City adopts new graffiti ordinance

Officials say law will protect community upgrades

By: Victoria Mitchell | Royal Oak Review | Published April 29, 2015

CLAWSON — Members of the Clawson City Council unanimously adopted new ordinance verbiage April 21 directed specifically at anyone thinking about painting graffiti in the city.

“This ordinance came about as a brainstorm because Clawson is moving forward,” said Mayor Penny Luebs. “We have park improvements that will occur this year. We have a great interest in our business, with many businesses moving in. We would like to maintain what we have to continue with the reputation that Clawson is a safe and friendly community.”

Luebs said the new ordinance will move the city forward to eliminate graffiti before it starts.

“As far as I know, there have not been any incidents, but knowing this and getting the word out that we will not tolerate any graffiti in our city will hopefully move us forward,” she said.

Violating the graffiti ordinance would be a misdemeanor punishable by a fine of up to $500 for each offense. The new ordinance includes community service and restitution of the cost to remove the graffiti.

City Attorney Jon Kingsepp said the city is looking at graffiti as a very serious offense, and if the city could charge someone with a felony, it would, in the event that the graffiti incident was in conjunction with another felony offense.

“This is a very proactive, very aggressive ordinance,” he said.

As defined in the ordinance, graffiti “means any mark or marks of any nature or design on any surface or structure made, created or added to without the prior permission of the property owner or occupant and made in any manner, including but not limited to writing, inscribing, drawing, tagging, sketching, spray-painting, painting, etching, scratching, carving, engraving, scraping or attaching to said surface.”

Luebs reiterated that with the passing of the $3.8 million bond proposal in 2014 for park upgrades and improvements, warding off any type of graffiti is important.

Improvements underway at City Park include replacing the track, adding artificial turf on the football field, building new visitor bleachers, installing new lights and fencing, upgrading the softball and baseball fields and the tot lot, and adding a skate park. Parking lot renovations at Grant Park are also scheduled.

“We’d like to keep it new in the park and other areas of the city,” Luebs said.