Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1962 No. 126 -
Attorney General John J. O'Connell


Notice of a public hearing for the purpose of changing the general plans of a port commission need be published but once, at least ten days prior to the hearing, in a newspaper of general circulation in the port district.

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                                                                    May 2, 1962

Honorable John A. Petrich
State Senator, 26th District
806 Washington Building
Tacoma, Washington

                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 61-62 No. 126

Dear Sir:

            By letter previously acknowledged you have requested the opinion of this office upon a question which we paraphrase as follows:

            Under RCW 53.20.020, is notice of a public hearing for the purpose of changing the general plans of a port commission required to be published daily for ten successive days, or is one publication, made at least 10 days prior to the hearing, all that is necessary?

            It is the opinion of this office that the notice of such hearing need be published only once, at least ten days prior to the hearing.


            RCW 53.20.020 provides as follows:

            "When such general plans shall have been adopted or approved, as aforesaid, every improvement to be made by said commission shall be made substantially in accordance therewith unless and until such general plans shall have been officially changed by the port commission after a public hearing thereon, of whichat least ten days' notice shall be published in a newspaper in general circulation in such port district."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Although we have found no case in point from our own supreme court,  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] other jurisdictions have uniformly held that a requirement of ten, twenty, thirty, or any other number of "days' notice," does not contemplate a daily printing of the advertisement or notice, but that the requirement will be satisfied by a single insertion made the requisite number of days in advance.

            Thus, inJackson v. Guss, 86 Kan. 280, 120 Pac. 353 (1912), the court had before it a statute relating to the sale of school land which provided in material part:

            ". . . 'The county treasurer shall then offer the unsold portion of all school lands for sale at public auction, after giving four weeks' notice thereof in some newspaper published in such county; . . .'"

            In holding that a single publication of notice made four weeks prior to sale at public auction satisfied the statutory requirement, the court stated at page 354:

            "The natural and ordinary meaning of the language of the statute, authorizing a sale of school land to be made 'after giving four weeks' notice thereof in some newspaper,' seems to be that a notice shall be published at least four weeks before the day of sale.  To give a four weeks notice of an event is to give notice of it four weeks in advance of its happening. . . ."

            InHarrison v. Newman, 71 Kan. 324, 80 Pac. 599 (1905), the court was confronted with a statute which required at least three days' notice in the official city paper to be given of the meeting of appraisers in condemnation proceedings.  In holding that the statute was satisfied by a single publication of notice nine days before the time set, the court said at page 600:

            ". . . Plaintiff . . . argues that 'three days' notice in the official city paper means three publications on three separate days in that paper.'  We do not think this a correct interpretation.  A three‑days notice of a meeting is a notice given three days before the meeting is to be held.  One publication in a daily paper is a notice, and if it is made three days in advance of the time set it is a three‑days notice. . . ."

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            InMcGilvery v. Lewiston, 13 Idaho 338, 90 Pac. 348 (1907), it was held that where a statute provides for the giving of twenty days' notice by publication in some newspaper, but does not specify any number of issues of the paper in which the notice shall be published, the statute is fully complied with if the notice is published in one issue of the paper, and that publication occurs twenty days prior to the date of the meeting or other action of which the publication purports to give notice.

            Again, inAldis v. South Park Commissioners, 171 Ill. 424, 49 N.E. 565 (1898), the statute in issue required park commissioners to give at least ten days' notice of the application for confirmation of an assessment for improvement of a street, such notice to be published in one or more newspapers in the county at least ten days before the time named for such application.  The court, in holding that it was sufficient if the notice be published but once ten days before the time named for the application, stated at page 567:

            ". . . The legislature, in the enactment of the statute, no doubt understood the difference between 10 days' notice and 10 successive days' notice, and, if it had been intended to require 10 successive days' notice, language indicating that intention would have been incorporated in the section before it was adopted. . . ."

            To the same effect as the above holdings are Andrews v. The Ohio and Mississippi Railroad Co., 14 Ind. 169 (1860);Southworth v. Glasgow, 232 Mo. 108, 132 S.W. 1168 (1910);Central Savings Bank v. Baltimore, 71 Md. 515, 18 Atl. 809 (1889);Muskingum Valley Turnpike Co. v. Ward, 13 Ohio 120 (1844); andCity of Newport News v. Potter, 122 Fed. 321 (1903).

            Based upon the foregoing authorities, we conclude that the notice provided for in RCW 53.20.020 need be published but once, at least ten days prior to the date of hearing.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General