Novato toughens graffiti ordinance
Rob Rogers (Marin Independent Journal) | April 12, 2011
Hoping to arrest the rise in gang-related graffiti, the Novato City Council agreed Tuesday to toughen the city’s graffiti ordinance.
The council voted unanimously to require property owners to remove graffiti from their buildings within 10 days. Previously, property owners had 20 days to respond.
“Seventy to eighty percent of graffiti in Novato occurs on private property,” Assistant City Manager Cathy Capriola said at Tuesday’s council meeting. “We haven’t been able to clean up that property unless we have the permission of the private property owner.”
Should property owners fail to paint over graffiti within the prescribed time, the City of Novato reserves the right to clean up the mess — and then place a lien or special assessment against the owner’s property to recover the cost.
“We always try to work with owners,” said Jack Needling, Novato’s supervising code enforcement officer. “We don’t want to assess anybody. Our immediate goal is just to get (the graffiti) cleaned up.”
The revised ordinance matches a similar law in San Rafael, which requires graffiti removal within 10 days. Both Corte Madera and Petaluma give property owners only a week to undo the damage.
While overall instances of graffiti haven’t increased significantly in recent years, the percentage of graffiti tags related to street gangs has been on the rise, according to the Novato Police Department. That increase has followed a rise in reported gang activity in Novato, San Rafael and other areas of Marin County, including a January shooting at Novato’s Hamilton Marketplace that seriously injured two men.
Tags: code-enforcement, graffiti abatement team, graffiti removal ordinance, Novato City Council, private property