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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Milford to state: clean up the graffiti!

By Brian McCready
Milford Bureau Chief
— City officials are seeking to have the state Department of Transportation remove graffiti from the Old Gate Lane railroad bridge, and if the state doesn’t agree, the city may do the work and send the DOT a bill.
The Board of Aldermen last year approved an ordinance that allows the city to go onto private property and remove graffiti, and appears to be the first community to fine owners for failing to clean up the graffiti. The ordinance requires an owner to remove graffiti within 10 days of receiving a notice, and noncompliance is punishable by up to $90 per day.
The city had been hit with a rash of graffiti last summer and police arrested 17 youths last year for vandalism.
Alderman Robert Nunno, D-5, said he drives by the graffiti on the way to the gym, and feels the state should remove it. He said if private business owners and residents are required to remove the graffiti, a government agency should be treated the same way.
“It’s my personal view that an ordinance is only as good as the municipality enforcing it,” Nunno said.
A state Department of Transportation spokesperson could not be reached for comment.
Mayor James L. Richetelli Jr. said there is not a different standard, and his office has contacted DOT officials on multiple occasions asking them to remove the graffiti.
“We expect they will do that, but they have not given us a date,” Richetelli said.
Because the graffiti is on a railroad bridge, DOT officials say it’s a safety hazard to remove it without the proper expertise, he said.
“We expect them to cooperate,” Richetelli said. “We hope they do it sooner than later. If they don’t, we do have the ordinance, and we will explore the possibility of removing it ourselves, and then billing them.”
The new law allows the Public Works Department to remove the graffiti if an owner does not, and the city can bill the owner for the costs. If the bill is not paid, the city can place a lien on the property.
Aldermanic Chairman Ben Blake, D-5, said he’s driven by the graffiti several times and it caught his eye.
“I felt it was peculiar because we did make a big emphasis a year ago (on graffiti), and I’d hope we hold our government to the same standard as we hold our private citizens to maintain their property in the same pristine condition,” Blake said.
Blake predicted the DOT would remove the graffiti once the issue hit the “papers.”
Nunno said he’s also noticed some graffiti has lingered on buildings downtown, which he said should be addressed. He praised the owner of Route 1 Guitars in Devon, who immediately removed graffiti from his building, and then went next door and removed the graffiti from two adjacent properties.
“The only way to stop this is if the kids don’t see their marker or tag,” Nunno said.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The state should clean up the graffiti at Old Gate Lane
I would also like to know when the telephone pole will be moved out of the center on New Haven Ave - at the corner of Old Gate - It has been there for far to long. If it is not going to be removed, why was all the road work done - at a great expense to tax payers??

April 25, 2008 at 12:57 PM 
Anonymous Milford Local said...

Speaking of Cleaning Up, the state property off Rt. 95 that overlooks the Stop & Shop supermarket has become a homeless tent encampment. From where they sit they can survey both Stop & Shop and the Malls parking lot. Sort of like a buzzard hovering to looks for road-kill. This should be cleaned up by either the state or city. Not good from a security standpoint. Roust them out.

May 2, 2008 at 8:08 AM 

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