Code Compliance FAQs

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

What can I do if garbage is piling up in my neighbor’s yard?

City code requires that you maintain your yards free of junk, garbage and yard waste.  If you find someone is in violation of this requirement you may file a complaint with our Code Compliance department and we will follow up with the property owner. 

Who do I call if there is an abandoned car parked in the street?

Cars that are obviously inoperable or unlicensed are not permitted to be parked on the street. You may contact either the Kelso Police Department or the Code Compliance Department with the complaint.  We will send someone out to investigate and tag the car if it is in violation. If the car is not removed in the allotted time, it will be towed.

What do I do if I find a homeless camp in the City?

Camping is not permitted within the City limits unless it is located in an approved campground or if they have obtained a permit.  If you see people illegally camping contact the Kelso Police department and they will work with our Code Compliance department to get the area cleaned up.

I don’t think my neighbor has a permit for his building project, should I report this?

Yes.  Building permits and proper inspections help create safe buildings for the current occupants and future occupants.  If you see unpermitted construction file a complaint form and our staff will follow up on it.

Are people allowed to live in RVs and travel trailers?

RVs, and trailers are not permitted to be used for human habitation except in approved RV parks and mobile home communities.  If the motorhome or travel trailer is on the street, or public property, please contact the Kelso Police Department for an unlawful camping complaint. 

If the motorhome or travel trailer is on private property, our code allows this for a temporary basis not to exceed 7 days by visitors to a single-family residence provided that the RV, trailer, or tent is located in the driveway or in the yard outside the required setbacks.  If there is a violation on private property file a complaint with our Code Compliance department and we will follow up with the property owner. 

What can I do about my neighbor’s tree limbs extending over onto my property?

The City code does not regulate trees extending over or onto neighboring property.  This is a civil matter. You may want to discuss this matter with your neighbor or seek legal advice for property disputes.

What can I do about my neighbor’s tall grass and blackberry bushes growing out of control?

It is a code violation to have grass and weeds in excess of 12 inches in height and uncontrolled berry bushes.  You can file a complaint with our Code Compliance department and we will follow up with the property owner. 

I received a letter regarding about my property being out of compliance.  What should I do?

If you received a certified letter in the mail from the City of Kelso Code Compliance Officer, the letter will state the nature of the complaint and provide you with directions on how to respond.  It is your responsibility as the property owner to call the Code Compliance Officer prior to the deadline date in the letter.  The nature of the violation will determine the next steps to be taken.  The Code Compliance Officer will work with you to resolve the matter and bring your property into compliance with the code.   

What if the property owner refuses to take care of the violation?

If a property owner fails to comply after written notices, they may be fined Civilly. Civil fines are non-criminal and are appealable. If an owner refuses or is unable to comply, the City may seek a court order to enter the property and abate the nuisance at the owner’s expense.