AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY OF CALABASAS

RELATING TO THE REMOVAL OF GRAFFITI  

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CALABASAS DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS:  

SECTION 1.  Declaration of Graffiti as a Public Nuisance.  The City Council of Calabasas hereby finds and declares that maintenance of graffiti on public and private properties within public view is obnoxious and constitutes a public nuisance, the abatement of which shall be provided as set forth herein.  

SECTION 2.  Definition.  For the purpose of this Chapter, unless otherwise apparent from the context, certain words and phrases used in this Chapter are defined as follows:  

(a)    “Defacement” shall mean the international altering of the physical shape or physical appearance of property.

(b)   “Graffiti” shall mean any painting, marking, symbol, design, inscription or other defacement which is written, sprayed, painted, scratched, etched, engraved, placed with an indelible marker or otherwise applied to the real or personal property of another without the prior consent of the owner or person in possession thereof.

(c)    “Indelible marker” shall mean any marker, pen or similar implement which contains a fluid which is not soluble in water and has a flat, pointed or angled writing surface of a width of one-half inch or greater.  

SECTION 3.  Purpose.  The purpose of this Chapter is to provide for the prompt abatement of graffiti from public and private properties in the City.  

SECTION 4.  Permitting Graffiti to Remain Prohibited.  No person shall permit any graffiti which is within public view to remain on any building, structure, tree, shrub, sidewalk or curb owned or possessed by such person.  

SECTION 5.  Notice to Owners or Possessors of Private Property.  Whenever the City Manager, or his or her designee, determines that graffiti is being maintained upon any premises with the city in violation of Section 4 of this Ordinance, the City Manager, or his or her designee, shall send written notice to the owner or possessor of the premises of such condition and shall require that the graffiti be removed.  The notice and order shall be sent to the owner as shown on the most recent equalized assessment roll and a copy shall be posted on the subject property.  The notice shall state that the owner must remove the graffiti or consent to its removal by the City within ten (10) days from the date the notice was mailed.  

SECTION 6.  Removal.  

(a)     Property Owner’s Consent to Remove.  Whenever the City Manager, or his or her designee, determines that graffiti is located on public or private property so that graffiti may be viewed by a person using any public right-of-way, the City Manager, or his or her designee, is authorized to provide for and use public funds, if necessary, to remove graffiti upon the following conditions.   

(1)   Public Property.  Whenever the City Manager or his or her designee determines that graffiti exists upon property owned by the City of Calabasas, it shall be removed as soon as possible.  When the property is owned by a public entity other than the City of Calabasas, the removal of the graffiti is authorized after securing written consent of the public agency having jurisdiction over the property.

(2)   Private Property.  Where the subject property is privately owned, the removal of graffiti is authorized after the City Manager, or his or her designee, secures the written consent of the owner of the property and the owner executes a release and waiver approved as to form by the City Attorney.

(3)   The graffiti shall be removed as authorized herein, but the removal shall not involve the painting or repair of a more extensive area than is necessary for such removal.  

(b)   Removal by City Without Consent of Property Owner.  The City Manager may initiate proceedings to abate nay graffiti maintained contrary to the provisions of this Ordinance only after the following has occurred.  

(1)   The City Manager has determined that graffiti withing public view exists on particular premises in the City;

(2)   A notice of such condition has been sent to the property owner pursuant to Section5; and

(3)   The property owner has failed to either remove the graffiti or consent to its removal by the City within the time period specified in the notice.  

SECTION 7. Hearing Prior to Abatement Notice of Hearing.  Prior to the City abating graffiti on private property without the consent of the owner, a hearing before the city Manager or his or her designee shall be held, at which time the property owner shall be given an opportunity to be heard regarding the proposed abatement.  A notice of the time and include more  

SECTION 12.  Assessment of Cost.  Upon completion of the work required to abate the graffiti, the cost to the city to perform such work shall be assessed against the property owner pursuant to the procedures set forth in the Building  Code as adopted by the City of Calabasas.  

SECTION 13.  Parental Responsibility.  Pursuant to Section 1714.0 (b) of the California Civil Code, every parent or legal guardian having custody or control of a minor who defaces property by inscribing graffiti thereon shall be jointly and severally liable with such minor for any resulting damages incurred by the property owner in an amount not to exceed Ten Thousand Dollars ($10,000) for each such act of defacement.  

SECTION 14.  Remedy Cumulative.  The remedies provided in this Ordinance are in addition to other remedies and penalties available under the City of Calabasas Municipal code and the laws of the State of California.  

SECTION 15.  This ordinance is an urgency ordinance and is for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.  The facts constituting the urgency are these:  there has been an alarming increase in incidences of graffiti on private and public property throughout the City.  It is important to have an ordinance in place to allow the use of public funds to remove graffiti, as provided for in Government Code Section 530693, because prompt removal is proven and effective detriment.  This ordinance promotes the welfare and aesthetics of the community by providing a mechanism for the prompt removal of graffiti which, if left uncontrolled, can greatly impact property values and community morale.  This ordinance accordingly shall take effect immediately upon its adoption.