Chapter 9.08


9.08.010    Definitions.

9.08.020    Unlawful application of graffiti.

9.08.030    Unlawful possession of graffiti implements or paraphernalia – Exceptions.

9.08.040    Restitution – Community service.

9.08.050    Use of public funds for graffiti removal.

9.08.060    Property owner responsibility – Graffiti removal.

9.08.010 Definitions.

The definitions set forth in this section apply throughout this chapter.

A.    “Aerosol paint container” means any aerosol container, regardless of the material from which it is made, which is adapted or made for the purpose of spraying paint, dye, or other substances.

B.    “Felt tip marker” means any indelible marker or similar implement, with a tip at its broadest width greater than one-eighth inch, containing anything other than a solution which can be removed with water after it dries.

C.    “Graffiti” means any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, painting, design, label, or other defacement that is marked, etched, scratched, engraved, drawn, painted, sprayed, or otherwise affixed on any surface of public or private property, either natural or manmade; to the extent that the graffiti was not authorized in advance by the owner or occupant of the property, or, despite advance authorization, is otherwise deemed a public nuisance.

D.    “Graffiti stick” or “paint stick” means any device containing a solid form of paint, chalk, wax, epoxy, or other substance capable of being applied to a surface by pressure, and upon application, leaving a mark at least one-sixteenth of an inch in width.

E.    “Gum label” means any sheet of paper, fabric, plastic, or other substance with an adhesive backing which, when placed on a surface, is not immediately removable.

F.    “Graffiti implement or paraphernalia” means any aerosol paint container, felt tip marker, graffiti stick or paint stick, gum label, brush, roller, or etching tool or any other device capable of scarring or marking any surface, including but not limited to glass, metal, concrete, or wood; and any piece, design, or scrapbook or drawings illustrating graffiti marks or signs.

G.    “Owner” means any entity or entities having a legal or equitable interest in real or personal property, including, but not limited to, the interest of a tenant or lessee.

H.    “Premises open to the public” means all public spaces, including, but not limited to, streets, alleys, sidewalks, parks, and public open space, as well as private property onto which the public is regularly invited or permitted to enter for any purpose, the doorways and entrances to those buildings or dwellings, and the grounds enclosing them.

I.    “Property” means any real or personal property which is affixed, incidental or appurtenant to real property, including, but not limited to, any structure, fence, wall, sign, or any separate part thereof, whether permanent or not.

J.    “Responsible public agency” means a public owner, the United States of America, the state of Washington, or any other state, and all political subdivisions thereof, a federal, state, or local department or agency, or the director or administrator of a federal, state, or local department or agency who has authority over the public property’s maintenance or management. There may be more than one responsible public agency for a particular public property.

K.    “Responsible private party” means a private owner, an entity, a person acting as an agent for a private owner by agreement, a person or entity who has authority over the private property, or a person or entity responsible for the private property’s maintenance or management. Irrespective of any arrangement to the contrary with any other party, each private owner shall always be a responsible private party for the purposes of this chapter. There may be more than one responsible private party for a particular private property.

L.    “Unauthorized” means without the prior express permission or consent of a responsible public agency or a responsible private party. (Ord. 1662 § 1, 2011)

9.08.020 Unlawful application of graffiti.

A.    It is unlawful for any person to paint, spray, chalk, etch, draw, or otherwise apply graffiti on any natural or manmade surface on public or, without written permission of the owner or occupant, privately owned buildings, signs, walls, fences, permanent structures, property, or places or other surfaces within the City.

B.    Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed 365 days, or by both such fine and imprisonment.

C.    In addition to penalties described in subsection (B) of this section, any person who is caught in the act of applying graffiti on public or private property shall have the duty to remove the graffiti within 24 hours after notice by the City or private owner of the property involved. Failure of any person to remove graffiti or to pay for the removal shall constitute an additional violation of this chapter. (Ord. 1662 § 1, 2011)

9.08.030 Unlawful possession of graffiti implements or paraphernalia – Exceptions.

A.    It is unlawful for any person to have in his or her possession any graffiti implement or paraphernalia, in a manner or under circumstances demonstrating his or her intent to paint, spray, chalk, draw, etch, or otherwise apply graffiti, while:

1.    In a public place, or private property without the prior written consent of the responsible private party; or

2.    On any school property, grounds, facilities, buildings, or structures, or in areas immediately adjacent to those specific locations upon public property; or

3.    While in or upon premises open to the public, or while in or upon any public facility, playground, recreational facility, or other public building or structure owned or operated by the City or while in or within 50 feet of an underpass, bridge, overpass, pedestrian crossing, bridge abutment, storm drain, retaining wall, transit shelter, or similar types of infrastructure unless otherwise authorized by the City or responsible public agency.

