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18.80.090 Enforcement and penalties.
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When the administrator determines that a violation of this title has occurred, he or she may proceed against that violation using the procedures provided in this section.

(1) Initiation of Review. A review under this subsection may be initiated by:

(a) The administrator;

(b) A motion of the city council;

(c) Any aggrieved person believing that a violation or violations of this title is occurring by making a written complaint to the administrator.

(2) Review Procedure.

(a) The administrator shall within 60 days after the receipt of such written allegations or motion of the city council complete an investigation of the alleged violation(s) to determine the merits thereof.

(b) Within 14 days after the administrator has completed the investigation, he or she shall take the following action:

(i) If the administrator determines that no violation as alleged or otherwise is occurring, then notification of that decision shall be given to the complaining person or a spokesperson for the complaining person, or in a written report to the city council.

(ii) If the administrator determines that a violation is occurring or has occurred as alleged, a notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity shall be sent as specified in subsection (3) of this section.

(c) If the administrator determines that the way to correct a violation is for the property owner or violator to cease the activity, or for the city to impose new or changed conditions on a permit or plan that has been issued or approved, the city planner shall refer the matter to the hearing examiner, planning authority, or staff for review depending upon which entity made the final decision on the matter under review.

(i) The hearing examiner or planning authority shall hold a public meeting to review the permit or approval, using criteria required for the original.

(ii) If the hearing examiner or planning authority finds that a violation exists, and that it can be reasonably resolved by imposing new or changed conditions on the permit or plan, the conditions may be changed. The action of the hearing examiner or the planning authority shall be final as provided under Chapter 19.11 ECMC.

(iii) If the hearing examiner or planning authority determines that the way to correct the violation is for the permittee to cease the violation, and the permittee fails or refuses to cease the violation, the hearing examiner or planning authority may revoke the permit or approved plan and may order the activity allowed by the permit or plan to cease.

(iv) If the violation is of a condition which was imposed by staff and staff finds that the violation can be reasonably resolved by imposing new or changed conditions on the permit or plan, conditions may be changed by staff.

(v) If the staff determines that the way to correct a violation is for the permittee to cease the violation and the permittee fails or refuses to cease the violation, the staff may revoke the permit or plan and may order activity allowed by the permit or plan to cease.

(3) Notice of Violation and Order to Correct or Cease Activity.

(a) General. If the administrator determines that any activity, condition, structure, or use exists that does not conform to this title, he or she may issue a notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity. This notice will specifically indicate the following:

(i) The name and address of the person(s) charged with the violation;

(ii) What provision of this title is being violated;

(iii) The street address and a brief legal description of the site on which the violation has been determined to exist;

(iv) What is necessary to correct the violation;

(v) The time by which the violation is to be corrected or activity ceased; and

(vi) A statement that the civil penalties established in subsection (5) of this section shall be assessed against the person(s) cited if the violation is not corrected within the specified time period.

(b) Notice to Occupant and Owner. The administrator shall deliver or cause to be delivered the notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity by U.S. postal mail, or certified mail return receipt requested, or personal service to the occupant or person in charge of the property if the occupant or person in charge of the property is the violator; or the owner of the property if the owner of the property is the violator, or both if appropriate.

A copy of the notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity shall be sent to the complaining person or a spokesperson for complaining person.

(4) Appeals. Any notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity issued by the administrator shall be appealable to the hearing examiner under Chapter 19.11 ECMC.

(5) Penalties.

(a) Any violation for which a notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity has been issued but which has not been corrected within the time specified shall incur a civil penalty of $250.00 per day up to a sum of $5,000, beginning on the day the correction was to be completed. The cumulative penalty provided for in this subsection (5)(a) shall not accrue while an appeal is pending, nor shall the penalty preclude the initiation of appropriate legal action to correct the violation.

(b) If a penalty has been assessed pursuant to subsection (5)(a) of this section, a court shall assess that penalty and any additional penalty the court considers appropriate plus court costs and attorney’s fees.

(6) If the administrator determines that the property owner or violator could reasonably correct the violation, but fails to do so within the time specified in the notice of violation and order to correct or cease activity, the city planner may refer the matter to the city attorney for civil enforcement by injunction or other appropriate action.

(7) Compromise, Settlement, and Disposition of Disputes or Litigation. The administrator and the city attorney may negotiate a settlement or compromise or otherwise dispose of a dispute or litigation, when to do so would be in the best interests of the city. (Ord. 464 § 1, 2012; Ord. 416 § 1, 2009)

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