ORDINANCE NO. 130 

AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE ADDING CHAPTER 7 TO ARTICLE IV OF THE WESTLAKE VILLAGE MUNICIPAL CODE REGARDING GRAFFITI 

THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF WESTLAKE VILLAGE DOES HEREBY ORDAIN AS FOLLOWS: 

Section 1. Chapter 7 is hereby added to Article IV of the Westlake Village Municipal Code to read as follows: 

CHAPTER 7 – GRAFFITI 

4700.    Title.  This Chapter of the Westlake Village Municipal Code shall be know as the “Graffiti Removal Ordinance.” 

4701.    Intent and Purpose.  The City Council finds that graffiti on private or public property constitutes a nuisance and blight upon the City.  Government Code Section 53069.3 authorizes the City to remove graffiti or other inscribed material.  It is the intent of the City to remove graffiti as quickly as possible because doing so maintain community property standards and discourages other acts of graffiti and/or other malicious vandalism. 

4702.    Definitions. 

A.     Broad tipped marker” shall mean an indelible marker with a tip that exceeds four millimeter in width. 

B.     “Defacement” shall mean the intentional altering of the physical shape or physical appearance of property without permission of the owner of the property. 

C.     “Graffiti” shall mean any unauthorized painting, marking, symbol, design, inscription, or other defacement that is written, drawn, sprayed, painted, marked, etched, scratched, engraved with any paint, aerosol paint, indelible marker, chalk, ink, dye or other substance capable of defacing property. 

D.     “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. 

E.      “Responsible adult” shall mean a parent or guardian of an individual under the age of 18 years of age.  A responsible adult may also include an agent of the parent of guardian, provided said agent is over the age of 18. 

4703.    Prohibition of Defacement/Graffiti. It shall be unlawful for any person to apply graffiti to any wall, rock, street, bridge, building, fence, gate, structure, tree, or other real or personal property, either publicity or privately owned, without the permission of the owner, lessee or operator of such property. 

Pursuant to Section 1714.1 (b) of the California Civil Code, every parent or legal guardian having custody or control of a minor who defaces property by applying graffiti shall be jointly and severally liable with such minor for any damage resulting from the application of the graffiti in an amount not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($10,000). 

4704.    Prohibition Against Permitting Graffiti to Remain.  No person shall permit any graffiti that may be viewed from the public right of way to remain on any building, structure, tree, shrub, sidewalk, curb, or any other property owned or possessed by such person. 

4705.    Removal.  Any person applying graffiti within the City shall have the duty to remove the graffiti in a manner approved by the City within 24 hours after notice by the City or the public or private owner of the property involved.  Failure of any person to so remove graffiti shall constitute a continuing violation of the Municipal Code. 

4706.    Sale of Broad Tipped Markers to Minors.  It shall be unlawful for any individual to sell, offer to sell or cause to be sold, any broad tipped marker to any person under the age of 18 years who is not accompanied by a parent or guardian. 

4707.    Possession by Minors. It is unlawful for any individual under the age of 18 years who is in a public place or upon private property, without the consent of the owner, tenant or operator thereon, and who is not accompanied by a responsible adult, to possess a broad tipped marker. 

4708.    Signs required.  Any person engaged in the retail sales of aerosol or pressurized containers of paint must display at the location of retail sale a sign clearly visible and legible to employees and customers which states as follows: “It is unlawful to sell an aerosol container of paint that is capable of defacing property to a person under the age of 18 years.  It is also unlawful for any person under the age of 18 years to purchase an aerosol container of paint that is capable of defacing property.” 

Any person engaged in the retail sale of broad tipped markers must display at the location of retail sale a sign clearly visible and legible to employees and customers which states as follows: “It is unlawful to sell a broad tipped marker to any person under the age of 18 years who is not accompanied by a responsible adult.” 

4709.         Graffiti Declared a Nuisance.  The existence of graffiti that may be seen from the public right of way is expressly declared to be a public nuisance.  It shall be the duty of both the owner of the property to which the graffiti has been applied, and any person who may be in possession or who has a right to possess such property, to at all times keep such property clean and free from graffiti. 

4710 Removal from Public Property.  Whenever the City Manager determines that graffiti has been applied to property owned by the City of Westlake Village, the graffiti shall be removed as quickly as feasible. 

If the City Manager determines that graffiti has been applied to public property within the City of Westlake Village that is not owned by the City, then the City Manager may use City resources to remove the graffiti provided that the City Manager receives the consent of the public entity that owns the property and the City Manager determines that the graffiti is obnoxious and may adversely affect property values in the City of Westlake Village. 

4711. City Removal from Private Property with the Owner’s Consent.  Whenever the City Manager determines that graffiti has been applied to private property within the City of Westlake Village, then the City Manager may use City resources to remove the graffiti provided that the City Manager obtains the consent of the private property owner and the City Manager determines that the graffiti is obnoxious and that it is in the interest of the City of Westlake Village to remove such graffiti through the use of City resources. 

4712.    Notice of Graffiti Nuisance.  Whenever the City Manager determines that graffiti is being maintained upon any private property in violation of this Chapter, the City Manager may issue a written notice and order to abate the graffiti.  The notice shall be issued to the owner of the property and shall inform the owner that the owner is maintaining graffiti which constitutes a public nuisance and that maintenance of the graffiti is a violation of the Westlake Village Municipal Code.  The notice shall state that the graffiti must be removed within ten days from the date of the notice and that if the graffiti is not removed within that time, then the City proposes to remove the graffiti and the costs of such removal, if not paid by the owner, shall be made a lien upon the property. 

