Angels leader wants to prevent graffiti

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By ERIN MAYES

Graffiti's not a big problem in Angels Camp.

And City Administrator Tim Shearer said he wants to keep it that way.

That's why tomorrow the City Council will consider an ordinance designating graffiti as a "public nuisance" and giving the city authority to help property owners get rid of it as soon as possible.

"Those people have been victimized," Shearer said of such property owners. "Anything we can do to help them with that, to help them get rid of that graffiti, that's what we're going to do.

"You have to get rid of it very quickly if you allow it to remain, more graffiti will go up. If they put up the graffiti and it immediately comes down ... nobody's seeing their graffiti and they become discouraged and they go someplace else."

The most recent tagging was two months ago at the Exxon gas station on Highway 49. About a year before that, there was another at the Save Mart supermarket on the same road.

He said people who have been caught in the past were not from the area.

The council will hear about the proposed graffiti ordinance and will schedule an April 20 public hearing to discuss it.

The council has a full agenda tomorrow, including:

? Richard Wilmshurst of 49er Subaru applied for a temporary, three-year permit to place a used-car lot on Highway 49 next to Angels Health Foods.

"That would normally require approval of a conditional use permit (but) they do not want to apply for conditional use and are asking City Council to grant them a temporary permit," said Planning Director Kaye Simonson. "This is the third time they've asked to do that. We're leaving it up to council because they're asking ... council to approve something that would normally have to go to the planning commission."

In the past, the council has approved Wilmshurst's requests. Simonson said one reason for going to the council rather than applying for a conditional use permit is that the latter is the more expensive route.

? The council will look at a community survey Simonson is developing, and try to shorten it.

"Right now we've got a draft survey that is very comprehensive, that covers a variety of topics economic and commercial development, community facilities, recreation, circulation and traffic," Simonson said.

She said the general plan committee and the planning commission have both recommended the 10-page survey be cut down.

"It'll be up to the council to give me direction on how to proceed," she said. "What we're trying to get at is what information will be useful to us in writing the general plan. We want to ask questions about unknowns rather than known issues. The bottom line is: Will the results be useful in updating the general plan?"

? The council will consider adopting an amendment to the housing element of the general plan that includes an inventory of all the land in the city that's available for high-density residential development.

Simonson said a boundary shift in zoning removed about 7 acres that would have been available for such development. She said although that means "there's a corresponding loss in the number of potential units that could be built," the city still "greatly exceeds" the amount of high-density residential zoning that it is required to have.

? The heads of the Community Development, Building and Fire Prevention and Finance departments will give their annual reports.

? The council will consider adopting a resolution to accept water-line improvements near Pacific State Bank.

? The council will consider the adoption of a resolution to raise traffic mitigation fees "slightly, based on inflation," City Engineer Gary Ghio said.

? The council will consider adopting an ordinance to correct an inequity in the city's municipal code. The code allows building on 30 percent of lots 8,000 square feet and smaller, but only allows building on 25 percent of lots 8,001 square feet and larger.

The law affects property owners with lots between 8,001 and 9,600 square feet, who are not being given their fair share of building space, Simonson said. With the council's approval, lot sizes will be entered into a complex equation to determine an appropriate and fair house size.

Contact Erin Mayes at emayes@uniondemocrat.com .

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The Union Democrat
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