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.
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 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.
Common Types of Violations
Construction, Dangerous Buildings, Fire, Life, Safety.
Critical Areas, Zoning, Forest Practices, Land Use, Shore Lines, Signs, etc.
Health & General Welfare
Junk Vehicle Assistance and Junk Vehicle Public Nuisance
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, email Environmental Health or call 360-417-2258.
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 that 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)
Code Enforcement is comprehensive, but does include exceptions, enforced by other County or state governmental entities:
- Animals (Animal Control)
- Traffic (County Roads Division)
- Finance (Department of Revenue)
- Forestry practice issues (Department of Natural Resources)
- Illegal dumping (Sheriff's Office)
- Hazardous Waste or Spills (Department of Ecology)
- Water Resources (Department of Ecology)
- Airspace (Federal Aviation Administration)
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: If your local homeowner's association has covenants, conditions, and restrictions (CC&Rs) those are enforced solely by your HOA.
Report a Violation
Code Enforcement offers several options for residents to report potential violations in their neighborhood.
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, 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 Code Enforcement
Please note that all email sent to this address will be received by the Clallam County email 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.
You may download a Code Violation Report Form (PDF), print and fill it out, and mail it to us at:
Clallam County DCD - Code Enforcement
Clallam County Courthouse
223 E 4th Street, Suite 5
Port Angeles, WA 98362
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Assign case to Code Enforcement Officer for follow up of initial report.
- Additional research about parcel conducted if needed.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Notice of Violation and 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 canceled 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.
- Final Inspection and Certificate of Correction
- Necessary to confirm violation has been corrected and meets current Clallam County codes.
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, or as creating any duty on the part of Clallam County to any particular person(s). CCC 20.04.010(3).
These guidelines should be applied by the Director or the Director's Agent 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 in which they are received, and as resources allow.
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 that 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
- Road Approach, Storm Water
- Sheriff's Office
- Volunteer Coordination
- Deputy Assistance for safety
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.
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.
Other local resources can be found by dialing 211 or visiting Win211 online.
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 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.
The 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 laxer 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 allows mortgage service providers to request inspections of abandoned properties to determine if they are abandoned and create a public nuisance, which can help the abatement process move forward more quickly.
Milestones & Accomplishments
In 2018, DCD secured funding for additional staffing. Currently, Code Enforcement consists of 1 full-time Field Officer, 1 part-time Field Officer, and an Administrative Specialist. In 2023, DCD is working on securing funding to hire One additional full-time Field Officer.
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 December 2022, a total of 29 cases were presented to the Hearing Examiner.
The pandemic brought new challenges to Code Enforcement in 2020 and 2021 from operations to staffing changes. Although the pandemic may have slowed staff down, Code Enforcement cases dipped only slightly from a record high number of cases created in 2018. In 2022 and 2023, the staff is working to resolve older cases and mitigate newer cases in order to keep our County in compliance and looking beautiful.
Code Enforcement has worked to create more public visibility and strives to promote education and outreach as the 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.