Chapter 17.04 RCW

WEED DISTRICTS

Sections

17.04.010Districts authorizedArea and boundaries.
17.04.030PetitionTime, place and notice of hearing.
17.04.050Board to determine petitionResolution to create district.
17.04.070MeetingsQualifications of electors and directorsElectionsOfficersBondsTerms of officeVacanciesRules and regulations.
17.04.150PowersWeed inspector.
17.04.160Contiguous lands.
17.04.170Indian reservation landsUnited States lands.
17.04.180County and state lands.
17.04.190Duties of weed inspector.
17.04.200Violation of rules and regulationsNotice to destroy weedsDestruction.
17.04.210Statement of expenseHearing.
17.04.220Examination at hearing of expensesAmount is tax on landEffect of failure to serve notices.
17.04.230Appellate reviewNoticeCost bond.
17.04.240AssessmentsClassification of propertyTax levy.
17.04.245AssessmentTax rollCollection.
17.04.250District treasurerDutiesFund.
17.04.260Limit of indebtedness.
17.04.270Districts organized under prior lawReorganization.
17.04.280Officials of district may enter landsPenalty for prevention.

NOTES:

Agricultural and vegetable seeds: Chapter 15.49 RCW.
Special purpose districts, expenditures to recruit job candidates: RCW 42.24.170.


Districts authorizedArea and boundaries.

The boards of county commissioners of the respective counties may create a weed district or districts within their counties and enlarge any district, or reduce any district or create or combine or consolidate the districts, or divide or create new districts, from time to time, in the manner hereinafter provided, for the purpose of destroying, preventing and exterminating, or to prevent the introduction, propagation, cultivation or increase of, any particular weed, weeds or plants, or all weeds or plants, including Scotch broom, which are now or may hereafter be classed by the agricultural experiment station of Washington State University as noxious weeds, or plants detrimental to or destructive of crops, fruit, trees, shrubs, valuable plants, forage, or other agricultural plants or produce. Any such district shall include not less than one section of land, and the boundaries thereof shall be along an established road, railroad, scab, uncleared or grazing land, or property line, or established lines, or some natural boundary, and shall include only cultivated or farming lands and shall not include any scab, uncleared or grazing land, except such as shall lie wholly within cultivated or farming lands within the districts, or which lie adjacent to such cultivated or farming lands and which are infested, or which may reasonably be expected to become infested, with the particular weed or weeds to be destroyed, prevented and exterminated by such district: PROVIDED, That any quarter section of land, or lesser legal subdivision in single ownership, fifty percent of which is cultivated or farming land, shall be considered cultivated and farming land within the meaning of this chapter.



PetitionTime, place and notice of hearing.

Any one or more freeholders owning more than fifty percent of the acreage desired to be included within the proposed weed district may file a petition with the board of county commissioners praying that their land be included, either separately or with other lands included in the petition, in a weed district to be formed for the purpose of destroying, preventing or exterminating any one or all such weeds, or that such lands be included within a district already formed, or a new district or districts to be formed out of any district or districts then existing. Such petition shall state the boundaries of the proposed district, the approximate number of acres in the proposed district, the particular weed or weeds to be destroyed, prevented or exterminated, the general method or means to be used in such work, and shall contain a list of all known land owners within the proposed district, together with the addresses of such land owners. Upon the filing of such petition the board of county commissioners shall fix a time for a hearing thereon, and shall give at least thirty days' notice of the time and place of such hearing by posting copies of such notice in three conspicuous places within the proposed district, one copy of which shall be at the main entrance to the courthouse, and by mailing a copy of such notice to each of the land owners named in the petition at the address therein named, and if any of the land described in the petition be owned by the state, a copy thereof shall be mailed to the department of natural resources at Olympia.
[ 1988 c 128 § 4; 1929 c 125 § 2; RRS § 2772. Prior: 1921 c 150 § 2. Formerly RCW 17.04.030 and 17.04.040.]



Board to determine petitionResolution to create district.

At the time and place fixed for such hearing the board of county commissioners shall determine whether such weed district shall be created and if such board determines that such district shall be created, it shall fix the boundaries thereof, but shall not modify the purposes of the petition with respect to the weed or weeds to be destroyed, prevented and exterminated as set forth in this petition, and shall not enlarge the boundaries of the proposed district, or enlarge or change the boundary or boundaries of any district or districts already formed without first giving notice to all land owners interested as provided in RCW 17.04.030. If the board shall determine that the weed district petitioned for shall be created it shall pass a resolution to that effect and shall assign a number to such weed district which shall be the lowest number not already taken or adopted by a weed district in such county, and thereafter such district shall be known as "Weed District No. . . . . of . . . . . . County," inserting in the first blank the number of the district and in the second the name of the county in which the district is organized.
[ 1929 c 125 § 3; RRS §§ 2773, 2774. Prior: 1921 c 150 §§ 3, 4. Formerly RCW 17.04.050 and 17.04.060.]



