An ordinance amendment prohibiting graffiti and requiring its removal was adopted at the City of Menomonie council meeting on Tuesday.
The change in the ordinance was at the request of the police department to address graffiti on public and private spaces downtown.
Menomonie Chief of Police Eric Atkinson said the department wants to have the option to cite those who participate in the application of graffiti instead of arresting them for criminal charges.
“One of the things we’re trying to do is minimized the types of offenses to eliminate the stigma of criminal offenses that go on a person’s record,” Atkinson said.
If there is an ordinance violation that can be handed out instead of a giving a criminal record to the ordinance violator Atkinson said.
The change in ordinance would also force buildings with graffiti on them for multiple years to be asked to clean up the graffiti.
Any person that violates the ordinance is subject to fine around $165 Atkinson said. The fine could be placed upon the person who causes the graffiti or the owner of the property who refuses to clean it up. Provisions were added that a business owner can ask for more time to clean up graffiti.
“What we would like to see is positive movement when it comes to cleaning the buildings so that way we can beautify the downtown,” Atkinson said.
A motion was approved to purchase Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons at the 8th Street E. intersections of Crescent Street and Main Street E.
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Rapid Rectangular Flashing Beacons are crosswalk signs with lights to alert drivers of pedestrians wishing to cross the street.
The poles are in place and the power if available for installation Director of Public Works Randy Eide said.
“Right now both these locations have overhead flashing lights but I think it’s just in the background for a lot of drivers, they just don’t see it,” Eide said. “This we hope get pedestrians engaged to be an active participant in crossing, not just walking out there.”
The proposal from TAPCO which manufactures the street signs would come at a cost of $20,560. The city would be in charge of installing the beacons which Eide said could happen prior to winter.
The council also adopted a change to the ordinance to amend fire extinguisher and smoke detector requirements for homeless shelters.
A rezoning request for S & H Investments to rezone a current limited multiple residential zone to a multiple family residential district was passed on to the planning commission. The apartment complex is located on 8th Street and S & H is looking to change two of the five-bedroom units to four two-bedroom units.
Concerns by Mayor Randy Knaack were raised with regard to fallout of spot zoning so the council moved to get the consideration from the planning commission.
The next city council meeting is slated for Sept. 16.