Graffiti Ordinance Presented to City Council, April 22, 2014

Asheville City Council Agenda for April 22, 2014 includes:

VI. NEW BUSINESS:

A.         Ordinance amending Chapter 10 (Nuisances) of the Code of Ordinances by adding an article on the regulation of graffiti.  Documents

Staff recommendations have been modified to reflect input from the community and property owners. Three key steps to combatting graffiti in our community have been outlined in the staff report recommendation to Council.

Excerpt from the Staff Report is below, but we encourage you to read the full report at this link.

The City’s “Graffiti Removal Initiative” consists of three steps. The first step is to immediately impose significant escalating civil penalties on the perpetrator. This scale is detailed in the attached draft ordinance.

(The Draft Ordinance is immediately after the staff report and includes definitions, prohibitions, removal requirements, enforcement including civil penalties against perpetrator, and property owner appeals.)

The second step is a 90 day concentrated initiative to aggressively remove graffiti from public property. A 90 day graffiti removal initiative to allow the property owners to get significant assistance from the City is proposed from July 1, 2014 to September 30, 2014. During this time, the property owner can request assistance from the City. The property owner would be required to sign a waiver and agree to pay 10% of the cost of removal. The City would pay up to $500 per building per incident. The City would consider budgeting $300,000 toward this 90 day graffiti removal initiative.

The third step in the graffiti removal initiative is to require property owners to remove graffiti on their property with a reduced level of assistance from the City. This step would begin on October 1, 2014, when the ordinance is fully in effect, the City would still provide assistance to the property owners in the graffiti removal process but the owner will be responsible to reimburse 100% of the cost of removal. This ordinance does not fine the property owner for failure to remove graffiti.

The City’s new Graffiti Ordinance encourages property owners to immediately remove graffiti. The ordinance will not become effective as to the property owner until October 1, 2014, while the City implements a graffiti removal assistance program, to partner with and assist private property owners in removing graffiti from their properties. Upon a property owner’s failure to remove graffiti and/or partner with the City to remove the graffiti, the City will, upon compliance with process, remove the graffiti and assess a lien against the property. Additionally, the perpetrators will continue to be subjected to criminal prosecution, while the new ordinance will also require the assessment of a civil penalty against the perpetrator, based upon an escalating formula.


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