About Code Enforcement
Initially approved by the Clallam County Commissioners in 2006, Code Enforcement is a collaboration between the Clallam County Sheriff's Office and the Department of Community Development serving all of Clallam County
Officially under the Sheriff's Office as of January 1, 2011, the Code Enforcement Team works with the public to enforce Health, Safety, and Welfare issues county wide. Code
enforcement is intended to ensure
the public observes county codes and ordinances, maintain quality of living environments
in neighborhoods and communities, and is a vital aspect of maintaining public safety and mobility. Codes regulate matters related to public safety, zoning
matters, public commerce, county cleanliness, public advertisements and displays,
vehicular issues and environmental matters.
How does Code Enforcement directly affect you?:
- Adherence to County Codes prevent many safety, health and welfare issues that would cause unnecessary expense, devastation, and loss of life.
- Observance of codes prevents the infringement of rights from one neighbor to another.
As a vital component of Community Policing, Code Enforcement dovetails resources with local partnerships, county angencies, and maintains open and effective communication with affected areas through programs like Neighborhood Watch. Through these efforts, property values are enhanced, criminal behavior is reduced or eliminated, and neighborhoods are re-vitalized.
Code Enforcement has been recognized as a critical component of the Sheriff's Department in the delivery of effective law enforcement services and community redevelopment, especially with the current economic conditions. Clallam County remains one of the lowest staffed agencies in the officer per thousand in the state of Washington and the enlistment of community support has become critical in the delivery and follow-up of services.
Code Enforcement does, and will, continue to positively impact the quality of life in Clallam County.
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.
To present their theory, Dr. James Q. Wilson and George Kelling use the example of a building with a
broken window that remains un-repaired. 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.
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
what must be done to correct them. The contact is accomplished via complaints (Report a Violation), governmental agencies or by discovering the violation on their
own. The officer is then required to provide written documents that detail the
infractions and ways to address them.
After addressing the initial backlog of 600 violations in 2007, Code Enforcement averages over 400 investigative cases each calendar year. Violations cover a broad range of county codes under a variety of county departments.
The bulk of violations fall under two main areas:
Environmental Health Issues: 60%
Board of Health: On-Site Septic, General Solid Waste.
Health and General Welfare: Littering, Junk Vehicle Removal.
Community Development (DCD) Issues: 40%
Building: Construction, Dangerous Buildings, Fire, Life, Safety.
Planning: Critical Areas, Zoning, Forest Practices, Land Use, Shore Lines, Signs, etc.
NOTE: The vast majority of the unit’s cases are processed through a voluntary compliance mitigation procedure which is time variant depending on the type, severity and complexity of the case, as well as the ability of the parcel owner/resident to effectively address the issues based on personal factors pertaining to their situation.
County Code Enforcement 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)
Code Enforcement is governed by Clallam County Codes, with focus on:
Business Licenses and Regulations - (Title 7)
Building and Construction - (Title 21)
Critical Areas and Wetlands, Floodplain Management - (Title 32)
Environmental and Solid Waste - (Title 41)
Health and General Welfare - (Title 19)
Planning and Zoning - (Title 26 and 33)
Public Peace, Safety, Morals - (Title 15)
Roads, Highways, and Bridges - (Title 9)
Shorelines - (Title 35)
All Codes can be found at this link Clallam County Codes
Code Enforcement is comprehensive, but does include exceptions, enforced by other County entities:
- Animals (Animal Control)
- Traffic (County Roads Division)
- Finance (Department of Revenue)
How Do I Report a Violation?
Code enforcement offers several options for residents to report potential violations in their neighborhood.
If you are sent to voice mail, all investigators are in the field. Please leave a brief message with your contact information, and an officer will contact you within 24 hours.
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
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.
- Assistance Request can be done by property owner. (i.e junk vehicle removal)
- Priority is on quick response to reporting parties on initial investigation or assistance request.
2. Create initial case report.
3. Assign case to Investigator for follow up of initial report.
4. Site visitation and meeting with involved parties.
- Initial contact is designed to be positive, informational, and educational for all stakeholders.
Meet with appropriate County department and officials.
- Confirm complaint type.
- Clarify specific codes which address the violation.
6. Determine legitimacy of case and establish time-line for correction of violation.
- Establish legitimacy of case based on Departmental rules and County Codes.
- Several variables can and do effect time-lines:
- Growing seasons.
- Financial constraints.
- Seasonal weather.
- Availability of responsible parties.
7. Contact responsible party with documentation, time-line and determination.
- Documentation has been completed and is shared with all involved parties.
- Time-line is provided.
- Determine if violation requires mitigation (correct problem) OR abatement (remove problem)
- Necessary to confirm violation has been corrected and meets current Clallam County codes.
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 agencies, a growing array of local businesses who provide contracted services, and other jurisdictions within the county.
Local County Agencies:
While general investigation support is provided for all listed agencies, specific needs are also met based on specialized requirements:
- 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, Sign-age
- Environmental Health
- Board of Health: On-Site Septic, General Solid Waste
- Health and General Welfare: Littering, Junk Vehicles
- Human Resources
- Backgrounds, Personal Investigations, L&I Investigations
- Parks and Recreation
- Public Works
- Road Approach, Storm Water
- Sheriff's Office
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.
Success In Your Backyard: Before and After.
Notable Statistics Since 2007:
Average over 400 cases per calendar year.
Over 4000 junk vehicles removed and recycled.
Over 2 million pounds of Solid Waste (mainly tires) removed and disposed of.
99% of cases are resolved through voluntary compliance by owner/resident.
We are eager to share images of what success looks like when neighborhoods come together for a common cause. Links to successful projects in Clallam County are currently being developed and will be
- Clallam Bay Cleanup
- Highway 101 East
- John Jacobs Road
- Keller Road
- Lewis Road
- Joyce Area Project