MeetingsQualifications of electors and directorsElectionsOfficersBondsTerms of officeVacanciesRules and regulations.

If the board of county commissioners establish such district it shall call a special meeting to be held within such district for the purpose of electing three directors for such district. No person shall be eligible to hold the office of director who is not a qualified elector of the state of Washington and a resident and landowner within such district. Such meeting shall be held not less than thirty nor more than ninety days from the date when such district is established by such board.
Notice of such meeting shall be given by the county auditor by publication once a week for three successive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in such district, and by posting such notice for not less than ten days before the date fixed for such meeting in three public places within the boundaries of such district. The notices shall state the object of the meeting and the time and place when the same shall be held.
At the time and place fixed for the meeting the county commissioner in whose commissioner district such district is located shall act as chair and call the meeting to order. The chair shall appoint two persons to assist him or her in conducting the election, one of whom shall act as clerk. If such county commissioner be not present the electors of such district then present shall elect a chair of the meeting.
Every person who is a landowner within such district and a qualified elector of the state of Washington shall be entitled to vote at such meeting. Any person offering to vote may be challenged by any legally qualified elector of such district, and the chair of such meeting shall thereupon administer to the person challenged an oath in substance as follows: "You do swear (or affirm) that you are a citizen of the United States and a qualified elector of the state of Washington and an owner of land within the boundaries of weed district No. . . . . of . . . . . . county (giving number of district and name of county)." If the challenged person shall take such oath or make such affirmation, he or she shall be entitled to vote; otherwise his or her vote shall not be received. Any person making a false oath, or affirmation, or any person illegally voting at such meeting, shall be punished as provided in the general election laws of the state for illegal voting.
The vote shall be by secret ballot, on white paper of uniform size and quality, of such arrangement that when names are written thereon, the same may be folded so as not to disclose the names. The elector shall write the names of three persons that he or she desires as the first directors of such district and shall fold his or her ballot and hand the same to the chair of the meeting who shall deposit it in a ballot box provided for that purpose. The clerk shall thereupon write the name of such person on a list as having voted at such election. After all persons present and entitled to vote have voted, the chair shall declare the election closed, and shall, with the assistance of the clerk and the other person appointed as assistant, proceed to count the ballots. The person receiving the greatest number of votes shall be elected as director for a term ending three years from the first Monday in March following his or her election; the person receiving the second greatest number of votes shall be elected for a term ending two years from the first Monday in March following his or her election, and the person receiving the third greatest number of votes shall be elected for a term ending one year from the first Monday of March following his or her election.
Annually thereafter, there shall be held a meeting of the electors of such district on the last Monday in February, except that the directors may, by giving the same notice as is required for the initial meeting, fix an earlier time for the annual meeting on any nonholiday during the months of December, January, or February. At such meeting one director shall be elected to succeed the director whose term will expire on the first Monday in March following. The directors shall call the annual meeting, and shall fix the time and place where the same shall be held and shall give the same notice thereof as provided for the initial meeting. The annual meeting shall be conducted in the same manner as is provided for the initial meeting, and the qualifications of electors at such annual meeting shall be the same as is required for the initial meeting. In conducting directors' elections, the chair may accept nominations from the floor but voting shall not be limited to those nominated.
All directors shall hold office for the term for which they are elected, and until their successors are elected and qualified. In case of a vacancy occurring in the office of any director, the county commissioners of the county in which such district is located shall appoint a qualified person to fill the vacancy for the unexpired term. The board of directors shall elect one of its members chair and may appoint a secretary who need not be a member of the board, and who shall be paid such compensation as the board may determine. Each director shall furnish a bond in the sum of one thousand dollars, which may be a surety company bond or property bond approved by the board of county commissioners, which bond shall be filed with the county commissioners and shall be conditioned for the faithful discharge of his or her duties. The cost of such bond shall be paid by the district the same as other expenses of the district. At any annual meeting the method for destroying, preventing, and exterminating weeds of such district as set forth in the petition, and the rules and regulations adopted by such district, may be changed by a majority vote of the qualified electors present at such meeting, or a special meeting may be called for that purpose, notice of which meeting and of such proposed changes to be voted on, shall be given to all landowners residing within the district by mailing a copy of such notice and of such proposed changes to the address of such landowner at least one week before the date fixed for such special meeting. The qualified electors of any weed district, at any annual meeting, may make other weeds that are not on the petition subject to control by the weed district by a two-thirds vote of the electors present: PROVIDED, That said weeds have been classified by the agricultural experiment station of Washington State University as noxious and: PROVIDED FURTHER, That the directors of the weed district give public notice in the manner required for initial meetings of the proposed new control of said weeds by the weed district.

