Chapter 6.50
GRAFFITI

Sections:

6.50.010    Purpose and intent.

6.50.020    Definitions.

6.50.030    Prohibited acts.

6.50.040    Signage required.

6.50.050    Miscellaneous.

6.50.200    Graffiti—Notice to remove.

6.50.010 Purpose and intent.

The city council of Yakima is enacting the ordinance codified in this chapter to help prevent the spread of graffiti vandalism. The city council finds that graffiti is a public nuisance and destructive of the rights and values of property owners as well as the entire community. The city council intends, through the adoption of this chapter, to provide additional enforcement tools to protect public and private property from acts of graffiti vandalism and defacement. The city council does not intend for this chapter to conflict with any existing anti-graffiti state laws or local ordinances. (Ord. 2003-48 § 1, 2003).

6.50.020 Definitions.

For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings respectively ascribed to them in this chapter, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:

“Aerosol paint” container means any aerosol container that is adapted or made for the purpose of applying paint or pigment that is not water-soluble.

“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-fourth of an inch, containing ink or other pigment that is not water-soluble.

“Etching equipment” means any tool or device with a cutting blade, which, under the time, manner and circumstances in which it is possessed, is or is likely to be used to etch graffiti. It shall not mean any key, silverware, gardening tool, pocketknife or tool used primarily for hunting.

“Graffiti” means any unauthorized inscription, figure, etching or mark of any type that is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted, or engraved on or otherwise affixed to any surface of public or private property.

“Graffiti implement” means an aerosol paint container, a broad-tipped marker, gum label, paint stick or graffiti stick, etching equipment or paintbrush.

“Paint stick” or “graffiti stick” means any device containing a solid form of paint, epoxy, or other similar substance that is not water-soluble and is capable of being applied to a surface by pressure and leaving a mark of at least one-fourth of an inch in width.

“Unauthorized” means not expressly permitted by the owner or legal occupant of the property. (Ord. 2003-48 § 2, 2003).

6.50.030 Prohibited acts.

A.    Possession of Graffiti Implements.

1.    It shall be unlawful for any person under the age of eighteen years to possess any graffiti implement while on any public or private property, other than the minor’s residence. The minor’s residence does not include the common areas of any multiunit residence. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of this subsection, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that (1) the individual in possession of the graffiti implement was attending or traveling to or from a school at which the individual was participating in a class that formally required the use of the graffiti implement or (2) that the individual had express permission to possess the graffiti implement from the owner or legal occupant of the property on which the graffiti implement was possessed.

2.    It shall be unlawful for any person to possess any graffiti implement while in or upon any public facility, park, playground, swimming pool, recreational facility, school or other public building or structure. The terms “public facility” and “public buildings or structures” do not include public streets or alleys. It is an affirmative defense to a violation of this subsection, which the defendant must prove by a preponderance of the evidence, that (1) the individual in possession of the graffiti implement was attending or traveling to or from a school at which the individual was participating in a class that formally required the use of the graffiti implement or (2) that the individual had express permission to possess the graffiti implement from the owner or legal occupant of the property on which the graffiti implement was possessed.

3.    Possession of graffiti implements is a gross misdemeanor.

B.    Accessibility to Graffiti Implements.

1.    Furnishing to Minors Prohibited. It shall be unlawful for a person, other than a parent or legal guardian to sell, exchange, give, loan, or otherwise furnish, or permit any person under the age of eighteen years of age to possess any aerosol paint container, broad-tipped marker, or paint stick.

2.    Display and Storage.

a.    Every person who owns, conducts, operates, or manages a retail commercial establishment selling aerosol paint containers, paint sticks, or broad-tipped markers shall store the containers, sticks or markers in an area continuously observable, through direct visual observation or surveillance equipment, by employees of the retail establishment during the regular course of business.

b.    In the event that a commercial retail establishment is unable to store the aerosol paint containers, paint sticks, or broad tipped markers in an area as provided in this section, the establishment shall store the aerosol paint containers, sticks, and markers in an area not accessible to the public in the regular course of business without employee assistance.

3.    Each violation shall be a separate and distinct offense.

4.    It shall be defense to a violation of this subsection, that the person who sold, gave or furnished any aerosol paint container, broad tipped marker, or paint stick reasonably relied on an officially issued identification that shows the purchaser’s age and bears his or her signature and photograph. As used in this section “officially issued identification” shall include driver’s license, instruction permit, or identification card of a state or providence of Canada; or identicard issued by the Washington State Department of Licensing under Chapter 46.20 RCW; passport; or merchant marine identification card issued by the United States Coast Guard.

5.    Any person who wrongfully sells, displays or stores graffiti implements shall be guilty of a civil infraction with a penalty in the amount of one hundred dollars. For any second or subsequent violation of this section the penalty shall be in the amount of two hundred and fifty dollars. (Ord. 2004-49 § 1, 2004: Ord. 2003-48 § 3, 2003).

6.50.040 Signage required.

Every person who operates a retail or commercial establishment selling aerosol paint, broad tipped markers, paint sticks or graffiti sticks shall place a sign in clear public view stating:

Graffiti is against the law. Any person who defaces real or personal property with paint or any other liquid or device is guilty of a crime punishable by imprisonment of up to three hundred sixty-four days and/or a fine up to five thousand dollars.

Each person violating this section shall be guilty of a civil infraction with a penalty in the amount of twenty-five dollars. For a second or subsequent violation of this section, the penalty shall be in the amount of two hundred dollars. (Ord. 2011-23 § 2, 2011: Ord. 2003-48 § 4, 2003).

