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Council Removes Civil Penalty From Proposed Graffiti Ordinance

Council members agreed to remove the civil penalty from their proposed graffiti ordinance Monday night. That means there is now no penalty for business owners who don't remove graffiti from their buildings.

It started off as a criminal offense.

Then went to a civil offense.

Now no offense.

North Canton City Council members still are tweaking their proposed graffiti ordinance that aimed to punish business owners who dawdled on removing graffiti from their businesses. And at Monday night's council meeting they discussed removing the penalty altogether.

Council-at-large Dan Griffith — also chairman of the Ordinance, Rules and Claims Committee — said the amended ordinance alleviates valid concerns citizens and council members had with the first draft. He handed the floor over to Law Director Tim Fox, who helped craft the proposed ordinance.

"Specifically, what I wanted to make sure we incorporated in here was the intent of what was discussed at council meetings and the concern the citizens had with the appearance that we were adding insult to injury, to penalize the property owner if they didn't remove the graffiti within a reasonable period of time," Fox said.

"There is no penalty with this for a property owner that does not remove the graffiti; however, there's the situation where the city will offer them that the city remove it. ... (If) the property owner refuses, or is unable to do it, we'll permit the city to go ahead and remove the graffiti and simply assess the cost."

Fox said the ordinance also permits the property owners due process, meaning once they are informed about the graffiti they have the option to remove it or request a hearing at mayor's court if they want to dispute whether they're in violation of the ordinance.

Monday night marked council's second reading of the proposed ordinance.

In other business:

  • Council set Law Director Tim Fox's salary at $75,000 a year.
  • Council President Jon Snyder said the appointment of the next Ward 3 council person will be made during a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. Oct. 3 inside Council Chambers. (See a list of those who've applied here.)
  • Bill Bartos, director of administrative services, said the city had successfully submitted its application for the Intelligent Community Forum. On a related note, Walsh University will host several ICF events on campus next month.
  • Mayor David Held read a proclamation for North Canton firefighter Chuck Bell, who also was named Aultman Health Foundation's Employee of the Year for 2012.
Ken Palosi September 25, 2012 at 06:35 PM
Congratulations to our elected officials for finally presenting an option to address the grafitti problem that doesn't unduly punish victims of a crime. Some communities across the country have formed citizen committees to help property owners who are unable to remove grafitti from their property. Perhaps our civic leaders might be interested in exploring such an option.

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