Thurston County Proposing Code Enforcement Ordinace and Implementation of Administrative Law

Thurston County’s proposed Thurston County Code Enforcement is remarkably similar to the Kitsap County Title 5 Code Compliance Ordinance that we fought last year. The Pacific Legal Foundation claims that the proposed establishment of Administrative Law, County Hearing Examiners, revocation of permits, establishing civil penalties, and possible abatement and foreclosure of properties without due process, is unconstitutional.

Pacific Legal Foundation article: Washington:  PLF warns county against new, punitive code enforcement

“The proposed code enforcement ordinance consolidates enforcement procedures for eleven different titles of the County’s code, which include zoning laws, environmental laws, subdivision rules, etc.  The ordinance authorizes a variety of enforcement actions against landowners.  These include stop work orders, restoration orders, abatement orders, and permit revocations.  These enforcement actions carry a similar theme — they allow the County to put a stop to certain uses of your own land.  For stop work orders and restoration orders, the County does provide a chance to appeal the order.  But you can only appeal after the County has impaired the right to use your property.  The United States Supreme Court has long held that government must usually provide a hearing before burdening someone’s property rights.  And the County doesn’t even allow appeals of permit revocations or abatement orders, much less notice and a hearing.  The Constitution demands more.”

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