[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of East Rockaway 9-10-2007 by L.L. No. 15-2007. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The Board of Trustees of the Village of East Rockaway enacts this chapter to prevent the spread of graffiti vandalism and to establish the means for the removal of graffiti from public and private buildings and property. The Board of Trustees has determined that the defacing of private and public property with graffiti creates an unsightly appearance and a public nuisance for the community and Village residents. Further, graffiti on public and private property devalues property values in the community and causes a decline in the quality of life for the Village residents. Moreover, graffiti is often used as a gang marker or tag to promote gang activity or designate gang territories in a locale. It is the purpose of this chapter to prevent public and private buildings and property from being defaced and defiled with graffiti to ensure that graffiti is promptly removed from said buildings and property and to eliminate gang activity in our communities.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any structure used for commercial, business or residential purposes and any structure appurtenant to said use, such as garages, fences, retaining walls, facades or any other structure, located within the Village of East Rockaway.
- Any illicit and/or unauthorized inscription, word, figure, mark, painting, shape or other defacement that is written, marked, etched, drawn, painted, scratched, sprayed, engraved or portrayed on or otherwise affixed to any surface of any public or private building or other structure or any other real or personal property owned by others or that is deemed a public nuisance by the Village of East Rockaway.
- GRAFFITI IMPLEMENT
- Any aerosol spray paint matter or broad-tipped marker with a marking surface of 1/4 inch or more in any direction or any other substance or item used to make graffiti and/or related vandalism.
- Any person who is less than 18 years of age.
- Includes any real property, appurtenances and personal property, including all trailers, vehicles or other similar personal property, wherever it may be.
- PROPERTY OWNER
- Any fee owner or other person exercising a legal possessive right and/or legal control over property.
No person shall apply graffiti on any public or private building or other structure or any other real or personal property owned by others.
No person shall carry an aerosol spray paint can, broad-tipped indelible marker or any other graffiti implement under circumstances which evince the intent to violate the provisions of this chapter.
It is unlawful for a person to use any object, bicycle or vehicle to assist a person to commit a violation of this chapter.
[Amended 5-11-2009 by L.L. No. 4-2009]
Removal by perpetrator. Any person applying graffiti shall have the duty to remove the graffiti within 24 hours after notice by a property owner. Such removal shall be done in a manner prescribed by the Superintendent of the Building Department. Any person applying graffiti shall be responsible for the removal or the payment of the cost of removal. Failure of any person to remove the graffiti or to pay for the removal shall constitute an additional violation of this chapter. Where graffiti is applied by a minor, the parents or legal guardian shall be jointly and severally liable for such removal or for the payment of such removal.
Removal by property owner.
In the event the graffiti is not removed from the property in accordance with Subsection A above, the property owner shall remove the graffiti or shall pay to have the graffiti removed from the property within 10 days of receiving a notice of defacement from the Village of East Rockaway. Said notice of defacement shall contain the following information:
The street address and/or other legal description of the property sufficient for identification of the property;
A description of the graffiti and its approximate location on the property; and
A statement that the graffiti must be removed within 10 days of receipt of the notice and that if the graffiti is not removed within that time the Village will declare the graffiti on the property to be a public nuisance subject to the removal by the Village procedures contained in Subsection C.
Graffiti with offensive content. Any graffiti applied within the Village which includes a message, picture or symbol that is obscene, racist, sexually explicit, a true threat or that is likely to incite unlawful activity shall be removed by the property owner within 24 hours of notification by the Village. Said notification may be verbal or in writing.
Removal or covering by Village. In the event the graffiti is not removed from the property in accordance with Subsections A and B above, the Village may utilize public funds to remove or cover the graffiti pursuant to the following procedure:
The Village shall make a written declaration that the graffiti is a public nuisance and that it intends to remove the graffiti from the property, or, in the case of graffiti with offensive content, the Village shall provide a verbal or written notification to the property owner.
In the case of graffiti not having offensive content, the Village shall serve a copy of said declaration, described in Subsection B above, upon the owner of the property by first-class mail.
After 10 days have expired from service of the declaration, or, in the case of graffiti with offensive content, after 24 hours have expired from the Village's notice, the Village may remove or cover the graffiti.
Upon removal or covering of the graffiti, the Village will serve the owner, by first-class mail, with a copy of the invoice covering all costs related to the removal or covering of the graffiti.
The property owner shall pay said invoice within 30 days of receipt of said invoice.
If the invoice is not paid within 30 days of presentment, then in that event:
If the property on which the graffiti was removed or covered is real property, the amount of the unpaid invoice, plus an administrative charge of $100, shall be attached to the next property tax invoice for said real property as a special assessment and shall become a lien on said real property with the same force and effect as a tax levy; or
If the property on which the graffiti was removed or covered is personal property, the amount of the unpaid invoice, plus an administrative charge of $100, shall be a continuing and perpetual lien in favor of the Village upon all property, both real and personal, belonging to the owner of the personal property where the graffiti was removed or covered and shall have the same force and effect as a lien created by judgment. The lien shall attach to all property belonging to the owner at any time during the period of the lien, including any property obtained after the lien arises. The lien shall have priority over all other liens except real property taxes. The County Clerk of the county where any owner's property is located shall record the lien in its judgment liber.
The Village Board, upon recommendation by the Superintendent of the Building Department, may waive presentment to the property owner of the invoice for the cost of the removal or covering of the graffiti.
Any person violating this chapter shall be punished by a fine of $500 for the first offense; $1,000 for the second offense; and $2,000 for each subsequent offense, or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed 60 days, or by both fine and imprisonment, at the discretion of the court.
In the event a minor violates this chapter, the parents or legal guardian of the minor shall be jointly and severally liable with the minor for the payment of all fines, fees and costs. Failure of the parents or legal guardian to make said payment will result in the filing of a lien, in an amount equal to the fines, fees and costs, on any and all property owned or possessed by the parents or legal guardian.
In addition to any penalty prescribed herein, the court shall order any violator to make restitution to the victim and/or property owner for damages or losses caused directly or indirectly by an offense herein in the amount or manner determined by the court. In the case of a minor, the parents and legal guardian shall be ordered jointly and severally liable with the minor to make restitution.
In lieu of or in addition to any penalty prescribed herein, the court may order a violator herein to perform community service, as designated by the court, based upon the following minimum requirements:
A violator shall perform at least 30 hours of community service.
In the event a minor violates this chapter, at least one parent or legal guardian of said minor shall be in attendance at the assigned community service.
The entire period of community service shall be performed under the supervision of the court.
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.
This chapter shall be considered remedial in nature and should be liberally construed to protect the health, safety and welfare of Village residents, as well as to advance a more aesthetic public environment, so that substantial justice is done.