Graffiti battle hits KC business owners from two sides as city threatens fines

Posted at 3:49 PM, Jun 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-28 19:32:53-04

Some of Kansas City business owners in the Prospect Corridor are frustrated by graffiti vandals and by Kansas City Code Enforcement. Joe Skates owns Kansas City Rubber and Belting Company on Prospect. He said his business gets hit by vandals and then he gets hit by the city. 

Skates said vandals spray-painted one of his large exterior walls and it cost him $3,000 to paint over the problem. When the vandals hit the same wall again, Kansas City Code Enforcement paid him a visit.

"You sort of know that when you paint it that it's going to happen..and you live with it. there's nothing you can do about it. but then when I got the notice from the city that I was going to get fined or prosecuted for it, you know, then it makes you upset," said Skates.

A Kansas City spokesperson explained that code enforcement only issues tickets when neighbors call and complain. The spokesperson said business owners are responsible for cleaning up graffiti on their businesses and they should comply with the order, and if they have special circumstances or need extra time they should contact code enforcement to resolve the problem.

Joe Skates was lucky. A neighborhood group painted-over the second round of graffiti, free of charge. He said he also talked with code enforcement who agreed not to fine him or issue a warrant for his arrest.