Neighborhood Matters

One of the reasons that Clyde Hill is such a beautiful and pleasant neighborhood is because the City Council has implemented rules that govern neighborhood attractiveness and safety. We often get calls from residents about the following topics. Please refer to the Clyde Hill Municipal Code (CHMC) for details concerning any of the following.

 

Signs (CHMC Chapter 17.56):

Permanent signs are allowed in the City to identify schools, businesses, governmental agencies and churches.

The following types of temporary signs are allowed: real estate for sale, open houses, political signs, garage sale signs, construction site identification signs and non-commercial signs advertising an event. Government agencies may display banners to publicize a civic event.

Signs may not be placed such that they pose a safety hazard.

Noise (CHMC Chapter 8.10):

It is the policy of the city to minimize the exposure of citizens to excessive noise. It is the express intent of the City Council to control the level of noise in a manner which promotes the use, value and enjoyment of property, sleep and reposes, and the quality of the environment.

Construction activity and leaf blowing are allowed during the following hours:

Monday through Friday 7am - 6pm
Weekends & Holidays 10am - 4pm

Music, whether from a vehicle, played through machines, or produced live cannot be audible at a distance greater than 50 feet from its source (or at the nearest property boundary) after 11pm or before 7am.

Boats, Trailers, RVs (CHMC Chapter 8.30):

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a means of regulating motor homes, trailers, recreational vehicles, junk vehicles and other vehicles within the city, and to promote the health, safety, and general welfare and aesthetics of the city.

These types of vehicles may be parked in the city for only 48 hours or less during any 30-day period. They may not be stored or parked on the street or right-of-way. If stored on the property, they are not allowed in the front yard or in the side yard setback. They may be parked inside a garage, carport, or in a side or rear yard where structures or accessory buildings are allowed.

Nuisances (CHMC Chapter 8.05):

This chapter shall be enforced for the benefit of the health, safety and welfare of the general public. Public nuisances are things such as cesspools, junkyards, filthy or trash-covered dwellings, accumulations of empty barrels, boxes, mattresses, or lumber not neatly piled, unsightly buildings or structures or any place that attracts excessive flies or rats.

If you believe a nuisance exists within the City, please report it immediately.

Trees and Views (CHMC Chapter 17.38):

View Regulations - Overview
In 1991 the Council adopted Chapter 17.38, the City's Trees - View and Sunlight Obstruction Ordinance.  These regulations establish a specific process for seeking restoration of views or sunlight which existed at any time since a homeowner purchased or occupied a property (subject to the limitations of CHMC 17.38.028) when such views or sunlight are observed from living and entertainment areas of the home.

It is not the intent of this chapter to allow property owners in the city to create or enhance views or access to sunlight that were not at one time enjoyed by that property owner since purchasing or occupying the property.  Additionally, any tree that was planted before the City was incorporated in March 1953 or is within the buildable area of a property and is less than 25 feet high is exempt from complaint.

The initial step in the established process is for the complainant to make all reasonable efforts to find a voluntary solution with their neighbor. This is the most important and sometimes the most challenging step in the process. The intent of the View Ordinance is to exhaust all reasonable efforts to resolve these matters as neighbors, without governmental intervention. The experiences of many other people throughout Clyde Hill have demonstrated many successes when a degree of respect and sincerity for each neighbor's concern was taken seriously.

If after exhausting all reasonable approaches as neighbors the view obstruction matter is still unresolved, the complainant is required, with the voluntarily concurrence of the tree owner, to seek the services of a mediator in an attempt to settle the matter.  (Community mediation services are available at the King County Dispute Resolution Center and the City of Bellevue.)

If mediation is unsuccessful, the issue can go before the City's Board of Adjustment for a public hearing and a specific decision by the Board. The Board will base its decision on standards and guidelines set forth in Chapter 17.38 of the Municipal Code and on the factual testimony from a public hearing where the matter would be discussed. The tree owner and the complainant are bound by the Board's decision unless the findings are appealed to the City Council, whose decision is final.