The notice shall also inform the property owner that if the graffiti is not removed within the specified ten day period, then a hearing shall be held before the City Manager, or the City Manager’s designee, to hear any protest of the property owner.  The notice shall specify the time and place at which the City Manager, or the City Manager’s designee, shall hold such hearing pursuant to Section 4714 of this Chapter.  Such hearing shall be scheduled not less than ten days after the date of the notice. 

The City Manager may extend the time period allotted for abatement of the graffiti if the City Manager determines that compliance within the time specified in the  notice would place an undue burden on the property owner.  

4713.         Delivery of Notice.  The notice issued pursuant to Section 4714 shall be addressed to the owner of the property as shown on the latest tax assessment roll at the owner’s last known address and shall be delivered by depositing a copy of the notice in the United States mail, postage paid, or personally delivering a copy of the notice to the owner.  Notice shall also be posted in a conspicuous place on the subject property.  

The failure of any person to receive notice shall not affect the validity of any proceeding under this Chapter. 

4714.    Hearing and Decision.  Before abatement of any graffiti, the City Manager, or the City Manager’s designee, shall hold a hearing regarding the proposed abatement to determine whether the graffiti constitutes a public nuisance and whether abatement is appropriate. 

The hearing officer shall receive and consider all relevant evidence presented at the hearing.  Any interested person shall be given an opportunity to be heard. 

4715.    Notice of Decision and Order to Abate.  The hearing officer shall provide notice of the hearing officer’s decision and shall provide an order to abate the graffiti, if appropriate, to the owner of the subject property as shown on the latest tax assessment roll in the manner provided in Section 4713. 

4716.    Abatement.  The City Manager may order that the City abate any graffiti that has been determined to be a public nuisance and that remains unabated at least seven days after the hearing officer gives notice of the hearing officer’s decision and issues an order to abate under section 4715 of this Chapter. 

4717.    Cost of Abatement.  The City Manager shall keep an account of the costs, including incidental expenses, of abating such graffiti on each separate property where the work is done and shall render an itemized report in writing to the City Council showing the cost of abatement of the graffiti.  The term “incidental expenses” shall include but is not limited to the actual expenses and costs of the City in the preparation of notices, title searches, specifications and contracts, inspection of the work, the cost of printings and mailings required under this Chapter, any attorney’s fees expended in the abatement of the nusiance, all costs and expenses for which the City may be liable under State law arising from or related to the nuisance abatement action, and all costs or expenses to which the City may be entitled under State law.  Costs and expenses for which the City may be reimbursed begin in accrue at the time the City first receives a complaint regarding the graffiti.  Costs and expenses may be recovered once it has become necessary for the City to conduct an abatement hearing.

The City Manager shall notify, in writing, the owner or possessor of the property, upon which graffiti has been abated by the City, of the cost of said abatement in accordance with Section 38773.1 of the Government Code.  Within ten (10) days of the mailing of such notice, any such party concerned and any other person having any right, title, or interest in the property, may file with the City Clerk a written request for a hearing on the correctness, reasonableness or both of such claim of abatement costs.  The City Manager shall then cause notice of the time and place of the hearing before the City Council to be given to the owners and possessors of the property, and to any other interested person requesting the same by United States Mail, postage prepaid, addressed to the person at his/her last-known address at least five (5) days in advance of the hearing. 

At the time and place fixed for receiving the report, the City Council shall hear and pass upon the report of the City Manager together with any objections or protests raised by any of the persons liable for the cost of abating the nuisance.  Thereupon, the City Council shall make such revision, correction and modification to the report as it may deem just, after which the report as submitted, or as revised, corrected or modified, shall be confirmed.  The decision of the City Council is final.  

4718.    Lien.  If the total cost of the abatement of the graffiti by the City is not paid to the City in full within ten 910) days after the date of the notice of the cost of the abatement, the City Clerk shall record, in the office of the County  Recorder, a statement of the total balance due to the City, a legal description of the property, and the name of the owner concerned.  From the date of such recording, the balance due will constitute a lien on the property.  The lien will continue in full force and effect until the entire amount due, together with interest at the maximum legal rate accruing from the date of the completion of the abatement, is paid in full. 

4719.    Charges to be Billed on Tax Bill.  The City may also, in accordance with the provisions of the laws of the State of California, cause the amount due to the City by reason of its abating graffiti together with interest at the maximum legal rate, accruing from the date of the completion of the abatement, to be charged to the owners of the property, on the next regular tax bill.  All laws of the State of California applicable to the levy, collection and enforcement of City taxes and County taxes are hereby made applicable to the collection of these charges. 

4720.    Court Action.  The City Council may bring appropriate actions, in a court of competent jurisdiction, to collect any amounts due by reason of the abatement of graffiti by the City and to foreclose any existing liens for such amounts.  Notwithstanding the provisions of this Chapter, the City may bring the appropriate civil and criminal action in a court of competent jurisdiction for abatement of any nuisance within the City pursuant to any other provision of the law.