NOTES:

Severability1971 ex.s. c 292: See note following RCW 26.28.010.
Elections: Chapter 29A.84 RCW.



PowersWeed inspector.

The board of directors of such weed district shall have power:
(1) To adopt rules and regulations, plans, methods, and means for the purpose of destroying, preventing, and exterminating the weed or weeds specified in the petition, and to supervise, carry out, and enforce such rules, regulations, plans, methods, and means.
(2) To appoint a weed inspector and to require from him or her a bond in such sum as the directors may determine for the faithful discharge of his or her duties, and to pay the cost of such bond from the funds of such district; and to direct such weed inspector in the discharge of his or her duties; and to pay such weed inspector from the funds of such district such per diem or salary for the time employed in the discharge of his or her duties as the directors shall determine.



Contiguous lands.

Any city or town contiguous to or surrounded by a weed district formed under this chapter shall provide for the destruction, prevention and extermination of all weeds specified in the petition which are within the boundaries of such city or town, in the same manner and to the same extent as is provided for in such surrounding or contiguous weed district; and it shall be the duty of those in charge of school grounds, playgrounds, cemeteries, parks, or any lands of a public or quasi public nature when such lands shall be contiguous to, or within any weed district, to see that all weeds specified in the petition for the creation of such district are destroyed, prevented and exterminated in accordance with the rules and requirements of such district.
[ 1929 c 125 § 6; RRS § 2775-1.]

NOTES:

Destruction of weeds, etc., city ordinance: RCW 35.21.310.



Indian reservation landsUnited States lands.

Any lands owned by any individual wholly or partly within the United States government Indian reservation may be included within a weed district formed under this chapter, and shall be subject to the same rules, regulations and taxes as other lands within the district; and the board of directors of any weed district are authorized to arrange with the officer or agent in charge of any United States lands, within or contiguous to any such district, for the destruction, prevention and extermination of weeds on such government lands.
[ 1929 c 125 § 7; RRS § 2775-2.]



County and state lands.

Whenever any lands belonging to the county are included within a weed district, the county legislative authority shall determine the amount of the taxes for which the lands would be liable if they were in private ownership, and the county legislative authority shall appropriate from the current expense fund of the county sufficient money to pay such amounts. Whenever any state lands are within any weed district, the county treasurer shall certify annually and forward to the appropriate state agency for payment a statement showing the amount of the tax to which the lands would be liable if they were in private ownership, separately describing each lot or parcel and, if delinquent, with interest and penalties consistent with RCW 84.56.020.



Duties of weed inspector.

It shall be the duty of the weed inspector to carry out the directions of the board of directors and to see that the rules and regulations adopted by the board are carried out. He or she shall personally deliver or mail to each resident landowner within such district and to any lessee or person in charge of any land within such district and residing in such district, a copy of the rules and regulations of such district; and he or she shall personally deliver a copy thereof to nonresident landowners or shall deposit a copy of the same in the United States post office in an envelope with postage prepaid thereon addressed to the last known address of such person as shown by the records of the county auditor; and in event no such address is available for mailing he or she shall post a copy of such rules and regulations in a conspicuous place upon such land. A record shall be kept by the weed inspector of such dates of mailing, posting, or delivering such rules and regulations. In case of any railroad such rules and regulations shall be delivered to the section foreman, or to any official of the railroad having offices within the state. Such rules and regulations must be delivered, posted, or mailed by the weed inspector as herein provided at least ten days before the time to start any annual operations necessary to comply with such rules and regulations: PROVIDED, That after such district shall have been in operation two years such rules and regulations shall be delivered to resident landowners only once every three years, unless such rules and regulations are changed.



Violation of rules and regulationsNotice to destroy weedsDestruction.

