Graffiti ordinance could be revisited

Photo by J.D. Sumner

Photo by J.D. Sumner

ALBANY, Ga. -- Ward I Commissioner Jon Howard wants to revisit the city's graffiti ordinance, saying the measure needs to be retooled to get graffiti removed from public sight more quickly than the current ordinance allows.

On Wednesday, Howard and Judy Bowles, the executive director of Keep Albany-Dougherty Beautiful, went around the city to various sites where graffiti had been painted.

"We tried to institute an ordinance in 1998 that gave property owners 30 days to deal with it, but, really, that's just too long for it to sit up there for everyone to see," Howard said.

The current ordinance states: "It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, public agency or utility owner, or acting as manager or agent for the owner of property, whether privately or publicly owned, to permit the application of or fail to remove any graffiti from the property within 30 days of receipt of notice from the city to remove such graffiti."

Howard said he intends to ask city staff to research the feasibility of narrowing that time window from 30 days to two days.

The problem, according to Bowles, is enforcement and education.

"If property owners are either unwilling or unable to paint over it, all they have to do is call us (KADB) and provide the paint and we'll come out and paint over it," Bowles said.

KADB has identified a large quantity of graffiti on the Riverwalk trail and is working with city code enforcement and police to deal with it.

Bowles said that the majority of the markings doesn't appear to be gang-related, but instead looks to be the work of juveniles with an artistic streak.

"I'd say only about 10 percent of it has any kind of gang connection," Bowles said. "The majority is stuff like a big smiley face that was painted on the sidewalk."

Anyone who sees graffiti can report it using the city's 311 phone system.