Item Coversheet
Item #5.

Staff Report: 070-22


Mayor and City Council


Eric Holmes, City Manager





Proposed changes to the Vancouver Municipal Code (“VMC”) 7.05.010, 7.04.020, 7.04.030, 2.46.020
Key Points
  • Certain new definitions and additions to the Criminal Code (Chapter 7) would enhance public health, safety and welfare.
  • The proposed change to VMC 7.05.010 would expand the definition of public disturbances to restrict certain additional noises and vibrations within residential districts.
  • The proposed change to VMC 7.04.020 and 7.04.030 would expand the definition of pedestrian interference to prohibit targeted picketing or protesting before or about the residence or dwelling of another.
  • The proposed change to VMC 2.46.020 would allow the City to assert a claim or lawsuit on behalf of an official, employee or volunteer to the extent it is reasonably necessary in order to further a public purpose.

Strategic Plan Alignment

Goal 3, Objective 3.1: Strengthen community identity and sense of belonging

Goal 6, Objective 6.1: Support a strong, active neighborhood program that enhances livability and community connections

Present Situation

VMC 7.05.010 (1) (c) restricts certain noises made near public streets during certain hours, but it does not regulate other noises like noise makers, whistles, fireworks, sound amplifying equipment or airhorns. It also does not regulate vibrations or other noises within a residential districts that unreasonably disturb or interfere with the peace, comfort, and repose of owners or possessors of real property. These proposed changes would pass constitutional scrutiny because they are content-neutral, and narrowly tailored by only limiting certain types of noises in residential districts. The changes do not affect any other time, manner, or location of other noise, speech or communication.

Currently, VMC 7.04.020 does not prohibit the targeted picketing or protesting directed at a single residence or dwelling of another and VMC 7.04.030 does not define the meaning of targeted picketing or protesting. These proposed changes are in line with the United States Supreme Court’s decision of Frisby v. Schultz, which granted cities the power to regulate picketing or protesting directed at a residence or dwelling of a particular person.


VMC 2.46.020 currently requires the City to defend and indemnify an official, employee or volunteer (current or former) when a claim is made against those individuals for actions or inactions they took on behalf of the City. These proposed changes would go beyond defense and indemnity and empower the City to take affirmative action like seeking a restraining or anti-harassment order against an alleged perpetrator, or seeking an order of removal (trespass) of an unauthorized person. This type of affirmative relief would further a “fundamental public purpose of government,” so as not to run afoul of the Gift of Public Funds Doctrine, which prevents the City from using money or resources to aid any one individual.

  1. Regulate noise produced by human activities to reduce the serious and growing environmental and health problem caused by unregulated noise.
  2. Adequately control noise to positively affect people’s health, safety, welfare, and safeguard property values and the environment.
  3. Effectively control certain noises to allow people to enjoy normal pursuits of life, including recreation, work and socializing.
  4. Protect the City of Vancouver’s officials, employees and volunteers who may be targeted for actions or inactions they took on behalf of the City.

There are no known disadvantages.
Budget Impact
No direct budget impacts. Generally, legal representation of public officials is provided by the City Attorney’s Office, however, indirect expenses could result in instances where outside counsel is needed to assert a claim or lawsuit reasonably necessary in order to further a public purpose. That is, if the City Attorney’s Office cannot provide those services for reasons stated in VMC 2.46.020 (b).
Prior Council Review
  • March 31, 2022 Memorandum to Mayor and City Council
  • Council Workshop on April 11, 2022

Action Requested

On Monday, May 23, 2022, approve the ordinance on first reading, setting date of second reading and public hearing for Monday, June 6, 2022.


Nena Cook, Chief Assistant City Attorney, 360-487-8503