(1) If the weed inspector, or the board of directors, shall find that the rules and regulations of the weed district are not being carried out on any one or more parcels of land within such district, the weed inspector shall give forthwith a notice in writing, on a form to be prescribed by the directors, to the owners, tenants, mortgagees, and occupants, or to the accredited resident agent of any nonresident owner of such lands within the district whereon noxious weeds are standing, being or growing and in danger of going to seed, requiring him or her to cause the same to be cut down, otherwise destroyed or eradicated on such lands in the manner and within the time specified in the notice, such time, however, not to exceed seven days. It shall be the duty of the county auditor and county treasurer to make available to the weed inspector lists of owners, tenants, and mortgagees of lands within such district;
(2) If a resident agent of any nonresident owner of lands where noxious weeds are found standing, being, or growing cannot be found, the local weed inspector shall post said notice in the form provided by the directors in three conspicuous places on said land, and in addition to posting said notice the local weed inspector shall, at the same time mail a copy thereof by registered or certified mail with return receipt requested to the owner of such nonresident lands, if his or her post office address is known or can be ascertained by said inspector from the last tax list in the county treasurer's office, and it shall be the duty of the treasurer to furnish such lists upon request by the weed inspector. Proof of such serving, posting, and mailing of notice by the weed inspector shall be made by affidavit forthwith filed in the office of the county auditor and it shall be the duty of the county auditor to accept and file such affidavits;
(3) If the weeds are not cut down, otherwise destroyed, or eradicated within the time specified in said notice, the local weed inspector shall personally, or with such help as he or she may require, cause the same to be cut down or otherwise destroyed in the manner specified in said notice.
[ 2011 c 336 § 449; 1961 c 250 § 6; 1937 c 193 § 2; 1929 c 125 § 11; RRS § 2778-3. Prior: 1921 c 150 § 9, part.]



Statement of expenseHearing.

The weed inspector shall keep an accurate account of expenses incurred by him or her in carrying out the provisions of this chapter with respect to each parcel of land entered upon, and the prosecuting attorney of the county or the attorney for the weed district shall cause to be served, mailed, or posted in the same manner as provided in this chapter for giving notice to destroy noxious weeds, a statement of such expenses, including description of the land, verified by oath of the weed inspector to the owner, lessee, mortgagee, occupant or agent, or person having charge of said land, and coupled with such statement shall be a notice subscribed by said prosecuting attorney or attorney for the weed district and naming a time and place when and where such matter will be brought before the board of directors of such district for hearing and determination, said statement or notice to be served, mailed, or posted, as the case may be, at least ten days before the time for such hearing.



Examination at hearing of expensesAmount is tax on landEffect of failure to serve notices.

At the time of such hearing as provided in RCW 17.04.210, or at such time to which the same may be continued or adjourned, the board of directors shall proceed to examine expenses incurred by the weed inspector in controlling weeds on the parcel of land in question, and shall hear such testimony of such other persons who may have legal interest in the proceedings, and shall enter an order upon its minutes as to what amount, if any, is properly chargeable against the lands for weed control. Cost of serving, mailing and posting shall be added to any amount so found to be due and shall be considered part of the cost of weed control on the land in question. The amount so charged by the directors shall be a tax on the land on which said work was done after the expiration of ten days from the date of entry of said order, unless an appeal be taken as in this chapter provided, in which event the same shall become a tax at the time the amount to be paid shall be determined by the court; and the county treasurer shall enter the same on the tax rolls against the land for the current year and collect it, together with penalty and interest, as other taxes are collected, and when so collected the same shall be paid into the fund for such weed district: PROVIDED, That a failure to serve, mail or post any of the notices or statements provided for in this chapter, shall not invalidate said tax, but in case of such failure the lien of such tax shall be subordinate and inferior to the interests of any mortgagee to whom notice has not been given in accordance with the provisions of this chapter.
[ 1961 c 250 § 8; 1929 c 125 § 13; RRS § 2778-5. Prior: 1921 c 150 § 5. FORMER PART OF SECTION: 1925 c 125 § 14 now codified in RCW 17.04.230.]



Appellate reviewNoticeCost bond.

