Proposed Graffiti Ordinance Softened

Revision would be less harsh on business owners
graffiti ordinance ann arbor

Graffiti stenciled in a downtown Ann Arbor alley. (Image links to higher resolution file.)

Although the punishments for those who apply graffiti would remain intact, the impact of a proposed new anti-graffiti ordinance on property owners would be lessened under a revised version of the law. The original version of the proposed anti-graffiti ordinance was approved by council at its first reading at the Dec. 15 city council meeting, which advanced it along in the usual process to a public hearing and second reading, scheduled for council’s Jan. 20 meeting.

Since that December meeting, sponsors of the new ordinance (which include councilmembers Margie Teall, Carsten Hohnke, Leigh Greden, and Christopher Taylor) have met with various business owners, the Ann Arbor Area Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Development Authority, and city staff, which resulted  in changes to the proposed ordinance.

Whereas the version approved at first reading called for a fine on property owners who did not remove graffiti in a timely fashion, and categorized violation by property owners as a civil infraction, the revised version to be heard at second reading eliminates the fine and explicitly states that violation is not a civil infraction or a misdemeanor. Further, the time frame for required removal of graffiti has been extended from 2 days if notice is given to the property owner directly or 4 days if notice is mailed, to 7 days and 9 days, respectively.

Because the revision involves a loosening of the proposal rather than a tightening of it, according to the city attorney’s office the ordinance will not be required to repeat a first reading.

graffiti ordinance ann arbor

A response to the ubiquitous "duck." (Image links to higher resolution file.)

graffiti ordinance ann arbor

No sign of Pebbles, Bam Bam, Fred, or Wilma. (Image links to higher resolution file.)

graffiti ordinance ann arbor blog

Who is supposed to be moderating this thread? (Image links to higher resolution file.)

Section: Business, Govt.

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  1. January 13, 2009 at 7:50 am | permalink

    Secretly I like much of the graffiti I see around town-spontaneous self expression, often funny. My official line though, is that defacing public and private property and should not be tolerated.

  2. January 13, 2009 at 9:08 am | permalink

    ‘A response to the ubiquitous “duck.” ‘

    Don’t forget the Chu and Fresh! tags that were all the rage a few years back.

  3. January 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm | permalink

    The city should consider more public walls to allow this kind of artistic expression. When Katherine Tombeau painted the Liberty St. alley, she did so as a visual dialogue with the public, knowing her work would be gone over. Why not open this up to all comers for whatever pieces, throwups, stencils, stickers, wheatpastes, mosaics, and other street art the community can bring? Even Chicago’s CTA has held graffiti contests. And our own public library!

    Used to be you could go down to the Wall of Fame (by the tracks under Medical Center Drive), and see some amazing stuff by the Parisien Send/Diego (and his whole KTF crew), Fosik (who made serious progress from his early tagbanging days), and others regularly, without hassle. The Halfway Inn in the basement of East Quad had also been host to a number of legal burners, including a piece by NYC graffiti royalty Gaze, from the internationally-renowned, East Coast DF crew.

    But unless you knew about them, you’d never know. You’d think you could only find art in galleries, and that only tagbanging gangsters would dare take it to the streets (or in Ann Arbor, fairy door craftsmen ;-).

    I would love to see a public, legal Wall of Fame in downtown Ann Arbor, organized by AAPAC (or some other “legitimate” public entity). Otherwise, what else do we have as an outlet for legal, public art in this city?

    A rock on frat row. :-P

  4. March 18, 2009 at 12:48 pm | permalink

    I agree with Dug, I think its wise for cities to have public walls (and many around the world are recognizing their value as tourist attractions and a cultural markers). I LOVED visiting the graffiti alley St. Patrick’s Day and adding my own little bit of art to it :) I hope people will enjoy it (not spray painted, but she likes to hang around the alley).

    This is my second visit to Ann Arbor and I enjoyed it as much this time as I did the last.
    All the best
    Corrine aka Jafabrit

  5. May 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm | permalink

    I also second what Dug wrote. Ann Arbor is well known for their support of art- after all, we have on of the best art fairs in the country. Why shouldn’t we have an outlet for graffiti art?

  6. By Jim Blake
    May 16, 2009 at 3:55 pm | permalink

    They should have some more places that are good for spontaneous street art. I have heard of surfaces that wash off easily. That would be perfect to sort of wash the wall every month or so.