The county now has more bite in its bark when it comes to getting property owners to clean up trash and junk vehicles that pile up, Richard Meier, Clallam County Code Enforcement, told the members of West End Business last week at the weekly morning meeting at the Congregational Church.
Meier said, “Code enforcement has changed a lot in the last year.” One of the biggest changes is no more just sending letters to messy property owners and then nothing happening, “nobody responded.” Now a property owner gets a letter and then it moves on to a hearing examiner, the property owner is told to get it cleaned up or there will be fines.
The department also now has three part-time employees, “I was working alone and I just couldn’t get to everything,” Meier told the group. “There was a couple year backlog.”
Meier said the department targets neighborhoods. Meier told of a property on the east side of the county with RV’s and no septic systems, “we got a warrant and went to court, it got cleaned up.” He shared a few before and after pictures of a number of properties.
Special notice is also made of properties located along streams and rivers with potential environmental impacts.
Meier described himself and staff for the most part as social workers, many times dealing with mental illness. “The property owners also get a resource list for places that might be able to help with those underlying issues.”
Meier shared they may look at a tire amnesty program that would be in partnership with the Port Angeles Transfer Station.
He also shared that the properties that get cleaned up are monitored for five years and additional legal recourse is not needed as the case stays open for that time and the county can come back in again if needed.
The cost to clean the property, if any is incurred, is applied to property tax assessment. The cost to remove motorhomes and boats is expensive but can be done. In 2018 there were 315 cases, with 158 closed, 64 JVA’s (Junk Vehicle Affidavit) issued and 140,000 pounds solid waste removed, from about 12 properties.
Meier encouraged those living in the county to report code enforcement violations.
Code enforcement offers several options for residents to report potential violations in their neighborhood.
By phone at 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.
If you prefer to report a violation in person:
Department of Community Development (DCD), Clallam County Courthouse, 223 E. 4th Street, Suite 5, Port Angeles, WA 98362. Email: [email protected]