All details are finally set with the city's graffiti ordinance, which aims to help business owners in town remove graffiti from their buildings in a timely manner.
The ordinance has been discussed, tabled, removed from the table and tweaked since it was proposed in mid-June.
"It's worked its way through three law directors and the assistant director of administration, and I think we got what we were looking for," said City Law Director Tim Fox at this week's North Canton City Council meeting. "We're not trying to penalize the property owner."
The ordinance had originally stated the business owners who did not remove graffiti from their buildings within a certain period would be charged with a first-degree misdemeanor, which happened to be more severe than the actual act of vandalism.
Then council members changed that criminal offense to a civil offense — then to no offense at all.
North Canton Patch has attached the full PDF of the ordinance, but here are some highlights business owners and Patch readers may want to know:
- Any person who's guilty of applying graffiti has to remove the graffiti within 24 hours after receiving notice from the director of administration.
- If the director of administration can't identify who applied the graffiti, or if the person who applied the graffiti fails to remove it, the director of administration will serve a written notice to the business owner to remove the graffiti. That notice will state the date, time and location of a hearing during which the city of North Canton Mayor's Court will review the validity of the notice. The timeline to remove the graffiti is 10 days.
- The business owner can choose to allow the city to remove the graffiti by signing a release.
- If the business owner wants to contest the hearing , that notification to the director of administration should be accompanied by a deposit of $50 to partially compensate the city for the costs associated with the hearing.
- The director of administration could issue an Order to Remove Graffiti if the graffiti is found to be hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, obscene, etc.