HYDE PARK–A first-time graffiti ordinance designated as “citizen-friendly” by Mayor David Kooyman was approved Wednesday by the City Council.The ordinance defines graffiti as “any unauthorized inscription, word, figure, painting or other defacement that is written, marked, etched, scratched, sprayed, drawn, painted or engraved on or otherwise affixed to ay surface of public or private property.” It also states that graffiti is “detrimental to public health, safety and welfare and is a public nuisance” for which violators could be fined up to $1,000 and ordered to perform community service approved by the public works director.The ordinance was drafted by Councilman Brent Kelly, who said that it borrows from the graffiti ordinances of both North Logan and Provo.”The police department came to us with an ordinance that they really liked, and North Logan ultimately adopted most of that,” said Kelly. “But they had a couple of clauses in it that I felt were unconstitutional.”Kelly described the two parts of the ordinance that he disapproved.”One gave the city the immediate right to go onto private property if there was graffiti on the property and clean it up. I feel like we don’t have a right to go onto private property without due process. It’s a 4th Amendment kind of thing.”The second thing that ordinance did was if somebody didn’t clean up their property within five days, then they could be charged with a misdimeanor crime,” Kelly said. “We were punishing the victim, and I didn’t feel like that was fair. That’s in North Logan’s ordinance, but it’s not in here.”Kelly said he took pieces from North Logan’s ordinance because they share a police department, but also added portions from Provo’s that “allieviated” those two issues.
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