LAGUNA BEACH : Council Approves Anti-Graffiti Law

The City Council approved an anti-graffiti ordinance Tuesday that restricts the sale and possession of graffiti-related tools and holds parents responsible for paying for damage caused by their offspring.

The new law, approved 5 to 0, makes it illegal to “paint, etch, deface or otherwise apply graffiti” on public or private property.

Under the ordinance, businesses must keep implements such as spray paint cans and wide-tipped felt markers out of reach and refrain from selling such items to minors.

The new law becomes effective Oct. 1. City Manager Kenneth C. Frank said businesses won’t be inspected for a few weeks.


Councilwoman Kathleen Blackburn said such ordinances work well in other cities.

“Having the ordinance does work,” Blackburn said, “and I think maybe we’ll be able to nip it in the bud.”

Police blame local youth for a recent rise in graffiti vandalism.

When the City Council first considered the ordinance on Aug. 17, Councilman Robert F. Gentry expressed concern about having such a law on the books in a city known as an artists’ colony, since artists use some of the same materials.

To address this issue, the revised ordinance approved Tuesday exempts artists who also possess a canvas.

The ordinance encourages private property owners to clear away the graffiti at their own expense. But if they decline, city workers will remove the graffiti at the city’s expense.

Anyone convicted of graffiti vandalism could face a $1,000 fine, six months in jail, or both.