Code Compliance

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Health and Safety and Quality of Life

The health and safety of our community is important to all residents and businesses as is the economic welfare and community character of Tumwater. The City’s role in code enforcement provides necessary safeguards by encouraging residents and businesses to work toward caring for and improving our community. Examples of code violations include:

• Illegal signage
• Protected tree removal
• Grading without permits
• Noise
• Reroofing or remodeling without permits
• Auto Repair in Residential Zoning Districts
• Junkyards in Residential Zoning Districts
• Commercial Trucking Companies in Residential Zoning Districts
• Contractor Storage Yards
• Occupied Travel Trailers and RV's
• Dangerous Buildings
• Substandard structures
• Retaining walls built without permits
• Business operated in a residential district
• Electrical, plumbing or mechanical added without permits
• More animals/pets than zoning regulations allow
• Junk vehicles on property or parked on lawns/yards

Pictures of Common Code Violations (1.5MB) pdf-icon-sm

Code Enforcement Brochure (0.5MB) pdf-icon-sm

To Report Violations or Concerns

Code compliance and enforcement services are provided by several different City departments.  If you have any questions about any of these services, please feel free to contact Community Development at (360) 754-4180 or The City accepts anonymous complaints. The Compliance Process provides a general overview of the steps to resolve code violations.

Type of Violation Department Phone Number Code Reference
 Abandoned Vehicles on Public Property  Tumwater Police (360) 754-4200  
 Animal Control  Animal Services (360) 352-2510  
 Attractive Nuisances
(and unattractive ones too)
 Community Development (360) 754-4180  
 Building Code  Community Development (360) 754-4180  
 Dust  Public Works (360) 754-4150  
 Fences  Community Development (360) 754-4180  TMC 18.46
 Fire Hazard  Tumwater Fire Chief (360) 754-4170  
 Home Occupation  Community Development (360) 754-4180  
 Inoperable Vehicles on Private Property  Community Development (360) 754-4180  
 Land Use  Community Development (360) 754-4180  
 Lighting  Community Development (360) 754-4180  

Noise (For after-hours “partying” and
other similar noise problems
please call the police)

 Community Development
 or Tumwater Police
(360) 754-4180
(360) 754-4200
 Noxious Weeds  Thurston County Noxious Weed Board (360) 786-5576   
 Parking  Tumwater Police (360) 754-4200  
 Signs  Community Development (360) 754-4180  TMC 18.44

Trash/Garbage - Private Property

Community Development
(360) 754-4180
 Trash/Garbage - Public Right-of-way  Public Works Department (360) 754-4140  
 Tree Cutting  Community Development (360) 754-4180  TMC 16.08
 Zoning  Community Development (360) 754-4180  TMC 18

TMC = Tumwater Municipal Code


Compliance Process

The process outlined below is the general City of Tumwater process used for code violations.  This format may vary, based on the severity of the violation. The goal of Tumwater’s code compliance process (TMC 1.10) and Code Enforcement Officers is to ensure safety through an efficient, civil administrative system to enforce the regulations of the city, to provide an opportunity for an appeal of determinations of violations and prompt hearings and decisions on any such appeals, to establish monetary penalties for violations, and to provide for the collection of these penalties.

  • Step 1:  After receiving a complaint, a code enforcement officer visits the site to validate the complaint.
  • Step 2:  If the complaint is valid, the City will issue a courtesy Notice of Violation providing 30 days to abate the violation(s) or issue a Stop Work Order if necessary.  Both of these letters outline penalties that will apply if violation(s) are not corrected, appealed or a Voluntary Correction Agreement is filed.  If the complaint is invalid, the case will be closed.
  • Step 3:  If the violation(s) are not corrected within the provided 30 day timeline, the City may assess fines and penalties that may include civil infractions, criminal citations, or abatement orders pursuant to Tumwater’s Municipal Code (TMC 1.10.040.G).

Civil Infractions and Criminal Citations

Civil Infractions are noncriminal (like parking tickets), and a contested or mitigated hearing may be requested before the Municipal Court Judge. Criminal Citations are a summons and require an appearance before the court. If the violations are corrected by the court hearing date, the judge may reduce or dismiss the fines.

Abatement Orders

In addition, the Building Official may issue an Abatement Order requiring the work to be completed by a specific date, and a lien may be placed on the property. If the work is still not done, the City may perform the work and recover the costs from the property owner. If the penalties and costs of abatement are not paid, they may be collected in a variety of ways, including a lien against the property.

Flow Chart for Enforcement and Compliance

flow chart - compliance Picture1

How to Clear a Code Enforcement Action

1) Make an Appointment with a Code Enforcement Officer
If you received a Notice of Violation letter (NOV), contact the person specified in the letter to schedule your appointment. If you received a Stop Work Order or Notice of Violation your Code Enforcement Officer will tell you who to contact, and when.
2) Go to the appointment
At this meeting, the Code Enforcement Officer will explain the process for obtaining a permit. You may need to submit plans depending on the scope of your project.

3) Apply for a permit.
Simple permits can be issued "over-the-counter". More complex applications are reviewed by City Planning Technicians and/or engineers and other agencies.

4) Schedule Inspections
Once the permit is issued, you must still schedule and pass inspections that are required for your permit. Once these are complete, you will receive a final inspection, at which time you will have finished the permit process.