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City Council passes graffiti ordinance

Posted: Tuesday, Jun 25th, 2013

The Cottage Grove City Council briskly approved an ordinance at its Monday, June 24 meeting that identifies graffiti as a nuisance and provides for its removal by city personnel if a property owner fails to do so.

Ordinance 8.12.115 states as its purpose “to protect the health, safety and welfare of all citizens of the City by eliminating the proliferation of graffiti within the City, because graffiti contributes to the deterioration of neighborhoods, the depreciation of property values and increases criminal activity.” On Monday, Councilor Heather Murphy moved that the ordinance be read once in title before its unanimous passage.

The ordinance goes on to state that “no owner or occupant of any real property shall permit graffiti…to remain upon any permanently fixed object on the owner’s or occupant’s property for a period exceeding 10 days after notice of the graffiti’s existence.”

In remarks prepared for the Council, City Attorney Sean Kelly noted that in many cases graffiti remains at certain locations after the person who put it there is prosecuted or while that person is sought out.

“Studies have shown and examples have shown that the quicker graffiti is removed or covered, the less likely it will reoccur and it does not provoke additional graffiti,” he wrote.

Kelly wrote that the City works with “mandatory volunteers” to remove graffiti,” which can often include the person convicted of creating the graffiti. The new ordinance would identify graffiti as a nuisance (similar to an overgrown yard, for example) and give a 10-day time limit for its removal.

“The abatement process allows for city staff to work with the property owner or occupant if more time is needed to abate the nuisance,” Kelly’s remarks indicated, though the City would later remove the graffiti and assess the cost of removing it to the property owner or occupant.

Last week, Cottage Grove Police Commander Scott Shepherd stated that graffiti is prevalent in this community.

For the complete article see the 06-26-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 06-26-2013 paper.

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