur after receipt of a publicly generated complaint (Report a Violation), report of a violation by governmental agencies, or after a potential violation is observed by a Code Enforcement Officer or other staff. The officer is then required to provide written documents that detail the violations and ways for the responsible party to address them. Code Enforcement Officers will always seek voluntary compliance from a property owner or responsible party before seeking enforcement action.

^Arrow to Top^Common Types of Violations

The Department of Community Development (DCD) addresses issues listed below:

Building: Construction, Dangerous Buildings, Fire, Life, Safety.

Notice of Violoation - Stop Work

Planning: Critical Areas, Zoning, Forest Practices, Land Use, Shore Lines, Signs, etc.

Miscellaneous photos

Health and General Welfare: Junk Vehicle Assistance and Junk Vehicle Public Nuisance

Photo of junk vehicles

While DCD works closely with Environmental Health, there are two types of violations that fall under Environmental Health's jurisdiction through the County's Health Officer and the Board of Health: On-Site Septic and General Solid Waste.

With solid waste violations, Code Enforcement and Environmental Health can work together to address the violation through the Administrative Hearing process; however, all onsite septic code violations are handled by Environmental Health.

To report a Violation to Environmental Health, call 360-417-2258 or email

^Arrow to Top^County Code Reference

It is the intent of Clallam County to pursue code compliance actively and vigorously in order to protect the health, safety, and environment of the general public. (CCC 20.04.010(2)).

Code Compliance (Title 20) was updated in July 2018, adding in the use of the County’s Hearing Examiner to hear Code Enforcement matters at Administrative Hearings (CCC 20.33).  When a Notice of Violation is issued, an Administrative Hearing will be scheduled at no cost to the alleged violator. This allows both Code Enforcement and the alleged violator to explain their case. The Hearing Examiner can then issue an Order which states what corrective action needs to be taken and provides a deadline for that corrective action.

Code Enforcement is governed by Clallam County Codes, with focus on:

Health and General Welfare - (Title 19)

Building and Construction - (Title 21)

Planning and Zoning - (Title 26 and 33)

Shorelines - (Title 35)

Critical Areas and Wetlands, Floodplain Management, and Shorelines - (Title 27,  32 and 35)

Solid Waste - (Title 41.10)

All Codes can be found at this link: Clallam County Codes

Exceptions:

Code Enforcement is comprehensive, but does include exceptions, enforced by other County or state governmental entities:

What Code Enforcement does NOT enforce:

  • Encroachment or Neighborhood Civil Disputes:  If you feel your neighbor has encroached upon your property line, it is a civil issue that neither Code Enforcement nor the Sheriff’s Office will be involved in.
  • Fences: fences may be placed on a property line and do not require permits if they are less than 7 feet in height.
  • Noise: For amplified music or public disturbance noises, contact the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office non-emergency line at 360-417-2459.
  • Electrical Work: The Washington Department of Labor and Industries issues all electrical permits and conducts inspections of electrical work.  They may be reached at 360-417-2700.
  • Homeowner’s Association Covenants/Restrictions: If your local homeowner’s association has restrictive covenants, those are enforced solely by your HOA.

^Arrow to Top^How Do I Report a Violoation?

Code enforcement offers several options for residents to report potential violations in their neighborhood.

Phone:

360.565.2677

If you reach the voice mail,  please leave a message with your contact information and a brief description of your concerns, and a staff member will contact you as soon as possible.

Walk-in:

If you prefer to report a violation in person, please visit us at:

Department of Community Development (DCD)
Clallam County Courthouse
223 E. 4th Street, Suite 5
Port Angeles, WA 98362
Map To Location

Email:

You may email us at . Go to email form.

Please note that all e-mail sent to this address will be received by the Clallam County e-mail system and may be subject to Public Disclosure under Chapter 42.56 RCW and is subject to archiving and review by someone other than the recipient.  Also note Clallam County’s email system cannot accept attachments larger than 10MB in size.

Mail:

You may download a code violation report form, print and fill it out, and mail it in to us at:

Clallam County DCD – Code Enforcement
Clallam County Courthouse
223 E. 4th Street, Suite 5
Port Angeles, WA 98362

^Arrow to Top^Investigation Process: What to Expect

Whether you are reporting a violation, requesting assistance, or receiving a notice of violation, here are the basic steps Code Enforcement Officers will take to investigate.

