Lawrence city commissioners approved an ordinance Tuesday making it illegal not only to mark property in Lawrence with graffiti but also to neglect removing it.
Defacing or damaging property with graffiti will be punishable by a fine of $250 to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail, commissioners decided in a unanimous vote.
Property owners victimized by graffiti also could face the music. If graffiti is not cleaned up within two weeks after being formally notified by the city, the owner could be punished the same way as the person who left the graffiti: a fine of $250 to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.
Commissioners made it clear that they want people to clean up graffiti -- a dirty job, but one essential to public safety.
Commissioner Bob Moody, who said his home and car were spray-painted soon after his election to the commission, said it was important to eliminate gang marking as soon as possible.
"Frankly, I was not a happy camper, but I wanted to get it corrected," he said.
Anyone faced with graffiti may contact Douglas County Community Corrections for help with cleanup. The number is 842-8414.
Truck parking law
A move to restrict parking of large vehicles on residential streets stalled Tuesday night when Lawrence city commissioners could not agree on how to provide exceptions for Lawrence residents and their guests.
The proposed law, recommended by the city's Traffic Safety Commission, had received tentative approval last week, but several issues were raised Tuesday that Commissioner Jo Andersen said she needed another week to consider:
- Where will truckers park if they can't park in their neighborhoods?
- Should visitors be allowed to buy permits, allowing them to park trucks, vans or RVs in residential areas?
Two attempts to pass a law failed Tuesday night. Commissioners Andersen, Allen Levine and Bob Moody opposed passing a law allowing exceptions for visitors. Andersen later joined Commissioner Bonnie Augustine and Mayor John Nalbandian in opposing a law with no exemptions.
"I just want to visit with somebody ... just kind of increase my comfort level again," she said.
Rebecca Thyfault, who lives near the corner of 20th Street and Naismith Drive, said her husband drove an over-the-road tractor trailer and often had to park his tractor in front of their house.
"Where do you propose that we put our equipment?" she asked. "It's going to cause a lot of hardship."
The issue is expected to return to the commission agenda next week.