Violations — Conversion to nontimber operation — Penalties — Remission or mitigation — Appeals — Lien.
(1) Every person who violates any provision of RCW 76.09.010 through 76.09.280 or of the forest practices rules, or who converts forest land to a use other than commercial timber operation within three years after completion of the forest practice without the consent of the county, city, or town, shall be subject to a penalty in an amount of not more than ten thousand dollars for every such violation. Each and every such violation shall be a separate and distinct offense. In case of a failure to comply with a stop work order, every day's continuance shall be a separate and distinct violation. Every person who through an act of commission or omission procures, aids or abets in the violation shall be considered to have violated the provisions of this section and shall be subject to the penalty in this section. No penalty shall be imposed under this section upon any governmental official, an employee of any governmental department, agency, or entity, or a member of any board or advisory committee created by this chapter for any act or omission in his or her duties in the administration of this chapter or of any rule adopted under this chapter.
(2) The department shall develop and recommend to the board a penalty schedule to determine the amount to be imposed under this section. The board shall adopt by rule, pursuant to chapter 34.05 RCW, such penalty schedule to be effective no later than January 1, 1994. The schedule shall be developed in consideration of the following:
(a) Previous violation history;
(b) Severity of the impact on public resources;
(c) Whether the violation of this chapter or its rules was intentional;
(d) Cooperation with the department;
(e) Repairability of the adverse effect from the violation; and
(f) The extent to which a penalty to be imposed on a forest landowner for a forest practice violation committed by another should be reduced because the owner was unaware of the violation and has not received substantial economic benefits from the violation.
(3) The penalty in this section shall be imposed by a notice in writing, either by certified mail with return receipt requested or by personal service, to the person incurring the same from the department describing the violation with reasonable particularity. Within fifteen days after the notice is received, the person incurring the penalty may apply in writing to the department for the remission or mitigation of such penalty. Upon receipt of the application, that department may remit or mitigate the penalty upon whatever terms that department in its discretion deems proper, provided the department deems such remission or mitigation to be in the best interests of carrying out the purposes of this chapter. The department shall have authority to ascertain the facts regarding all such applications in such reasonable manner and under such rule as it may deem proper.
(4) Any person incurring a penalty under this section may appeal the penalty to the appeals board. Such appeals shall be filed within thirty days after the date of receipt of the penalty unless an application for remission or mitigation is made to the department. When such an application for remission or mitigation is made, such appeals shall be filed within thirty days of receipt of notice from the department setting forth the disposition of the application for remission or mitigation.
(5) The penalty imposed under this section shall become due and payable thirty days after receipt of a notice imposing the same unless application for remission or mitigation is made or an appeal is filed. When such an application for remission or mitigation is made, any penalty incurred under this section shall become due and payable thirty days after receipt of notice setting forth the disposition of such application unless an appeal is filed from such disposition. Whenever an appeal of the penalty incurred is filed, the penalty shall become due and payable only upon completion of all administrative and judicial review proceedings and the issuance of a final decision confirming the penalty in whole or in part.
(6) If the amount of any penalty is not paid to the department within thirty days after it becomes due and payable, the attorney general, upon the request of the department, shall bring an action in the name of the state of Washington in the superior court of Thurston county or of any county in which such violator may do business, to recover such penalty, interest, costs, and attorneys' fees. In all such actions the procedure and rules of evidence shall be the same as an ordinary civil action except as otherwise provided in this chapter. In addition to or as an alternative to seeking enforcement of penalties in superior court, the department may bring an action in district court as provided in Title 3 RCW, to collect penalties, interest, costs, and attorneys' fees.
(7) Penalties imposed under this section for violations associated with a conversion to a use other than commercial timber operation shall be a lien upon the real property of the person assessed the penalty and the department may collect such amount in the same manner provided in chapter 60.04 RCW for mechanics' liens.
(8) Any person incurring a penalty imposed under this section is also responsible for the payment of all costs and attorneys' fees incurred in connection with the penalty and interest accruing on the unpaid penalty amount.
[2010 c 210 § 23; 1999 sp.s. c 4 § 803; 1993 c 482 § 2; 1975 1st ex.s. c 200 § 9; 1974 ex.s. c 137 § 17.]
| Intent -- Effective dates -- Application -- Pending cases and rules -- 2010 c 210: See notes following RCW 43.21B.001.|
Part headings not law -- 1999 sp.s. c 4: See note following RCW 77.85.180.
Effective date -- 1993 c 482 § 2(1) and (3) through (7): "The following portions of this act shall take effect on January 1, 1994: Subsections (1) and (3) through (7) of section 2 of this act." [1993 c 482 § 3.]