9.15.010    Purpose and intent.

9.15.020    Definitions.

9.15.030    Graffiti regulations.

9.15.035    Removal of graffiti.

9.15.040    Violation.

9.15.010 Purpose and intent.

The purpose and intent of this chapter is to help prevent the spread of graffiti vandalism and to establish a program for the removal of graffiti from public and private property. Graffiti is a public nuisance and destructive to the rights and values of property owners as well as the entire community. It is appropriate to require people convicted of Defacement to restore the Property. However, Defacement is typically committed quickly and secretively and witnesses to the Defacement typically do not exist, so it is rare that Property subjected to Defacement is restored by those persons who cause the Defacement. Unless the City acts to remove graffiti from public and private property, the graffiti tends to remain. Other properties then become the target of graffiti, and entire neighborhoods are affected and become less desirable places in which to be, all to the detriment of the City and its citizens. This Chapter intends to provide additional enforcement tools to protect public and private property from acts of graffiti vandalism and defacement. The purpose and intent of this chapter is to help prevent the spread of graffiti vandalism and to establish a program for the removal of graffiti from public and private property by an offender. (Ord 04-137 §1, 2004; Ord 99-49 §5, 1999)

9.15.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter, the following terms are defined in this section:

"Aerosol paint container" means any aerosol container that is adapted or made for the purpose of applying spray paint or other substances capable of defacing property.

"Broad tipped marker" means any felt tip indelible marker or similar implement with a flat or angled writing surface that, at its broadest width is greater than one-eighth of an inch, containing ink or other pigmented liquid that is not water soluble.

"Etching equipment" means any tool, device, or substance that can be used to make permanent marks on any natural or man-made surface.

"Graffiti" means the unauthorized defacing, damaging or destroying by spraying paint or marking of ink, chalk, dye or other similar substances, or scratching or etching on public or private buildings, structures and places.

"Graffiti implement" means an aerosol paint container, a broad tip marker, gum label, paint stick or graffiti stick, etching equipment, brush or any other device capable of scarring or leaving a visible mark on any natural or man-made surface.

"Graffiti Nuisance Property" means property upon which Graffiti has not been removed as required by a Notice to Remove Graffiti.

"Notice to Remove Graffiti" means a Civil Regulatory Order, as defined by QMC 17.15.030 issued pursuant to section 9.15.035.

"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.

"Paint stick" or "graffiti stick" means any device containing a solid form of paint, chalk, wax, epoxy, shoe polish or other similar substance capable of being applied to a surface by pressure and leaving a mark of at least one-eighth inch in width.

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

"Responsible Party" means the legal owner of property according to the records of Grant County, or an entity or person acting as an agent for an owner by agreement, who has authority over the property or is responsible for the Property’s maintenance or management. Irrespective of any arrangement to the contrary with any other party, each owner shall always be a Responsible Party for purposes of this chapter. There may be more than one responsible party for a particular Property.

"Unauthorized" means without the consent of a responsible party. (Ord 04-137 §2; Ord 99-49 §5)

9.15.030 Graffiti regulations.

A. Defacement. No person may apply graffiti to any natural or man-made surface on any City-owned property or, without the permission of the owner or occupant, on any non-City-owned property.

B. Possession of Graffiti Implements. No person may possess any graffiti implement outside their normal residence or place of abode, between the time beginning thirty minutes prior to sunset and ending thirty minutes after sunrise the following day. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply in the following instances:

1. Where the graffiti implements are in a motor vehicle involved in interstate travel;

2. Where the person is engaged in an employment activity, or going to or returning home from an employment activity, without any detour or stop, taking the most direct route;

3. Where the person is involved in an emergency;

4. Where the person is attending or preparing for an official school, religious or other recreational activity sponsored by the City, a church, a civic organization, a school district, or another similar entity or traveling to or returning home from, without any detour or stop, taking the most direct route, to such an activity;

5. Where the person possessing the graffiti implements are possessing them in the ordinary course of their business or profession.

C. Graffiti Nuisance Property. A Responsible Party shall not allow a Property to become a Graffiti Nuisance Property. (Ord 04-137 §3; Ord 99-49 §5)

9.15.035 Removal of graffiti.

A. Removal by Responsible Party. Graffiti shall be removed from Property by the Responsible Party within three (3) days of the service of a Notice of Removal on the Responsible Party.

1. Notice to Remove Graffiti. Whenever the Code Enforcement Officer determines 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 or cleaning of exterior surfaces, the Code Enforcement Officer shall cause a Notice to Remove Graffiti to be served on the Owner to remove the Graffiti within three (3) days of the Service of the Notice to Remove Graffiti. In addition to the requirements set out in QMC 17.15.030(C), the Notice to Remove Graffiti shall state that if the Graffiti is not removed within that time the Property will become a Graffiti Nuisance Property, and the Graffiti subject to removal by the City, with the Responsible Party and the Property subject to monetary penalties and costs in accordance with this chapter, to be enforced as a lien for labor and materials, pursuant to RCW 60.04.

2. Service of Notice to Remove Graffiti. The Notice to Remove Graffiti shall be served upon the Responsible Party by leaving a copy at the Property with some person of suitable age and discretion, and sending a copy to the Owner via Certified Mail, returned receipt requested, but if there be no such person of suitable age and discretion, by posting the Notice to Remove Graffiti at a place or places on the Property deemed most likely to cause actual notice thereof to the person occupying the Property.

3. Appeal. A Responsible Owner may appeal (1) the conclusion the Property is Graffiti Nuisance Property and/or (2) the assessment of the cost of removing Graffiti to the Board of Adjustment, pursuant to QMC 17.09.040. Provided, however, the filing of an appeal limited solely to the question of the assessment of the cost of removal shall not impede the removal of the Graffiti by the City.

C. Removal by City. Graffiti may be removed from Property by the City.

1. Cost to Responsible Party. The cost incurred by the City in removing Graffiti from Property shall be borne by the Responsible Party if the Responsible Party does not remove Graffiti pursuant to a Notice to Remove Graffiti. The cost of removing Graffiti shall be billed to the Responsible Party and shall be paid to the City within ten (10) calendar days.

2. Cost to City. The City shall bear the cost of removing Graffiti if the City removes the Graffiti from Property prior to the date stated in the Notice to Remove Graffiti. (Ord 04-137 §4)

9.15.040 Violation.

Any person found to be in violation of this chapter shall be deemed to have committed a civil infraction and for each violation shall be subject to a C-1 civil penalty pursuant to Section 1.01.118, equal to a C-1 penalty. (Ord 04-137§5; Ord 99-49 §5)