Finding presence of noxious weeds — Notice for failure of owner to control — Control by county board — Liability of owner — Lien — Alternative.
(1) Whenever the county noxious weed control board finds that noxious weeds are present on any parcel of land, and that the owner is not taking prompt and sufficient action to control the noxious weeds, pursuant to the provisions of RCW 17.10.140, it shall notify the owner that a violation of this chapter exists. The notice shall be in writing and sent by certified mail, and shall identify the noxious weeds found to be present, order prompt control action, and specify the time, of at least ten days from issuance of the notice, within which the prescribed action must be taken. Upon deposit of the certified letter of notice, the noxious weed control authority shall make an affidavit of mailing that is prima facie evidence that proper notice was given. If seed or other propagule dispersion is imminent, immediate control action may be taken forty-eight hours following the time that notification is reasonably expected to have been received by the owner or agent by certified mail or personal service, instead of ten days. If a landowner received a notice of violation from the county noxious weed control board in a prior growing season, removal or destruction of all above ground plant parts may be required at the most effective point in the growing season, as determined by the county weed board, which may be before or after propagule dispersion.
(2) The county noxious weed control board or its authorized agents may issue a notice of civil infraction as provided for in RCW 17.10.230, 17.10.310, and 17.10.350 to owners who do not take action to control noxious weeds in accordance with the notice.
(3) If the owner does not take action to control the noxious weeds in accordance with the notice, the county board may control them, or cause their being controlled, at the expense of the owner. The amount of the expense constitutes a lien against the property and may be enforced by proceedings on the lien except as provided for by RCW 79.44.060. The owner is liable for payment of the expense, and nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent collection of any judgment on account thereof by any means available pursuant to law, in substitution for enforcement of the lien. Necessary costs and expenses including reasonable attorneys' fees incurred by the county noxious weed control board in carrying out this section may be recovered at the same time as a part of the action filed under this section. Funds received in payment for the expense of controlling noxious weeds shall be transferred to the county noxious weed control board to be expended as required to carry out the purposes of this chapter.
(4) The county auditor shall record in his or her office any lien created under this chapter, and any lien shall bear interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum from the date on which the county noxious weed control board approves the amount expended in controlling the weeds.
(5) As an alternative to the enforcement of any lien created under subsection (3) of this section, the county legislative authority may by resolution or ordinance require that each lien created be collected by the treasurer in the same manner as a delinquent real property tax, if within thirty days from the date the owner is sent notice of the lien, including the amount thereof, the lien remains unpaid and an appeal has not been made pursuant to RCW 17.10.180. Liens treated as delinquent taxes bear interest at the rate of twelve percent per annum and the interest accrues as of the date notice of the lien is sent to the owner: PROVIDED, That any collections for the lien shall not be considered as tax.
[1997 c 353 § 21; 1987 c 438 § 18; 1979 c 118 § 1; 1975 1st ex.s. c 13 § 8; 1974 ex.s. c 143 § 3; 1969 ex.s. c 113 § 17.]