[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Westville 2-13-2007 by Ord. No. 2-07. Amendments noted where applicable.]
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The Borough of Westville, New Jersey.
- To cover, mark, write on, paint, color or otherwise mar, disfigure or draw whatsoever on any private or public property of any nature without the express consent of the owner.
- Any form of inscription, word figure, marking or design that is marked, etched, scratched, drawn down or painted on any building, structure, fixture or other improvement, whether permanent or temporary, including, by way of example only and without limitation, fencing surrounding construction sites, whether public or private, without the consent of the owner of the property or the owner's authorized agent, which is visible from the private right-of-way.
- INDELIBLE MARKER
- Any felt-tip marker, china marker, or similar device that is not water soluble and which has a flat or angled writing surface 1/2 inch or greater.
- Includes knowledge or information which a parent should reasonably be expected to have pertaining to the marking of graffiti. It is intended to include and require neglectful or careless parents to maintain a reasonable community standard of parental respectability through an objective test. There shall be no defense of a parent who is indifferent to the activities or conduct of a minor in their custody when they have knowledge of the individual's actions that are not in compliance of this chapter.
- MINOR or JUVENILE
- Shall be used interchangeably and means any person under the age of 17, any person less than 17 years of age or any person who has not celebrated his or her 17th birthday.
- The owner of record of the property as set forth in the records of the Tax Assessor for the Borough of Westville.
- Any person to whom legal custody of the juvenile has been given by court order or who is acting in the place of the parent or is responsible for the care and welfare of the juvenile and shall include:
- PUBLIC PLACE
- Any place to which the public has access, including but not limited to a public street, road, thoroughfare, sidewalk, bridge, alley, plaza, park, recreation or shopping area, public transportation facility, vehicle use for public transportation, parking lot or any other parking, public building, structure or any municipal parking signs, etc., or area.
The following acts are prohibited:
No person shall willfully or maliciously damage, deface, or vandalize any public or private property by painting, writing, drawing or otherwise inscribing in any fashion graffiti thereon without the express permission or consent of the owner. However, this prohibition shall not apply to easily removable (which are water soluble) chalk markings on public sidewalks or streets, written or drawn in connection with traditional children's games, or in any lawful business or public purpose or activity.
It is unlawful to aid anyone in defacing public or private property.
No person shall possess a spray container or indelible marker in any public place or on any public facility or private property with the intent to use same to deface the public building, property or private property, absent express permission to the contrary.
Any person in violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof before the Municipal Court Judge of the Borough of Westville, be punished as set forth in Chapter 1, Article I, § 1-15, General penalty, including not less than 100 hours of graffiti removal, in the discretion of the Municipal Court Judge. In addition, the Court shall have the authority to order that the offender be responsible for cleaning, repairing, painting or otherwise restoring the damaged property to the condition it was in prior to being damaged. In the event that the offender is unable, for any reason, to comply with the above, the Court shall have the authority to order that such offender make the necessary monetary restitutions to restore the property to its original undamaged condition.
If, at the time of the offense charged, any persons shall be under the age of 18 years, the Superior Court, Law Division, Family Part, shall have exclusive jurisdiction of the trial of such infant or infants, and such infant or infants shall be surrendered to the Superior Court, Law Division, Family Part, and the case, including all papers and process thereto, shall be transferred to that Court as provided in N.J.S.A. 2C:4-11.
Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 2A:53A-15, any parent or guardian having legal custody of an infant under 18 years of age who fails or neglects to exercise reasonable supervision and control of such infant shall be liable in a civil action for any destruction or damage caused by such infant under § 187-2 above.
The record owner of the property which has any form of graffiti on any building or structure shall be required to either restore the defaced surface by removing the graffiti or repaint the defaced surface within 90 business days after receipt of notice by certified and regular mail by the Borough to remove same. In the event that notice is sent, however, to the Department of Transportation, it shall be afforded 120 days from the date that notice is sent to remove graffiti on property owned by the Department. The notice to remove graffiti to the owner of property shall contain a form to be utilized by the property owner to inform the municipality that the graffiti has been removed. The form should contain a provision stating that by affixing the property owner's signature to the form, indicating that the graffiti has been removed, the owner of the property is certifying that the facts as set forth therein are true and that the certification shall be considered as if made under oath and subject to the same penalties as provided by law for perjury.
An owner who has been ordered to remove graffiti shall respond to the Borough by personal delivery or by certified mail of:
An owner who objects to an order to remove graffiti pursuant to this chapter may institute an action challenging the order before a court of competent jurisdiction within 60 days of the date of the order.
If a property owner does not undertake the removal of graffiti within 90 days of the date of the order or, in the case of the Department of Transportation, within 120 days of the date of the order, unless an action challenging the order to remove graffiti is still pending pursuant to Subsection C of this section, the municipality may remove the graffiti from the property and present the property owner with a detailed itemization of costs incurred by the Borough, by certified and regular mail, for reimbursement from the property owner.
Whenever the Borough undertakes the removal of graffiti from any building, structure or other exposed surface, the governing body of the Borough, in addition to assessing the cost of removal as a municipal lien against the premises, may enforce the payment of such assessment, together with interest, as a debt of the owner of the property and may authorize the institution of an action at law for the collection thereof. The Superior Court shall have jurisdiction of any such action.