6.50.050 Miscellaneous.

A.    Any minor violating this chapter shall be subject to the jurisdiction of juvenile court pursuant to Title 13 of the Revised Code of Washington.

B.    Restitution. In addition to any punishment specified in this chapter, the court shall order any violator to make restitution to the victim for damages or loss caused directly or indirectly by the violator’s offense in the amount or manner determined by the court.

C.    Community Service. As part of the penalties specified in this section, the court shall order any violator to perform community service under the supervision of a community service provider approved by the chief of police. Reasonable effort shall be made to assign the violator to a type of community service that is reasonably expected to have the most rehabilitative effect on the violator, including community service that involves graffiti removal.

D.    Severability. If any clause, part or section of this chapter shall be adjudged invalid or unconstitutional, such judgment shall not affect or invalidate the remainder of this chapter nor the application of any such clause, part or section to any other person, but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, part or section directly involved in the controversy in which such judgment was rendered. (Ord. 2004-49 § 2, 2004: Ord. 2003-48 § 5, 2003).

6.50.200 Graffiti—Notice to remove.

A.    Definitions. For the purposes of this section, the following terms shall have the following meanings:

1.    “Perpetrator” means the person who applied graffiti or the custodial parent(s) or legal guardian of any minor who has applied graffiti;

2.    “Director” means the city of Yakima director of community and economic development and/or their designee;

3.    “Removal” means where practicable, the painting over or washing off of graffiti in a manner so as to restore the affected property to a condition substantially similar to the condition of the property prior to the application of the graffiti. Where painting would fail to restore the property to its original condition, such as non water-soluble media on an otherwise unpainted brick wall, removal shall mean removal by chemical or mechanical means or, where necessary such as deep etching into property which can not reasonably be restored by other means to a condition substantially similar to that in which it was prior to the application of the graffiti for which the perpetrator is responsible, replacement of the damaged property.

B.    Removal of Graffiti by Perpetrator. Each perpetrator shall have the duty to remove graffiti within seventy-two hours after service by the director of a notice to remove graffiti. Failure of any perpetrator to remove graffiti or pay for the removal of same shall constitute a violation of this chapter. Each twenty-four hour period that elapses in which the graffiti is not removed or payment for removal has not been made shall constitute a separate violation of this chapter. Each violation shall be punishable as a civil infraction with a penalty of one hundred dollars.

C.    Whenever the director determines that graffiti exists on any public or private buildings, structures or other real or personal property; the individual responsible for applying the graffiti has been identified; and the owner or legal occupant of the subject property has given written consent for the removal, the director shall cause a notice to remove graffiti to be issued to the perpetrator. The director may specify a period in excess of seventy-two hours after the date of notice to remove graffiti when weather conditions do not permit the painting of exterior surfaces.

D.    The notice to remove graffiti issued to the perpetrator pursuant to this section shall be in writing and shall be served upon the perpetrator. The notice required by this section may be served in any one of the following manners:

1.    By personal service on the perpetrator, or

2.    By registered or certified mail addressed to the perpetrator at his or her last known address.

A copy of the notice to remove graffiti shall be provided to the owner and legal occupant by mailing a copy to the owner and legal occupants at their last known address.

E.    The notice to remove graffiti required by this section shall be in substantially the following form:

NOTICE TO REMOVE GRAFFITI

Date

To:    (perpetrator - include parental relation if applicable)

    The City of Yakima has determined that (perpetrator) is responsible for applying graffiti to (affected address/description of affected structures or personal property).

    NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that you are required by chapter 6.50 of the Yakima Municipal Code, at your own expense, to remove, replace or paint over the graffiti located on the property located at (address), Yakima, Washington, within seventy-two (72) hours after the date of this notice; or, if you fail to do so, the City may issue to you an infraction with a fine of $100 for each day that the graffiti remains. You are responsible for the costs of removal. Removal or replacement must be done in a manner and at a time and date agreed upon by the property owner. See the attached Consent to Remove Graffiti that specifies the method of removal or replacement.

    All persons having any objection to, or interest in said matters, are hereby notified to submit any objections or comments to the Director of Community and Economic Development of the City of Yakima Washington at (address). Objections must be in writing and must be received within seventy-two (72) hours from the date of this notice. Failure to object in a timely manner will waive such objections.

F.    The written consent to remove graffiti shall be on a form approved by the city attorney, and shall specify the method of removal. A copy of the consent to remove graffiti shall be attached to the notice to remove graffiti.

G.    Upon receipt of a timely objection from the perpetrator or other interested party, the director shall, within ten days of receipt of said timely objection, forward the same to the Yakima Municipal Court. The Yakima Municipal Court shall conduct a hearing within thirty days of receipt of such notice. The director or their designee, the owner of the victimized property, and perpetrators entitled to be served with the notice to remove graffiti shall be notified in writing of the date of the hearing, shall be entitled to participate in the hearing as affected parties and each party may call witnesses. Any party or other person affected by the graffiti may appear and present evidence. The city shall have the burden of demonstrating by a preponderance of the evidence that the perpetrator is in violation of this chapter. The court may specify a method of removal when the parties cannot agree to a removal method, however, the court shall not order a perpetrator to remove graffiti when the property owner objects to such removal by the perpetrator. When the property owner is unable or unwilling to consent to removal, the city may then require said property owner to remove said graffiti in accordance with Chapter 11.11 of this code.

H.    Removal in accordance with the provisions of this section shall not be considered an admission of guilt in any criminal proceeding against the perpetrator for the act of inscribing the graffiti. (Ord. 2003-48 § 6, 2003).