1. Receive complaint or assistance request. 

  • Complaint can be made by any member of the public via phone, email, or mail.
  • Assistance Requests can be made by a property owner for junk vehicle removal.
  • Priority is on quick response to reporting parties on initial investigation or assistance request.

2. Create initial case report.

  • Case information is entered into tracking system, including any photos or documents submitted with complaint.
  • Initial research about parcel in question is conducted.

3. Assign case to Code Enforcement Officer for follow up of initial report.

  • Additional research about parcel conducted if needed.

4. Site visitation and meeting with involved parties. 

  • Initial visit may consist of photos and an attempt to contact property owner or tenant.
  • Initial contact is designed to be positive, informational, and educational for all stakeholders. Educational information may be handed out to responsible party.

5. Determine legitimacy of case

  • Confirm complaint type.
  • Establish legitimacy of case based on Departmental rules and County Codes.
  • Clarify specific codes which address the violation.

6. Meet with appropriate County staff for prioritization and establish time-line for correction of violation.

  • Prioritize case with guidelines laid out in CCC 20.080.050.
  • Several variables can and do effect corrective action timelines (such as weather/seasonal constraints for replanting, availability of engineers/contractors).
  • If violation has a routine or low-level priority, a letter may be sent to the complainant advising the case has been prioritized and will not yet be actively worked until higher priority cases are resolved.

7. Initial Letter to Property Owner/Responsible Party

  • Documentation of potential code violation is provided to the property owner or responsible party in an initial letter.
  • Specific code sections being violated are provided.
  • Steps for corrective action and a timeline for corrective action are provided.
  • We encourage voluntary compliance: a voluntary compliance agreement may be entered into at any time, and we encourage contact if there’s anything we can do to assist in resolving the violations.

8. Notice of Violation & Notice of Administrative Hearing

  • If corrective action has not been taken or there has been no response to the initial letter, a notice of violation will be issued.
  • The notice of violation will advise the responsible parties/property owner of a scheduled hearing before the County's Hearing Examiner.
  • The hearing allows both the responsible party and Code Enforcement an opportunity for the case to be discussed and for further action to be recommended by the Hearing Examiner. The hearing is held at no cost to the responsible party or property owner.
  • The Hearing Examiner issues orders determining corrective action(s) required, a compliance timeline, and can assess penalties for the violation(s) that have occurred.
  • The hearing may be cancelled if corrective actions are completed before the hearing date.
  • If corrective actions are not taken the case can be referred to the County’s Prosecuting Attorney for further legal action.

9. Final Inspection and Certificate of Correction

  • Necessary to confirm violation has been corrected and meets current Clallam County codes. 

^Arrow to Top^Prioritization

It is the County’s policy to investigate and to attempt to resolve all potential code violations. At the discretion of the Director, potential violations may be processed in any order that maximizes the efficiency of enforcement. However, at times when not all potential code violations can be investigated due to lack of resources or otherwise, the most serious potential violations should be addressed before less serious potential violations. While County Code Title 20 authorizes Clallam County to take action to enforce laws and regulations, it shall not be construed as placing responsibility for code compliance or enforcement upon Clallam County in any particular case.

  The following guidelines should be applied by the Director in prioritizing responses to potential violations:

Urgent Level Priority (Emergency)

  • Violations that present an imminent threat to public health or safety
  • Violations that present a high risk of damage to public resources and/or facilities
  • Serious violations already in progress/occurring that can be stopped.

Important Level Priority

  • Violations involving a regulated use or activity under Chapter 27.12 CCC, Clallam County Critical Areas Code, or CCC Title 32, Floodplain Management, or involving shorelines or shorelands under Chapter 35.01 CCC, Shoreline Management.
  • Violations that may result in damage to real or personal property.
  • Violations of permit conditions; building work without a permit, faulty or unsafe construction and/or construction of habitable space.

Routine/Low Level Priority

  • Violations that do not fit within any of the previous categories and have only minor public impacts.  These violations should be processed in the order which they are received, and as resources allow.

