City of New Castle, DE
New Castle County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of New Castle 10-9-2007 by Ord. No. 454. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
Property maintenance — See Ch. 185.
A. 
Definitions. The following words, terms, and phrases, when used in this section shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this subsection, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
AEROSOL PAINT CONTAINER
Any aerosol container that is adapted or made for the purpose of applying paint or other substances capable of defacing property.
BROAD-TIPPED MARKER
Any felt-tip, indelible marker or similar implement with a flat or angled writing surface that, at its broadest width, is greater than 1/4 inch, and contains ink or other pigmented liquid that is not water soluble.
GRAFFITI
Any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, painting, or other marking that is written, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted, or engraved on or otherwise affixed to any surface of public or private property by any graffiti implement and which marking was not authorized in advance by the owners of the property.
GRAFFITI IMPLEMENT
An aerosol paint container, broad-tipped marker, gum label, paint stick, or graffiti stick, etching equipment, or any other device capable of visibly scarring or leaving a visible mark on any natural or man-made surface.
MINOR
Any person under the age of 18 years of age.
PAINT STICK or GRAFFITI STICK
Any devices containing a solid form of paint, wax, epoxy, or other similar substance capable of being applied to a surface by pressure and leaving a mark of at least 1/8 of an inch in width.
B. 
Display, storage and sale of graffiti implements in commercial retail establishments.
(1) 
Every person who owns, conducts, operates, or manages a retail commercial establishment selling any type of graffiti implements shall store such implements in an area continuously observable through direct visual observation or surveillance equipment by employees of the retail establishment during the regular course of business.
(2) 
In the event that a commercial retail establishment is unable to store the graffiti implements it sells in an area as provided above, the establishment shall store such implements in an area not accessible to the public in the regular course of business without employee assistance.
(3) 
A minor who is an employee of a person who, or an entity which, is a vendor of graffiti implements may, in the course of his or her duties, possess such implements for purposes of lawful sale or transfer but shall not purchase or obtain possession of the same for any other purpose.
(4) 
No minor shall, at the time of purchase as specified in this section, knowingly furnish fraudulent evidence of majority.
(5) 
Required signage. Every person who operates a retail commercial establishment selling any type of graffiti implement shall place a sign with a minimum height of 14 inches and a width of 12 inches, with lettering of at least 1/2 inch in height, which is in clear public view at or near the display of such products and which states:
"Warning: It is illegal to sell or distrubute aerosol paint, paint sticks, or broad-tipped markers to any person under the age of 18 years of age or for any person under the age of 18 years of age to possess or attempt to purchase same. If you are over 18 years of age, it is illegal for you to purchase aerosol paint, paint sticks, or broad-tipped markers for a person under 18 years of age if you are not such person's parent, guardian, school teacher, or art or craft instructor."
C. 
Prohibited acts.
(1) 
Defacement of property. A person is guilty of the act of causing graffiti when the person damages public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner by knowingly, purposely, or recklessly drawing, painting, or making any significant mark or inscription thereon.
(2) 
Distribution. It shall be unlawful for any person, other than a parent, legal guardian, school teacher, art or craft instructor, or employer to sell, exchange, give, loan, or otherwise furnish, or cause or permit to be exchanged, given, loaned, or otherwise furnished, any graffiti implement to any minor.
D. 
Graffiti removal.
(1) 
Responsibility of property owner. It shall be the responsibility of the owner of property damaged by graffiti to restore said surface to an approved state of maintenance and repair, including the removal of graffiti.
(2) 
Notice to remove. Notice shall be as specified in this chapter. Notice to remove graffiti shall specify that it is unlawful for the owner or anyone who has primary responsibility for control of the property, or for maintenance or repair of the property, to permit property that is defaced with graffiti to remain defaced beyond a period of 10 days after service of notice as specified in this chapter.
(3) 
Exceptions to property owner responsibility. The removal requirements specified herein shall not apply if the property owner, or responsible party, can demonstrate that he or she has an active program for the removal of graffiti, and such removal has been scheduled as part of such program, in which case it shall be unlawful to permit such property to remain defaced with graffiti beyond a period of 20 days after service of notice as specified in this chapter.
