If Sarasota County commissioners approve an amendment to the county code during a public hearing Wednesday, graffiti will officially be considered a public nuisance.
"Graffiti is an aesthetic blight that adversely affects and impairs the value of neighboring properties, and otherwise threatens the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Sarasota County," according to a draft of the proposed ordinance.
That means code enforcement staff can compel private property owners to remove any type of graffiti, including stickers or carvings, that has been applied to a site without its owner's consent. If approved, code enforcement officers can issue warnings and use the special magistrate process to force the property owner to comply though the use fines, and the county could hire a contractor to remove the graffiti.
County staff estimate dealing with about five cases per year, with $5,000 coming from the general funds for contractual services for removal of potential graffiti, according to an economic impact statement.
Sarasota County Commissioner Nora Patterson brought up the issue during the board reports section of a Nov. 5 meeting after cleaning out her reports file and finding a memo that Commissioner Carolyn Mason previously referenced earlier that year. County staff had been working on a board assignment on graffiti abatement since January.
"To me, (graffiti) is one of these things thats infectious," Patterson said during that meeting. But, Sarasota County deputies were unable to deal with it on public property.
"I want us to do something, because even if there's one incidence it's ugly in a neighborhood," Mason said at the time.
On Wednesday, commissioners will also consider:
+ Proposed plans to add organized parking to North Shell Road on Siesta Key
+ The Institute for the Ages' second annual report
+ An update on the Dona Bay Water Treatment Study and consideration of funding for a water treatment plant for the watershed
+ A public hearing for a Comprehensive Plan amendment that would allow limited residential development within major employment centers
IF YOU GO
What: Sarasota Count Commission meeting
When: 9 a.m. Wednesday, April 9
Where: Commission Chambers, Administration Building, 1660 Ringling Blvd. Sarasota