[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Commissioners of the Township of Muhlenberg 10-20-2008 by Ord. No. 458 (Ch. 109, Art. IV, of the 1982 Code). Amendments noted where applicable.]
This chapter shall be known as the "Graffiti Ordinance of the Township of Muhlenberg" and shall apply to all graffiti occurring within the jurisdictional limits of the Township of Muhlenberg.
The following words, terms or phrases, when used in this chapter, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section.
Words and phrases, when used in this chapter, except for sections or articles to which different or additional definitions apply, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in the Crimes Code, 18 Pa.C.S.A., as amended.
As used in this chapter, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- AUTHORIZED PERSON
- A police officer, community service officer, or code enforcement officer of the Township.
- BROAD-TIPPED INDELIBLE MARKER
- Any felt-tipped marker or similar implement which contains fluid which is not water soluble and which has a flat or angled writing surface 1/2 inch wide or greater.
- Voluntary agreement by a person.
- (1) Any inscription, work, symbol, figure, marking or design, including, but not limited to, tags, throw-ups and pieces, that is marked, etched, scrawled, stained, drawn or painted and stuck on or adhered to any surface on public or private property without the express permission of the owner or owner's agent of such property, including, but not limited to, any wall, underpass, overpass, trestle, tree, sign, pole, playground apparatus, utility box, building, structure, fixture or other improvements, whether permanent or temporary, regardless of the content or nature of the material that has been applied, and which is visible from any public property or the public right-of-way, or from any private property other than the property on which the graffiti exists.
- (2) Graffiti shall not be construed to apply to easily removable chalk markings on the public sidewalks and streets used in connection with traditional children's games.
- GRAFFITI IMPLEMENT
- Any implement capable of marking a surface to create graffiti, including, but not limited to, aerosol or pressurized paint containers, markers, gum labels, paint brushes or etching tools capable of scarring glass, metal, concrete or wood.
- GUM LABELS
- Any materials, such as, but not limited to, decals, stickers, posters or labels which contain a substance commonly known as "adhesive" or "glue," which cannot be removed from the surface in an intact condition and with minimal efforts.
- Any indelible or permanent marker or similar implement with a point, brush, applicator or other writing surface which at its broadest width is 3/6 of an inch or greater in width and contains ink that is not water soluble.
- Any person under the age of 18 years.
- A letter delivered to the owner of the property or placed securely on the front door or other highly visible area of a property which is defaced with graffiti. Said letter or sticker shall contain a statement that the graffiti must be removed within 10 days after the letter has been posted on the property or received by the owner of the property, the earlier of the dates.
- Any and all persons with legal and/or equitable title to real property in the Township.
- PAINT STICK or GRAFFITI STICK
- Any device containing a solid form of paint, chalk, wax, epoxy, or other similar substance capable of being applied to a surface by pressure and, upon application, leaving a visible mark, and that is not water soluble.
- Includes any individual, firm, partnership, association, corporation, company or organization of any kind.
- Forms of graffiti represented by detailed, multi-colored murals, ranging in size.
- Includes any real estate, including improvements thereon, and tangible personal property, including but not limited to news boxes, newsstands, utility poles, public telephones, tree planters and other items of street furniture, and vehicles located thereon.
- A form of graffiti represented by stylized signatures of a writer's chosen name.
- A form of graffiti represented by large names or figures written in a bubble style, often with an outline written in a different color than the interior of the letters.
- The Township of Muhlenberg.
No person owning or occupying any property within the Township of Muhlenberg, Berks County, Pennsylvania, shall permit any graffiti to accumulate or otherwise remain on any property so as to be visible to the public.
Upon discovery of graffiti, any person authorized by the Township to enforce ordinance violations shall issue written notice to the owner, occupant and any other responsible agent of any premises whereon graffiti is present in violation of the provisions of this chapter, directing and requiring such person to remove such graffiti. In the event that graffiti is not removed within 10 days from the date of mailing of this first notice, a second notice to remove and request for consent to allow the Township to enter upon the property for the purpose of graffiti removal at the owner's expense shall be issued. Failure to remove graffiti within 10 days of mailing of the second notice shall constitute a violation of this chapter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to commit any overt act resulting in or attempting to result in an application of graffiti.
It shall be unlawful for any person to intentionally, maliciously or wantonly expose or tend to expose another to risk of violence, contempt or hatred on the basis of race, color, creed or religion by the use of what is commonly known as "graffiti."
It shall be unlawful for any parent, legal guardian or other person having custody and care of any minor child under the age of 18 years to knowingly assist, aid, abet, allow, permit or encourage said minor to violate the provisions of this chapter, as herein defined, either by words, overt act or by failing to act.
All persons directly or indirectly involved in acts of graffiti vandalism may be found to be equally responsible and guilty of the act, in addition to the individual who may personally deface the object or area, such as others who knowingly make available the tools, writing material, ladders, materials or assistance, such as lookouts, or who knowingly supply funds to acquire such materials for such purposes.
No minor shall have in his or her possession any aerosol container of spray paint or broad-tipped indelible marker while on any public property, highway, street, alley, sidewalk or park, or while on any private property, unless the owner or person in possession of the property knows of the minor's possession of the aerosol container or marker and has consented to the minor's possession while on his or her property.
Any person who shall violate, fail, neglect or refuse to comply with § 196-3A or B of this chapter shall, upon conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine not exceeding $1,000 and costs and, in default of payment thereof, shall be subject to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 30 days. Each day that a violation of this chapter continues shall be considered a separate offense.
Any person who shall violate § 196-3C through G of this chapter shall, upon summary conviction thereof, be sentenced to pay a fine of not less than $100 nor more than $1,000 and the costs of prosecution and, in default of payment thereof, shall undergo imprisonment in the Berks County Prison for a period not exceeding 30 days.
If the owner, occupant or other responsible agent of the property fails to remove graffiti or give consent for removal within 10 days after the second notice of violation has been issued, the Township may proceed to remove the graffiti, by itself or by contract.
Except where the legal fees, administrative and filing costs exceed the cost of removal, a bill for costs of removal shall be delivered to the property owner, occupant and any other responsible agent and, in the event of nonpayment, the Township may file a lien against the property in the amount of such costs. Liability for costs of removal shall be in addition to liability for any fine imposed.