Chapter 8.55


8.55.010    Definitions.

8.55.020    Graffiti deemed nuisance.

8.55.030    Graffiti prohibited.

8.55.040    Graffiti – Notice of removal.

8.55.050    City costs enforceable – Debt – Lien.

8.55.060    Appeal.

8.55.070    Removal by city.

8.55.010 Definitions.

(1) “Graffiti” means the defacing, damaging or destroying by etching, spraying of paint or marking of ink, chalk, dye or other similar substances on public or private buildings, structures, places and properties.

(2) “Graffiti abatement procedure” means the abatement procedure which identifies graffiti, issues notice to the landowner to abate the graffiti, and cures in absence of response.

(3) “Private contractor” means any person with whom the city shall have duly contracted to remove graffiti. [Ord. 488 § 1, 2008; Ord. 270 § 2, 1999]

8.55.020 Graffiti deemed nuisance.

(1) Graffiti and other defacement of public and private property, including walls, rocks, bridges, buildings, fences, gates, signage, and other structures, trees, and other real and personal property within the city constitutes a nuisance.

(2) Although it is appropriate, where possible, to request that the courts require people who are convicted of acts of defacement and vandalism involving application of graffiti to public or private property to restore the property so defaced, damaged or destroyed, obtaining convictions for such acts is difficult because the offenses involving graffiti can be committed so very quickly and secretively that witnesses to the acts are frequently nonexistent.

(3) Although the public should be encouraged to cooperate in the elimination of graffiti by reporting the same to the proper authorities, it is also important to eliminate the presence of graffiti from the community so that the product of the illegal acts of those involved in application of graffiti is not visible and the property on which the graffiti is located and surrounding properties do not suffer diminution of value. [Ord. 270 § 3, 1999]

8.55.030 Graffiti prohibited.

It shall be unlawful for any person to write, paint or draw upon any wall, rock, bridge, building, fence, gate, signage or other structure, tree or other real or personal property, either publicly or privately owned, any drawing, inscription, figure or mark of the type which is commonly known and referred to as “graffiti” within the city without permission from the city.

Violation of any of the provisions of this section shall constitute a gross misdemeanor. [Ord. 561 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 270 § 4, 1999]

8.55.040 Graffiti – Notice of removal.

(1) Whenever the city manager, or designee, determines that graffiti exists on any public or private buildings, structures, and places which are visible to any person utilizing any public road, parkway, alley, sidewalk or other right-of-way within the city and when weather conditions permit the painting of exterior surfaces, the city manager or designee shall cause a notice to be issued to abate such nuisance. The property owner shall have five business days after the date of the notice to remove the graffiti or the same will be subject to abatement by the city.

(2) The notice to abate graffiti pursuant to this section shall cause a written notice to be served upon the owner(s) of the affected premises, as such owner’s name and address appears on the last property tax assessment rolls of King County, Washington. If there is no known address for the owner, the notice shall be sent in care of the property address. The notice required by this section may be served in any one of the following manners:

(a) By personal service on the owner, occupant or manager of the property;

(b) By U.S. first class mail, or registered or certified mail addressed to the owner at the last known address of said owner. If this address is unknown, the notice will be sent to the property address.

If notice is served by U.S. first class mail, notice shall be deemed to have been received three days after depositing such notice, postage prepaid, in the United States mail in a properly addressed envelope. [Ord. 488 § 2, 2008; Ord. 270 § 5, 1999]

8.55.050 City costs enforceable – Debt – Lien.

Any and all costs incurred by the city in the abatement of the graffiti nuisance as provided in this chapter shall be recoverable pursuant to Chapter 1.15 BMC. [Ord. 561 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 270 § 6, 1999]

8.55.060 Appeal.

Within 14 calendar days from the mailing or from personal service of the notice of intent to remove graffiti, the owner or person occupying or managing the premises affected may appeal the matter to the hearing examiner serving the city. Appeals will be governed by the provisions of Chapter 1.15 BMC. [Ord. 561 § 2 (Exh. A), 2012; Ord. 312 § 10, 2000; Ord. 270 § 7, 1999]

8.55.070 Removal by city.

Upon failure of persons to comply with the notice by the designated date, or such continued date thereafter as the city manager or designee approves, then the graffiti may be abated by city forces or by private contract, and the city or its private contractor is expressly authorized to enter upon the premises for such purposes during regular business hours or at times mutually agreeable with the property owner or occupant. All reasonable efforts to minimize damage from such entry shall be taken by the city. If the city provides for the removal of the graffiti, it shall not authorize nor undertake to provide for the painting or repair of any more extensive area than the area where the graffiti is located. When graffiti is painted over, the city or its private contractor shall attempt to match the paint with the underlying color of the defaced surface.

Property owners in the city of Burien may consent in advance to city entry onto private property for graffiti removal purposes. [Ord. 270 § 8, 1999]