[Adopted 2-26-2019 by Ord. No. 19-04]
The purpose of this article is to prohibit the defacement of public and private structures with graffiti, and to provide a procedure for removal of graffiti from both public and private property in order to reduce blight and protect public safety.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The unauthorized application by any means of any writing, painting, drawing, etching, scratching, or marking of an inscription, word, mark, figure, or design of any type, on any public building, wall, fence or other structure, or any private building, wall, fence or other structure, where visible from any public right-of-way. The term does not include marking any public sidewalk or public street with sidewalk chalk. The term does not include the City or a public service company marking any public street for utility facility location as required by Virginia Code Title 56 Chapter 10.3, the Underground Utility Damage Prevention Act.
The existence of defaced structures within the City of Fredericksburg is obnoxious and a public and private nuisance which must be quickly abated to avoid its detrimental impact on the City and its residents, and to prevent further spread of graffiti.
No person shall willfully and maliciously deface any public building, wall, fence, or other structure, or any private building, wall, fence, or other structure. Any person violating this provision shall be guilty of a Class 1 misdemeanor.
The court may order any person convicted of unlawfully defacing property to pay full or partial restitution to the City for costs incurred by the City in removing or repairing the graffiti. An order of restitution under this section shall be docketed as provided in Code of Virginia § 8.01-446 when so ordered by the court or upon written request of the City and may be enforced by the City in the same manner as a judgment in a civil action.
The City Manager or his designee may undertake or contract for the removal or repair of the defacement by graffiti of any public building, wall, fence, or other structure, or the defacement by graffiti of any private building, wall, fence, or other structure when the defacement is visible from any public right-of-way.
Before this removal, the City Manager or his designee shall give written notice to the owner or owners, occupant or occupants of the property in accordance with Article I of this chapter.
Whenever the property owner, after reasonable notice, fails to remove or repair the defacement, the City Manager may have the defacement removed, obscured, or repaired by City agents or employees. The Manager shall attempt to obtain the consent of the owner or occupant of the property before entering the property for this purpose, including a hold harmless provision for the work. The City agents or employees shall have all immunity normally provided to an employee of the locality.
Nothing in this article shall be construed to require the City Manager to restore the building, wall, fence, or other structure to its original condition, or to clean, paint, or repair any more extensive area than where the graffiti is located. An owner or occupant provided notice per Article I, who fails to remove or repair the graffiti within the time stated in that article, shall have waived any claim against the City and its agents and employees for damage arising from the City's work removing or repairing the graffiti.
If the City, through its own agents or employees, removes or repairs the defacement after complying with the notice provisions of this chapter, the actual cost of removal or repair shall be paid by the owners of that property and may be collected by the City in accordance with the provisions of Article I of this chapter.