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Supes mull plan to help property owners clean graffiti

Small businesses and property owners on business corridors could soon get free help to clean up graffiti.

Supervisor Myrna Melgar introduced legislation at Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors that would allow property owners to sign up for a two-year pilot program where Department of Public Works will clean up graffiti at no cost to the owner.

Melgar said:

“This will support our small businesses, revitalize our streetscapes and generally help us recover.”

Under the program, DPW crews would regularly visit participant business and residential properties along commercial corridors and paint over graffiti, Melgar’s office said.

Owners will also be given an opt-in option after receiving a department violation notice, helping to avoid fines, Melgar said. Under the proposal, DPW will still be in charge of removing graffiti on public property.

Normally, a property owner is required to clean graffiti within 30 days or request a hearing after receiving a DPW notice. If the owner does not comply and DPW has to remove the graffiti, the owner is charged for the work and other administrative costs.

Supervisors hit pause on graffiti removal and abatement violations at the height of the pandemic, but voted last month to reinstate violation issuance. 

Melgar said graffiti can get out of control in business corridors, especially in areas with a lot of storefront vacancies, adding:

“If we want our economy to recover, The City needs to put a little more elbow grease to spruce up our storefronts and public amenities.”

In statement to SFBay, DPW spokesperson Rachel Gordon said the department supports the intent of Melgar’s proposed legislation in tackling graffiti, but added:

“We also need to make sure that Public Works would be provided the necessary resources to perform the work. This would be a new initiative requiring additional labor and materials.”

The proposed legislation is cosponsored by Supervisor Catherine Stefani.

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