Flowchart of the View-Tree Resolution Process

Living Fence Regulations
The manner in which naturally grown fences (also know as living fences) are maintained is of concern within the community. Usually these plants are adequately maintained to provide privacy in a way that does not conflict with another neighbor's enjoyment, but occasionally there is a concern. The following information should help to clarify the City's policy and provide information on how the City's fence regulations were interpreted by the Washington State Court and are consequently enforced by the City.

Section 17.04.230 CHMC defines a "fence" as:
"A 'fence' shall be any barrier which is naturally grown or constructed for purposes of confinement, means of protection or use as a boundary."

Section 17.37.020 (A.) states that:
"Constructed fences shall not exceed six feet in height measured from the original grade, except as permitted under Chapter 17.040 for recreational facilities. Whenever a fence is placed on top of a retaining wall, the height of the fence and the retaining wall together shall not exceed six feet as measured from the original grade, except as permitted under Chapter 17.040 for recreational facilities. Naturally grown fences shall not exceed eight feet in height as measured from original grade."

COMMENTS
Both the State of Washington Court of Appeals and the State Supreme Court upheld the validity of the living fence ordinance. The ordinance was questioned as being unconstitutionally vague and indefinite but the Supreme Court found that the definition set forth above utilized plain language as to what constituted a fence and no further objective standards were necessary. The State Supreme Court also pointed out that a specific intent to violate the ordinance was not required at the time the trees or shrubs in question were planted. The Court ruled that, even though the landowner's stated purpose for planting the trees may be for aesthetics, sufficient intent to create a fence may be inferred for the results. The State Supreme Court also held that the trees and shrubs need not be planted precisely on the property line to be considered a fence. The fact that an owner has planted or maintains tall, bushy trees close together at, near or along the owner's property line in a manner that would create a dense, wooded wall will have created a naturally grown or "living fence" prohibited by the City ordinance.

COUNCIL POLICY
In 1990, the City Council approved the following enforcement policy: Enforcement will be by written complaint. The complaint will be investigated to determine whether a violation is actually present. If there is no violation, the complainant will be advised in writing as to the reason that a violation is not present. If there is a violation, every effort will be made by the City staff to personally meet with the property owner prior to sending a written notice, which would explain the violation, the need and the type of corrective action. The property owner will be given a copy of the complaint and a copy of the articles of the Municipal Code detailing the violation. The corrective notice will give the property owner 30 days to take corrective action, show cause why such action can not be taken, or explain why the City is in error and no violation is present. The corrective notice will also point out the optional appeal process through the Board of Adjustment.

Solicitors (CHMC Chapter 5.16):

Soliciting in the City is allowed, but within a set of guidelines. The City is not able to prohibit all solicitation but has developed a set of regulations to manage door to door solicitation to the highest degree allowed by law.

Peddlers or solicitors must obtain a permit before going door-to-door in the City. Some organizations (e.g. charitable, religious or non-profit organizations as defined in the Municipal Code) may be eligible for an exemption to the permit requirements. Those selling products or services are required to obtain a permit and display their red permit card upon request.

Solicitations are NOT allowed between the hours of 8:00pm and 9:00am.

If you are experiencing a problem with a solicitor or suspect they are operating without an appropriate permit call 911 immediately.

Residents are encouraged to find out more about the legitimacy of an organization before writing a check or donating any money. The City and the Police Department are not affiliated with any door to door or phone solicitation. Washington State has a database of all registered charitable organizations that can be accessed by clicking here.

Click here to view a short video outlining soliciting and peddling in Clyde Hill.

Solicitors In The Neighborhood...What Should I Do?

  • Don't open the door to anyone you don't know...ask them who they are through the closed door.
  • If they are a solicitor, ask them to show you their RED Clyde Hill solicitor's permit.
  • Immediately report any suspicious behavior or activity to 911.