B.    Exceptions.

1.    The proscriptions of subsection (A)(2) of this section shall not apply to the possession of broad-tipped markers or other implements by a student attending and actively enrolled in a class which formally requires use of such markers or implements, while the student is attending class or traveling to or from the school at which the class is being attended. The burden of proof in any prosecution for violation of subsection (B) of this section shall be upon the student to establish the need to possess a broad-tipped marker or other implement.

2.    The proscriptions of subsection (A)(2) of this section shall not apply to an authorized school employee, volunteer, contractor, or parent of a student attending class at the school.

3.    The proscriptions of subsection (A)(3) of this section shall not apply to an authorized City employee of the City of Ferndale or agents thereof, or its contractors or employees of other government agencies working with the City of Ferndale.

C.    Any person who violates the provisions of this section shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor and may be punished by a fine of not more than $5,000 or by imprisonment not to exceed 365 days or by both such fine and imprisonment.

1.    In the case of a minor, the parents or legal guardian shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for payment of all fines.

2.    Failure of the parents or legal guardian to make payment will result in the filing of a lien on the parents’ or legal guardian’s property that includes the fine and administrative costs.

3.    Upon an application and finding of indigence, the court may decline to order fines against the minor, parents, or guardian. (Ord. 1662 § 1, 2011)

9.08.040 Restitution – Community service.

A.    In addition to any punishment specified in this chapter, the court may order any violator to make restitution to the victim for damages or loss caused by the violator’s offense in the amount or manner determined by the court. For purposes of this section, if the City uses its funds and/or other resources to remove graffiti from City-owned property or, in agreement with the owner, from non-City owned property, the City shall be considered a victim for purposes of restitution.

B.    In lieu of, or as part of, the penalties specified in this chapter, a violator may be required to perform community service as described by the court based on the following minimum requirements:

1.    If the court wishes to impose community service in lieu of other penalties provided herein, the violator shall be ordered to perform at least 30 hours of community service. (Ord. 1662 § 1, 2011)

9.08.050 Use of public funds for graffiti removal.

Whenever the City becomes aware of or is notified and determines that graffiti is located on publicly or privately owned property visible from premises open to the public, the City is authorized to use public funds for the removal of graffiti, or for the painting or repairing of the graffiti, but shall not authorize or undertake to provide for the painting or repair of any more extensive area than that where the graffiti is located, unless it is determined in writing that a more extensive area is required to be repainted or repaired in order to avoid an aesthetic disfigurement to the neighborhood or community, or unless the property owner or responsible party agrees to pay for the costs of repainting or repairing the more extensive area. All aspects of graffiti removal are at the discretion of the City including, but not limited to, the method of and material used for repair. (Ord. 1662 § 1, 2011)

9.08.060 Property owner responsibility – Graffiti removal.

It shall be the responsibility of the private property owner to remove graffiti placed on their property within 10 days of the receipt of notice of defacement provided by the City. The property owner may be eligible for restitution for graffiti removal with court approval. It shall be the responsibility of the property owner to inform the Ferndale Police Department of graffiti vandalism and to ensure that photographs are provided to the City of the vandalism. The property owner shall also be responsible for providing receipts to the City for the purpose of demonstrating the actual cost of graffiti removal. If graffiti vandalism is not removed within 10 days, the City may cite the property owner for maintaining a nuisance on their property, subject to the enforcement regulations of Chapter 1.12 FMC. (Ord. 1819 § 6, 2013; Ord. 1817 § 2, 2013; Ord. 1662 § 1, 2011)