What We Do
Code Enforcement works in partnership with the citizens of Olympia to promote and maintain a safe and desirable living and working environment. We help maintain and improve the quality of our community by enforcing laws and codes targeted to solve specific problems within the community.
Many complaints that are made to Code Enforcement are not violations of the Olympia Municipal Code. Before reporting an issue, please view the lists below to see if it is handled by Code Enforcement and who to contact if it is not.
Common Code Enforcement Issues
Non Code Enforcement Issues and Who to Call for Assistance
- Zoning or land use violations
- Substandard or dangerous buildings
- Dangerous property conditions
- Accumulation of garbage, trash, junk, or recyclable materials
- Inoperable or unlicensed vehicle on private property for more than 30 days
- Excess animals at a residence: more than 3 dogs, cats or hens
- Structure that fails to meet minimum exterior standards
- Vegetation encroaching into the right-of-way, creating a pedestrian or traffic hazard
- Signs in or over the right-of-way, excluding political signs
- Sandwich board more than 20 feet from the front door of the business it advertises
- Performing construction (residential or commercial) without obtaining a building permit
Animal Services: 360.352.2510
- Barking dogs or nuisance animals
- Animals at large
Fire Marshall: 360.753.8348
- Dry, overgrown vegetation which may present a fire hazard
Parking Services: 360.753.8017
- Inoperable or unlicensed vehicle on public property (City right-of-way)
Police Department: 360.753.8300
- Report information on a past crime (occurred more than an hour or two prior)
- Loud noise, which unreasonably disturbs others
- Questions and information including police reports
- For Emergencies dial 9-1-1
Public Works: 360.753.8333 Option 0
- Trash or debris on public property (City right-of-way)
- Vegetation obstructing traffic signs or clear sight at intersections
- Traffic signs down (stop signs, etc.)
Urban Forester: 360.753.8301
- Hazardous trees on City property
- Tree cutting permits
Thurston County: 360.709.3083
- Code enforcement issues outside of City Limits, including the Urban Growth Area
Reporting a Violation
- Submit online via OlyConnects
PLEASE NOTE: Pursuant to the Washington State Public Records Act, the information provided on a complaint may be subject to public disclosure. You may file a complaint with or without providing your personal identifying information. If you provide your personal identifying information, you may request that the City exempt such information from disclosure under the Public Records Act IF you are a victim or witness and disclosure would endanger the life, physical safety or property of you or any person. The City can never guarantee confidentiality. Your information is not confidential and must be disclosed if you are identified as a witness in an administrative or court proceeding, or if otherwise required by an administrative or court order.
What Happens After I Report a Violation?
Typically, a Code Enforcement Officer will visit the site of the violation within 48 hours of the City receiving the complaint. The Officer will evaluate the situation, possibly take pictures, and determine whether a violation has occurred.
If a violation has occurred, Code Enforcement staff will begin the compliance process.
Our Compliance Process
The process outlined below is the general format used by Code Enforcement staff to obtain compliance. This format may vary based on the severity of the violation. It is the goal of Code Enforcement to gain compliance, not punish violators.
- If an ordinance or regulation is being violated, a Code Enforcement Officer will first send a Courtesy Notice letter to the owner of the property and/or tenant indicating the violation(s). The letter requests that the violation(s) be corrected within 14 days.
- If the violations are not corrected within the designated time frame, the Code Enforcement Officer will send a Notice of Violation letter, via certified mail, indicating that the violation(s) is to be corrected within 14 days. This letter also outlines the penalties for violation and will be posted on the property by the Code Enforcement Officer.
- If the violations are still not corrected, the Code Enforcement Officer may issue a Civil Infraction. The Civil Infraction may be issued to the property owner or to the tenant/occupant, or both. First offenses are a Class III Infraction, which carries a $50 fine. Subsequent violations are Class II Infraction with a $125 fine and Class I Infraction with a fine of $250. If the violations continue to persist, the Code Enforcement Officer may issue a Criminal Citation.
Civil Infractions and Criminal Citations
Civil Infractions and Criminal Citations are administered by the Olympia Municipal Court. 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.
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.
Contact Code Enforcement staff at 360.753.8487 or email@example.com.