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Franklinton's Anti-Graffiti Battle Could Cost Property Owners

A plan to rid the streets of graffiti is stirring up some controversy in Franklinton.

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FRANKLINTON, N.C. — A plan to rid the streets of graffiti is stirring up some controversy in Franklinton.

The town’s Board of Commissioners was taking up a proposal Tuesday that would make owners responsible for cleaning up graffiti put on their property.

It’s not a completely popular idea, though the policy would not be unique to Franklinton.

“It seems a little extreme," resident Princess Richardson said.

“I should not be responsible for having to pay for it,” Alta Sanbling said.

Town officials have a problem because vandals have hit the town hard over the past few months. Police in most communities believe graffiti is a bad sign, sometimes indicative of rising gang activity.

Getting rid of it costs money, however. Franklinton’s graffiti ordinance would require property owners to remove the mess within 10 days after it’s spotted or the town will do the scrubbing and send them the bill.

Town Manager Sharon Garner said she believes graffiti should be treated like any other public nuisance.

“If you have a dead dog that ends up on your property, that becomes your responsibility to remove the dog,” Garner said to explain the situation from the town’s perspective.

Officials said it is important to get graffiti taken down right away and to do that, they need the public's help.

“We're not trying to come in and take over. We're not trying to be the graffiti police. We don't have the staff to be the graffiti police!” Garner said.

Mary Tanner worries how her 90-year-old mother would handle it, though.

“She is not going to be able to pay to have it removed or remove it herself. It's too much,” Tanner said.

Town leaders said they knew not everyone would like the ordinance, but they add that something must be done to control a problem that's out of control.

Raleigh, Durham and Fayetteville already have ordinances that require property owners to clean-up graffiti.

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