[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Village of Ridgefield Park 8-10-1993 by Ord. No. 13-93; amended in its entirety 7-8-2008 by Ord. No. 08-06 (§ 150-34 of the 1985 Code). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
Property maintenance — See Ch. 287.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Any letters, numbers, word or words, writing, inscription, symbol, drawing, carving, etching or any other marking of any nature whatsoever which defaces, obliterates, covers, alters, damages or destroys the real or personal property of another. This chapter shall not be construed to prohibit easily removable chalk markings on the public sidewalks and streets used in connection with traditional children's games.
- Any person under the age of 18 years.
- SPRAY PAINT CONTAINER
- Any container or other device which contains paint or other pigmented substance which is intended to expel the paint or pigment without the aid of additional devices or substances and includes aerosol spray paint as it is commonly known.
- WIDE FELT-TIP MARKERS
- A marking pen or instrument of which the surface used for writing or marking purposes is equal to or greater than 1/8 of an inch.
It is the express intent of this chapter to impress upon the general public the necessity of removing graffiti from any and all buildings, as it not only devalues the property but devalues the Village of Ridgefield Park as a whole. The Board of Commissioners further finds and declares that the prompt removal of graffiti is the responsibility of all property owners and that, in the event a property owner should fail or refuse to remove such graffiti, it is appropriate for the Village of Ridgefield Park to abate such a nuisance and to charge the cost thereof as a lien against the property.
Graffiti prohibited. No person shall write, draw, paint, print or place with ink, paint, chalk or other substance, graffiti or other markings, whether obscene or not and whether intended to offend or not, on the real or personal property of another, whether such property is publicly or privately owned, unless the owner of said property shall have, prior to the drawing, writing, printing or placing of such markings, specifically consented to same; provided, however, that nothing contained herein shall prohibit the occasional and temporary marking of public streets or sidewalks with chalk for traditional children's games.
Notice required with sale of certain items. No person shall knowingly sell or offer for sale to the general public any spray paint or other pigmented substance in an aerosol or similar spray container or any wide felt-tip marker, as defined above, unless a sign is exhibited, either where the product is displayed or where it is paid for, warning that in the Village of Ridgefield Park a conviction for an act of graffiti carries a minimum mandatory fine of $250 for a first offense and carries additional penalties, including fines, restitution and community service, for subsequent violations.
Possession prohibited. It shall be unlawful for any person to possess a spray paint container, liquid paint in cans, a wide felt-tip marker or any other pigmented substance in an aerosol or similar spray container in any public building or upon any public facility or private property with the intent to use the same to deface said building, facility or property. A person who possesses a spray paint container, liquid paint in cans, a wide felt-tip marker or any other pigmented substance in an aerosol or similar spray container in any public building, or upon any public facility or private property, with no legitimate or lawful purpose therefor, shall be presumed to have possessed the same with the intention of using such container, marker, can or paint to deface said building, facility or property, the said presumption being rebuttable by the possessor demonstrating a lawful, legitimate use for the container, marker, can or paint.
Time limit for removal. Owners of real property within the Village of Ridgefield Park shall be required to remove graffiti from all buildings and structures upon their property within 21 calendar days following discovery thereof or within 21 calendar days of receipt of a notice thereof sent by certified mail, return receipt requested, from any agency of the Village of Ridgefield Park served upon the owner, property manager or occupant of said premises, whichever shall first occur.
Failure or refusal to remove graffiti. Upon the failure or refusal of the property owner to remove said graffiti within said twenty-one-day period, the Village of Ridgefield Park may enter upon said property, remove said graffiti, and put the premises in proper condition so as to comply with the requirements of this chapter, and may expend public funds for such purpose.
Cost chargeable to owner of premises. The cost of abating such nuisance, removing such graffiti and putting the premises in proper condition shall be the responsibility of the owner and, pursuant to the provisions of N.J.S.A. 40:48-2.12f or any other successor statute, the amount thereof, as determined by the Board of Commissioners of the Village of Ridgefield Park, shall be a lien against the premises and collectible pursuant to the provisions of said statute and in accordance with the provisions of the Code of the Village of Ridgefield Park, as applicable.
First offense. Any person having been convicted of a first offense under this chapter shall be subject to a mandatory fine of no less than $250 nor more than $500 and may be ordered to perform a maximum of 10 hours of community service, which shall be of such form and substance as the Court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances.
Subsequent offenses. Any person having been convicted of a second violation of this chapter shall be subject to a mandatory fine of no less than $500 nor more than $1,000, and/or community service of no less than 25 hours, nor more than 100 hours, which shall be of such form and substance as the Court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances. Any person who is convicted of a third or subsequent violation of this chapter shall be subject to a mandatory fine of $1,000, or community service of no less than 25 hours, nor more than 100 hours, which shall be of such form and substance as the Court shall deem appropriate under the circumstances.
Additional penalties. In addition to any other penalty imposed by the Court, any person convicted of a violation of this chapter may, at the discretion of the Judge of the Municipal Court, be required to pay to the owner of the damaged property monetary restitution in the amount of the pecuniary damage caused by the act of graffiti or, as part of such person's community service, to remove the graffiti from the property.
If at the time of the offense charged any person apprehended for a violation of this chapter shall be under the age of 18 years, the Bergen County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court shall have exclusive jurisdiction of the trial of such infant or infants, and such infant or infants shall be surrendered to that Court, and the case, including all papers, reports, and process thereto, shall be transferred to said Court, as provided for under N.J.S.A. 2C:4-11.