^Arrow to Top^Partnerships

The Code Enforcement Team has developed a large base of knowledge and a growing list of partnerships within the county. We regularly communicate with a range of County departments, a growing array of local businesses who provide contracted services, and other jurisdictions within the county.

Local County Departments:

Code Enforcement works with the following county departments:

  • Auditors Office
  • Boards and Commissions
  • Department of Community Development
    • Building: Construction, Dangerous Structures, Fire/Life/Safety
    • Planning: Critical Areas, Land Use, Forest Practices, Shore Lines, Signage
  • Environmental Health
    • Board of Health: On-Site Septic, General Solid Waste
    • Health and General Welfare: Littering, Junk Vehicles
  • Human Resources
    • Public Records Requests
  • Parks and Recreation
  • Public Works
  • Roads
    • Road Approach, Storm Water
  • Sheriff's Office
    • Volunteer Coordination
    • Deputy Assistance for safety

County Businesses:

Multiple vendors and specialists are often necessary for addressing health and safety issues when violations are large in scale, and especially when solid waste (tires, junk vehicles, putrid waste, etc.) are required to be removed from the premises.

These services include:

  • General Construction
  • Tow yards
  • Scrap yards
  • Waste Disposal
  • Heavy Equipment Operators

Non-Jurisdictional (Community Based):

Multi-level partnerships with other jurisdictions within Clallam County are an important part of being able to provide through and accurate reviews of complex health, safety, and welfare issues.

Community Resources

Code Enforcement staff have compiled a comprehensive list of community resources available in Clallam County for various types of assistance including housing resources, substance abuse treatment, medical, dental and mental healthcare, food assistance, veteran's assistance, and more. The list is frequently updated and can be found here.

Other local resources can be found by dialing 211 or visiting www.win211.org.

^Arrow to Top^Broken Window Theory

The central theme of the broken window theory holds that when neighborhoods appear to be broken down, disordered, and generally unfriendly, they serve as a magnet to delinquent behavior and crime.

Photo of broken windows

To present their theory, Dr. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling use the example of a building with a broken window that remains unrepaired. This image of disorder then encourages further incivility, telling residents and other passersby that it doesn't matter and that no one cares. This encourages further uncivilized activity which eventually balloons the neighborhood into a slum like, crime-filled area. In run down neighborhoods, other examples of social disorder include damaged or boarded up homes and buildings, graffiti and vandalism, loitering or solicitation, and disorderly conduct by people in the area.

Broken windows theory proposes that crime is not necessarily caused by broken down neighborhoods, but that they become magnets for crime and delinquent behavior because of their disorganization. Residents may become more lax in their civility and criminals and other delinquents may then be drawn to these areas of lawlessness.

Washington State recently passed House Bill 2057, which addresses homes that are abandoned and in mid-foreclosure. This bill allow mortgage service provides to request inspections of abandoned properties to determine if they are abandoned and creating a public nuisance, which can help the abatement process move forward more quickly.

^Arrow to Top^2018 Milestones and Accomplishments

2018 was a busy year for Code Enforcement. From 2015 to mid-2018, Code Enforcement consisted of one full-time officer, plus volunteer support. DCD Director Mary Ellen Winborn secured funding for additional staffing, hiring additional Code Enforcement Officers and a full-time administrative specialist.

In July 2018, the code revision for Title 20: Code Compliance was completed, adding in a new process for Code Enforcement matters to be taken before the County's Hearing Examiner. By the end of June 2019, seven hearing dates were completed with a total of 25 hearings on 19 different cases. Administrative hearing dates are scheduled through the end of 2019.

Code Enforcement has worked to create more public visibility and strives to promote education and outreach as a first step for those we work with. Our staff compiled a comprehensive community resources list which we frequently disperse to those in need of support; we also keep educational brochures and code references in our outreach kit while out in the field.

Here's a look at our complaint case statistics through 2019:

Year

Total

Open

Closed

% Closed

2015

163 Total Cases

29 open

134 closed 

82%

2016

174 Total Cases

38 open

136 closed

78%

2017

249 Total Cases

59 open

190 closed

76%

2018

315 Total Cases

120 open

195 closed

62%

2019 (to date)

138 Total Cases

82 open

 56 closed

40%

Totals

1039 Total Cases

328 open

711 closed

  68%