9.62.010    Purpose

9.62.020    Definitions

9.62.030    Graffiti prohibited

9.62.040    Notice

9.62.050    Service of notice

9.62.060    Removal of graffiti

9.62.070    Failure to remove graffiti

9.62.080    Removal by City

9.62.090    Summary abatement by City

9.62.100    Liability for City’s cost of abatement

9.62.110    Restitution

9.62.010 PURPOSE.

The purpose of this chapter is to promote the public health, safety, and welfare of residents and protect property within the City by providing a program for removal of graffiti from walls and structures on both public and private property and providing regulations designed to prevent and control the further spread of graffiti in the City. The increase of graffiti on both public and private buildings, structures, and places is creating a condition of blight within the City, which results in a deterioration of property and business values for adjacent and surrounding properties, all to the detriment of the City.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


For the purpose of this chapter, the following definitions shall apply unless the context clearly indicates or requires a different meaning.

ABATE or ABATEMENT. The elimination, removal, or termination of graffiti from public or private property located within the City limits.

COSTS OF REMOVAL. Any cost incurred by the City for removal, elimination, or termination of graffiti from either public or private property.

DEFACE. Intentionally altering the physical shape or physical appearance of property by inscription, words, figures, signs, or design without permission of the property owner.

EXPENSES OF ABATEMENT. All costs incurred by the City related to abatement of graffiti conditions, including without limitation, the costs of removal, court costs, attorneys fees, administrative costs, and any law enforcement costs relating to the identification and/or apprehension of a person of who defaces property with graffiti or who fails to remove graffiti from property after being ordered to do so.

GANG-RELATED GRAFFITI. Graffiti that is placed on private or public property by some person or person reasonably believed by the City’s Police Department or other local law enforcement agency to be a member of, or affiliated with a criminal street gang, as that term is defined in Cal. Penal Code § 186.22. These persons may self-identify as gang members, may have been arrested as a gang member, may wear distinctive clothing or personal items designed to identify their particular gang, or have tattoos indicating gang membership.

GRAFFITI. Any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, mark, sign, or design that is written, marked, etched, scratched, drawn, pasted, sprayed, painted, or otherwise affixed on any real or personal property.

PERSON. A natural person(s).

PROPERTY OWNER. Any person who is the owner of real or personal property that has been defaced, or who has primary responsibility for control over the property, or who has primary responsibility for maintenance and repair of the property, and shall include any person owning, leasing, renting, occupying, managing, or having charge of any property or structure.

PUBLIC VIEW. Any public or private area that is accessed from a public roadway, sidewalk, or common area and that is open to view by persons from the public roadway, sidewalk, or common area.

RESPONSIBLE ADULT. A parent, legal guardian, or other person over the age of 21 years who is charged with legal responsibility and/or supervision of a minor.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005; Am. Ord. 870, § 15, passed 8-25-2008)


A.    No person shall place graffiti upon any public or privately owned permanent structure or personal property located on publicly or privately owned real property that is within public view in the City. Any violation of this provision may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor in addition to any other remedies provided for the violation, including without limitation, the penalties provided in Cal. Penal Code § 594.

B.    No property owner shall permit or allow any graffiti to be placed upon or remain on any real property or personal property when the graffiti is within public view, for a period in excess of that described in this chapter for notice and removal of graffiti.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)

9.62.040 NOTICE.

A.    Whenever the Chief of Police or his or her designee determine that graffiti exists on any permanent structure in the City and is within public view, he or she shall cause a notice to be issued to the property owner to remove the graffiti. The property owner shall have fifteen (15) calendar days after the date of the notice to remove the graffiti or the property will be subject to abatement by the City.

B.    The property owner may appeal the determination of the Chief of Police or his or her designee regarding the existence of graffiti, whether the person upon whom the notice was served is responsible for its removal, or whether circumstances exist that would justify an extension of time for removal by filing a written notice of the appeal with the City Manager within ten (10) days after the mailing of the original notice to the property owner. The City Manager is authorized to review and render a decision on any appeal and shall serve the decision on the person(s) filing the appeal within five (5) business days of the decision.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


A.    The notice to remove graffiti shall be served upon the property owner(s) as the owner’s name and address appears on the last equalized property tax assessment rolls of the County of Mendocino. In addition, if there is a tenant of the premises, the notice shall also be served on the tenant. If there is no known address for the property owner, the notice shall be sent in care of the property address. If there is no person occupying the property, the notice shall be posted thereon.

B.    The notice required by this chapter may be served in any one (1) of the following manners, unless the notice is served by posting:

1.    By personal service on the owner, occupant, or person in charge of the property; or

2.    By registered or certified mail addressed to the owner at the last known address of the person.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


No property owner shall permit his or her property that has been defaced with graffiti to remain so defaced for more than 15 calendar days following notification to the property owner or other responsible person(s) from a City official to remove the graffiti.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


For each day that graffiti remains in public view beyond fifteen (15) calendar days following service of a notice to remove, the property owner shall be in violation of this chapter. Each and every such day shall constitute a new and separate violation, and may be charged and enforced as such.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


Upon failure of persons to comply with the notice to remove by the designated date, or such continued date thereafter as the City Manager or his or her designated representative approves, the City Manager is authorized to cause the graffiti to be removed by City forces or private contract, and the City or its private contractor is expressly authorized to enter upon the premises for such purposes, following reasonable notice to the property owner, occupant or person in charge of the property. All reasonable efforts to minimize damage from the entry shall be taken by the City. Any paint used to obliterate graffiti shall be as close as practicable to background color(s). Neither the City, nor any of its officials, officers, employees, consultants, or representatives, including a private contractor hired by the City to remove graffiti, shall be liable for alleged losses or damages pertaining to the removal of graffiti in the manner described and authorized in this chapter, save and except for any losses or damages resulting from gross negligence or willful misconduct.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


The Chief of Police or his or her designee is hereby authorized to summarily abate gang-related graffiti. The abatement may be undertaken by City staff or representatives, or by outside contractors. The costs of summary abatement, including the costs of removal and other expenses of abatement, may be assessed against the person causing or creating the graffiti, or a responsible adult, or an emancipated minor who is responsible for creating the graffiti. Recovery of the costs of removal or expenses of abatement may be enforced by the City in the manner and following the procedures described in Cal. Government Code § 38773.2.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)


A.    The property owner shall be responsible to the City for the expenses of abatement. Notice of the expenses of abatement shall be given to the property owner by the City Manager, in the same manner as provided for giving notice in § 9.62.050 (Service of Notice) hereof. The property owner may appeal the expenses of abatement to the City Manager by filing a written appeal within fifteen (15) days of the service of the notice. He or she may appeal the City Manager’s determination by written appeal in accordance with the procedures described in Chapter 1.08.

B.    Unless the expenses of abatement are paid within thirty (30) days of notice of same, or in the case of an appeal, the determination of the appeal, a notice of lien shall be recorded in the office of the Mendocino County Recorder and shall constitute a lien on the property and may be assessed against the property owner in the manner and following the procedures described in Cal. Government Code § 38773.2.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005; Am. Ord. 900, § 15, passed 12-12-2011)


The City or any property owner who suffers property damage and/or monetary loss as a result of having to remove graffiti may seek restitution for all expenses of abatement, including all costs of removal, for any damage caused by the graffiti or the removal of same. Restitution may be pursued by the City and/or the property owner in a separate civil action or as part of a criminal proceeding against the perpetrator. A responsible adult may be held liable for damage or costs incurred as a result of graffiti by a minor that defaces or otherwise damages property pursuant to this chapter.

(Ord. 849, § 2, passed -- 2005)