Graffiti and Guns

Recently the Oakley City Council addressed the issues of graffiti and gun sales by updating the Oakley Municipal Code.

To provide enforcement tools in addition to those already provided by state law to prevent and control the further spread of graffiti on walls and structures on both public and private property in the City, Chapter 35 was added to the Municipal Code.

Currently, on public locations, upon being notified of a location that has been subject to graffiti, Code Enforcement responds within 24-hours to abate the graffiti. If the location of the graffiti is upon private property, Code Enforcement has been providing the property owner with a “Graffiti Abatement Notification” in which the property owner may elect to remove the graffiti within ten (10) days of receiving the notification or he or she may authorize, in writing, for City staff to remove the graffiti at no charge. The City currently provides free graffiti abatement service to remove graffiti within 24 hours to keep our community attractive by preventing reoccurrence of graffiti.

To help curtail the theft of items used in the creation of graffiti the new ordinance requires retail businesses to display such graffiti materials in an area continuously observable (directly or through surveillance) by the owner, store manager or employees. These items can include aerosol paint container and etching cream.

The parent or legal guardian of a minor who is caught engaging in the act of graffiti can be held personally responsible for any and all costs incurred for the removal of graffiti caused by the minor. If the court does not make the parent/guardian responsible for the cost the City may make a special assessment against a parcel of land owned by the parent/guardian to recover any costs.

Instead of the 10 day removal time frame previously allowed for cleanup on private party graffiti on such property now must be removed within seventy-two (72) hours after receiving notice from the City to remove such graffiti. Studies have shown that removal of graffiti within 24-48 hours of occurrence helps prevent reoccurrence of graffiti.

Shortly after allowing one resident to sell guns from his home, City staff realized that appropriate Municipal codes were not in place to deal with firearm sales. After considerable discussion the City Council adopted an urgency ordinance that took effect immediately upon its adoption by a 4-1 vote of the City Council. An urgency ordinance requires adoption by at least a 4/5th vote of the City Council.

Much of the discussion centered on whether or not to allow (grandfather) the existing seller to continue his new business, phase it out after a specific time limit or stop it now. The 4-1 vote was achieved by allowing the business to continue, however the conditional use permit would be reviewed on a yearly basis as well as the number of sales

The new ordinance requires a conditional use permit for the sale of firearms. The applicant would have to provide proof of compliance with the state and federal regulations prior to review by City staff for completeness. This would include certification from the State Department of Justice that they have completed their records check and determined the applicant is eligible to acquire and possess firearms, and certification from the U.S. Department of Justice for a federal firearms license. The Police Chief will be involved in the review of the conditional use permit application submittal package before the matter is scheduled for public hearing with the City Council.

The new ordinance also places restrictions on where guns ales will be allowed; they will not be allowed:

  • Within a residential zone
  • Within 150 feet of a residential zone
  • Within any zone in which retails services is not a permitted or conditional use
  • Within 150 of a public or private day care center, day care home, elementary school, junior high or high school
  • Within 500 feet of any other firearms dealer.

About Kevin

Councilmember - City of Oakley, Manager of Mainframe Operations and Optimization – USS-POSCO INDUSTRIES, Co-Founder and Board Member - Friends of Oakley A Community Foundation, Commissioner - Contra Costa Transportation Authority, Board Member - Tri Delta Transit, Transplan, San Joaquin Joint Powers Authority and RD 2137, Advisory Board – Opportunity Junction
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