(A)   Prohibition. It is unlawful for any person to inscribe, draw, or otherwise place on the surface of any structure or wall, vehicle, or other object that is publicly or privately owned, any sign, symbol, marking, name, initial, word, diagram, sketch, picture or letter, without the permission of the owner of the property. The aforementioned list is not to be a limitation, but is merely illustrative of items commonly known as graffiti.
   (B)   Exemption; public officials and utilities. The prohibitions of this section shall not apply to governmental officials and employees or to employees or official representatives of any public or private utilities with respect to the posting or labelling of tags, notices, other markings on buildings or other property while in the course of their employment or in the performance of their official duties.
   (C)   Defense. It shall be an affirmative defense to the alleged violation of the foregoing provision if such activity was undertaken with the prior written consent of the owner of the property, demonstrating that the owner was aware of the content or method of the inscription to be placed on the structure or wall; however, no owner of property, real or personal which is in public view any sign, symbol, marking, name, initial, work, diagram, sketch, picture or letter, which incites violence by reference to gang or criminal activity, depicts or expresses obscenity by referring to sexual activity or contains defamatory material about a public or private person.
   (D)   Removal of graffiti. The city hereby declares graffiti as defined in division (A) to be a nuisance, and as a nuisance, subject to abatement as provided herein:
      (1)   Upon written notification by the city, the owner of property upon which graffiti has been illegally placed, shall remove the graffiti within five working days from the date of the notice.
      (2)   The city, upon notification of graffiti placed upon any city property, shall remove the graffiti within five working days from the date of notification. The city also shall remove graffiti from the exterior of private property if owners inform the city of the presence of such graffiti, and of their inability to remove it. The owner will be required to pay the city for the reasonable cost of the removal. Owners must sign a statement authorizing the removal by the city, and must sign a release holding the city harmless from any claims or suits brought or damages pursuant to any adverse or injurious effects of such chemicals, or from the actions taken by the city, or its employees to remove the graffiti. If property owners do not request such removal or do not remove the graffiti within five working days, they will be penalized by § 10.99, and the city shall proceed to remove the graffiti. The owner shall be required to reimburse the city for the reasonable cost of the removal, which shall constitute a lien which may be recorded with the County Recorder of Deeds against the property upon which such structure is located.
      (3)   An extension of time in which graffiti must be removed may be granted by the city upon application of the property owner to the city Public Works Department, and a showing of cause. Cause shall include, but not be limited to: weather, temperature, availability of chemicals, or physical limitations.
(`79 Code, § 130.170) (Ord. 94-367, passed 6-20-94; Am. Ord. 06-683, passed 9-13-06)