[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Burlington 6-6-1995 by Ord. No. 1499(4). Amendments noted where applicable.]
The purpose of this chapter is to provide a program for removal of graffiti from walls and structures on both public and private property and to provide regulations designed to prevent and control the further spread of graffiti in the City of Burlington.
The occurrence of graffiti on both public and private buildings, structures and property creates a condition of blight within the City which results in a deterioration of property and business values for adjacent and surrounding properties. Such markings are often placed on said structures by gangs to indicate ownership or control over a certain area for criminal or other purposes and encourage gang violence which is detrimental to the public health, safety and well-being of persons residing in the City.
The Common Council finds and determines that graffiti is obnoxious and a public nuisance which must be abated so as to avoid the detrimental impact of such graffiti upon the City and to prevent its further spread. While property is a victim of the graffiti, where the responsible party fails to correct the defacing graffiti, it is always the duty of the property owner to remove graffiti as soon as reasonably possible.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- The unauthorized writing, marking, spraying or other application of paint, ink, chalk, dye or other similar substance or scratching or otherwise affixing inscribed materials on public and private buildings, structures and places.
No person shall apply graffiti on publicly or privately owned structures located on publicly or privately owned real property within the City.
Any person applying graffiti within the City shall have the duty to remove the same within 24 hours after notice by the City or the public or private owner of the property involved. Failure of any person to remove graffiti shall constitute an additional violation of this chapter. Where graffiti is applied by juveniles, the parent or parents shall be responsible for such removal or the payment therefor.
Whenever the Chief of Police or his/her designated representative is apprised of the presence of graffiti located on privately owned real estate within the City, the Chief of Police or his/her designated representative may cause a written notice to be served upon the owner of the affected premises, as such owner's name and address appear on the last assessment roll for the City, by certified mail (with return receipt). "Owner," as used herein, means any person in possession and also any person having or claiming to have any legal or equitable interest in said premises as described by a preliminary title search from any accredited title company. The failure of any person to receive such notice shall not affect the validity of any proceeding hereunder.
The property owner shall have 10 days after the date of the notice to remove the graffiti or be subject to City removal of the graffiti and assessment of the costs of such removal against the real estate as a special charge.
Form of notice to remove graffiti. The notice shall be substantially in the following form:
Service of notice. The service of this notice shall be made on the day the notice is dated and by affidavit filed with the City Clerk. A like notice shall also be posted at a conspicuous place on the premises upon which the graffiti is inscribed. The posting of this notice shall be made on the day the notice is dated.
Physical removal of graffiti. If the owner fails to remove or cause the graffiti to be removed by the designated date, or such continued date thereafter as the Chief of Police or his/her designated representative approves, the Chief of Police or his/her designated representative shall so notify the City Administrator and the City Administrator shall cause the graffiti to be abated by City forces or private contract, and the City or its private contractor is expressly authorized to enter upon the premises for such purpose.
Whenever the Chief of Police or his/her designated representative determines that graffiti is so located on publicly or privately owned structures on public or privately owned real property within this City so as to be capable of being viewed by persons utilizing any public right-of-way or walkway open to the public in this City, the Chief of Police or his/her designated representative is authorized, upon Common Council approval, to provide for the removal of the graffiti solely at the City's expense, without reimbursement from the property owner upon whose property the graffiti has been applied, upon the following conditions:
In removing the graffiti the painting or repair of a more extensive area shall not be authorized.
Where a structure is owned by a public entity other than this City, the removal of the graffiti may be authorized only after securing the consent of the public entity having jurisdiction over the structure.
Where a structure is privately owned, the removal of the graffiti by City forces or by a private contractor under the direction of the City may be authorized only after securing the consent of the owner.