Any interested party may appeal from the decision and order of the board of directors of such district to the superior court of the county in which such district is located, by serving written notice of appeal on the chair of the board of directors and by filing in the office of the clerk of the superior court a copy of said notice of appeal with proof of service attached, together with a good and sufficient cost bond in the sum of two hundred dollars, said cost bond to run to such district and in all respects to comply with the laws relating to cost bonds required of nonresident plaintiffs in the superior court. Said notice must be served and filed within ten days from the date of the decision and order of such board of directors, and said bond must be filed within five days after the filing of such notice of appeal. Whenever notice of appeal and the cost bond as herein provided shall have been filed with the clerk of the superior court, the clerk shall notify the board of directors of such district thereof, and such board shall forthwith certify to said court all notices and records in said matters, together with proof of service, and a true copy of the order and decision pertaining thereto made by such board. If no appeal be perfected within ten days from the decision and order of such board, the same shall be deemed confirmed and the board shall certify the amount of such charges to the county treasurer who shall enter the same on the tax rolls against the land. When an appeal is perfected the matter shall be heard in the superior court de novo and the court's decision shall be conclusive on all persons served under this chapter: PROVIDED, That appellate review of the order or decision of the superior court in the manner provided by existing laws, and upon the conclusion of such review, the amount of charges and costs adjudged to be paid shall be certified by the clerk of the superior court to the county treasurer and said treasurer shall proceed to enter the same on his or her rolls against the lands affected.

NOTES:

Appeals to supreme court: Rules of court: See Rules of Appellate Procedure.
Severability1988 c 202: See note following RCW 2.24.050.
Cost bonds, civil procedure: RCW 4.84.210 through 4.84.240.



AssessmentsClassification of propertyTax levy.

The directors shall annually determine the amount of money necessary to carry on the operations of the district and shall classify the property therein in proportion to the benefits to be derived from the operations of the district and in accordance with such classification shall prorate the cost so determined and shall levy assessments to be collected with the general taxes of the county. In the event that any bonded or warrant indebtedness pledging tax revenue of the district shall be outstanding on April 1, 1951, the directors may, for the sole purpose of retiring such indebtedness, continue to levy a tax upon all taxable property in the district until such bonded or warrant indebtedness shall have been retired.
[ 1957 c 13 § 2. Prior: 1951 c 107 § 1; 1929 c 125 § 5, part; RRS § 2774-2.]

NOTES:

Validating1957 c 13: "The provisions of this act are retroactive and any actions or proceedings had or taken under the provisions of RCW 17.04.240, 17.04.250, 17.04.260, 17.08.050, 17.08.060, 17.08.070, 17.08.080, 17.08.090, 17.08.100 or 17.08.110 are hereby ratified, validated and confirmed." [ 1957 c 13 § 14.]



AssessmentTax rollCollection.

Such assessments as are made under the provisions of RCW 17.04.240, by the weed district commissioners, shall be spread by the county assessor on the general tax roll in a separate item. Such assessments shall be collected and accounted for with the general taxes, with the terms and penalties thereto attached.



District treasurerDutiesFund.

The county treasurer shall be ex officio treasurer of such district and the county assessor and other county officers shall take notice of the formation of such district and of the tax levy and shall extend the tax on the tax roll against the property liable therefor the same as other taxes are extended, and such tax shall become a general tax against such property, and shall be collected and accounted for as other taxes, with the terms and penalties thereto attached. The moneys collected from such tax shall be paid into a fund to be known as "fund of weed district . . . . . . of . . . . . . county" (giving the number of district and name of county). All expenses in connection with the operation of such district, including the expenses of initial and annual meetings, shall be paid from such fund, upon vouchers approved by the board of directors of such district.
[ 1957 c 13 § 3. Prior: 1929 c 125 § 5, part; 1921 c 150 § 5; RRS § 2775.]



Limit of indebtedness.

No weed district shall contract any obligation in any year in excess of the total of the funds which will be available during the current year from the tax levy made in the preceding year and funds received in the current year from services rendered and from any other lawful source, and funds accumulated from previous years.
[ 1963 c 52 § 1; 1961 c 250 § 9; 1957 c 13 § 4. Prior: 1929 c 125 § 5, part; 1921 c 150 § 8; RRS § 2778.]



Districts organized under prior lawReorganization.

Any weed district heretofore organized under any law of the state of Washington may become a weed district under the provisions of this chapter and entitled to exercise all the powers and subject to the limitations of a weed district organized under this chapter by the election of three directors for such weed district which shall be done in the same manner as is provided in this chapter for the election of the first directors of a district organized under this chapter.
[ 1929 c 125 § 15; RRS § 2778-7.]



Officials of district may enter landsPenalty for prevention.

All weed district directors, all weed inspectors, and all official agents of all weed districts, in the performance of their official duties, have the right to enter and go upon any of the lands within their weed district at any reasonable time for any reason necessary to effectuate the purposes of the weed district. Any person who prevents or threatens to prevent any lawful agent of the weed district, after said agent identifies himself or herself and the purpose for which he or she is going upon the land, from entering or going upon the land within said weed district at a reasonable time and for a lawful purpose of the weed district, is guilty of a misdemeanor.