(4) 
Graffiti removal funding assistance. Following removal of graffiti, a property owner may apply to the Finance Director for the reimbursement of some or all of the cost of graffiti removal from fines placed in a fund established by the Finance Director resulting from penalties assessed under the provisions of this chapter. Distribution of funding allocations to private property owners shall be based solely on funds available and on a first-come-first-served basis at the discretion of the Finance Director. Receipts for the required work to remove the graffiti shall be submitted to the Finance Director for graffiti removal reimbursement. Requests for City funding assistance shall be submitted to the Finance Director within 30 days of the completion of the removal; such removal shall be certified by the Building Department to have been completed prior to such reimbursement.
(5) 
Failure to remove. A property owner who fails to remove graffiti as specified herein shall be subject to the penalties set forth in this chapter.
(6) 
Removal by City. In the event graffiti is not removed or otherwise eliminated or abated by the date specified in the notice, the City, or a contractor hired by the City, shall enter upon the parcel and remove or abate such graffiti. If the City has conducted the removal or abatement of graffiti in accordance with this subsection, the actual cost of the removal, plus 50% in City overhead, plus accrued interest at the Delaware legal rate of interest per annum from the date of completion of the removal, if not paid by the owner, or not paid as a result of an order of the City Alderman, shall be charged to the owner, or his or her agent, as a special tax bill by the City. Such charge shall be due and payable by the owner within six months of such tax bill. If the full amount due the City is not paid by the owner within the time required, the building official shall cause the special tax bill to be recorded in the municipal lien docket. The recordation of such special tax bill shall constitute a lien on the property and shall remain in full force and effect for the amount due in principal and interest until final payment has been made.
E. 
Penalties.
(1) 
The penalty for a first offense of this chapter shall be a mandatory fine of not less than $200 nor more than $500. For the second and subsequent offenses, the fine shall be $500.
(2) 
Portions of fines may be used to pay for the cost of public- and private-property graffiti removal. Distributions of fines for private-property graffiti removal, if available, shall be administered by the Finance Director.
(3) 
Community service. In lieu of or as part of the penalties specified in this section, an adult may be required to perform community service as prescribed by the court based on the following minimum requirements:
(a) 
The individual shall perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service.
(b) 
The entire period of community service shall be assigned by and performed under the supervision of a representative of the Police Department designated by the Chief of Police of the City of New Castle.
(c) 
Reasonable effort shall be made to assign the individual to a type of community service that is reasonably expected to have the most rehabilitative effect on such person, including community service that involves graffiti removal.
A. 
Prohibited acts. A person is guilty of the act of causing graffiti when the person damages public or private real or personal property without the permission of the owner by knowingly, purposely, or recklessly drawing, painting, or making any significant mark or inscription thereon.
B. 
Distribution and possession.
(1) 
Distribution. It shall be unlawful for any person, other than a parent, legal guardian, school teacher, art or craft instructor, or employer, to sell, exchange, give, loan, or otherwise furnish, or cause or permit to be exchanged, given, loaned, or otherwise furnished, any graffiti implement to any minor.
(2) 
Possession. It shall be unlawful for any minor, except a minor acting under the direct supervision, direction, or instruction of the minor's parent, legal guardian, school teacher, art or craft instructor, or employer, to possess, while such minor is away from such minor's residence, any graffiti implement. Notwithstanding any other provision of this subsection, a minor may possess graffiti implements only while such minor is using such implements at his or her place of employment while acting within the course and scope of his or her lawful employment duties.
C. 
Penalties.
(1) 
The penalty for a first and subsequent offenses of the act of causing graffiti shall be a mandatory fine of not less than $300 nor more than $1,000, the first $200 of which shall not be suspendable, plus appropriate restitution for repair of the damages to the property upon which such graffiti was caused to be placed.
(2) 
For the second and subsequent offenses, the nonsuspendable portion of the fine shall increase to $500.
(3) 
Portions of fines may be used to pay for the cost of removal of graffiti from public or private-property. Distributions of fines for private-property graffiti removal, if available, shall be administered by the Finance Director.
(4) 
Community service. In lieu of or as part of the penalties specified in this section, an adult may be required to perform community service as prescribed by the court based on the following minimum requirements:
(a) 
The individual shall perform a minimum of 30 hours of community service.
(b) 
The entire period of community service shall be assigned by and performed under the supervision of a representative of the Police Department designated by the Chief of Police of the City of New Castle.
(c) 
Reasonable effort shall be made to assign the individual to a type of community service that is reasonably expected to have the most rehabilitative effect on such person, including community service that involves graffiti removal.