OAKLEY -- The city will amend an ordinance so that it can temporarily ban vandals from parks and other public property.
Oakley council members on Tuesday unanimously agreed to allow the city's director of public works to issue individuals and groups a "stay-away order" of up to 90 days if they deliberately damage city property.
Special counsel Bill Galstan called the step a "completely foreign concept for Oakley," noting the city's efforts to create a welcoming environment.
The action broadens an existing ordinance that permits city employees to remove someone from a park for the rest of the day if he or she is interfering with their jobs or bothering other users.
The stay-away order not only would prohibit those found defacing public property from returning for a prescribed period of time but would require them to reimburse the city for the cost of cleanup or repairs.
And if they ignore the ban, the city also will bill them for the legal expenses it would incur in obtaining a restraining order from the courts.
Those who receive a stay-away order may appeal it to the city attorney.
Galstan noted that the ordinance cannot be used to remove individuals from the council chamber while they are exercising their right to free speech at a public meeting.
The stay-away order is modeled after a similar practice that Bay Area Rapid Transit implemented in May 2013 to protect passengers and employees, empowered by state legislation that had been enacted the previous year.
BART now can ban individuals from its stations for up to a year depending on the frequency and gravity of the offense.
The Oakley City Council took action after a group that provides day care for adults with mental disabilities repeatedly allowed its clients to damage Creekside and Crockett parks, according to Nancy Marquez-Suarez, assistant to the city manager. The vandalism, which occurred multiple times a week over several months, included clients smearing excrement around the public restrooms and destroying sprinkler heads.
Galstan said that when the city confronted those in charge of the group, "The answer (was), 'Well, it's a public park and we have every right to use it.' "
The City Council is scheduled to ratify the amended ordinance at its next meeting on Aug. 12, and it would take effect in September.
Contact Rowena Coetsee at 925-779-7141. Follow her at Twitter.com/RowenaCoetsee.