'New low:' Group threatens San Fran with suit over $15G open-air urinal

America's social fabric has been held together by a few simple rules: Don't swear in front of children, say 'thanks,' and don't pee in public.

But in San Francisco, public urination is now being sanctioned by the government. The city's Dolores Park reopened in January, equipped with an open-air urinal following complaints that too few toilets were leading people to relieve themselves ... elsewhere.

Though it was an attempt to make a gross situation just a little bit less so, some locals are not happy and one group is threatening to sue.

“This is a new low even for San Francisco. It is also blatantly illegal,” Brad Dacus, president of Pacific Justice Institute and a constitutional attorney, said in a statement.

The PJI says the open-air urinal is costing taxpayers $15,000.

The structure itself looks like a warped batting cage -- mesh-wiring and a white screen mounted into a semi-circular concrete block.

The PJI , a conservative-leaning civil liberties nonprofit, has written to the San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department, calling the object offensive and illegal and threatening a lawsuit if the city does not remove it.

“The City has not even attempted to comply with its own ordinances, much less state or federal law. We intend to hold them accountable,“ Dacus said.

In the letter, the group claims the drainage hole running to the sewer exposes locals to noxious odors, and the structure raises privacy issues.

“Not only are the privacy rights of those having to publically relieve themselves in the sewer hole abridged, but the privacy rights of individuals who happen to come upon the one urinating is also violated,” the letter, dated Feb. 4, says.

Pacific Justice Institute

Pacific Justice Institute

They also claim the area is discriminatory against women, as it is designed to be used by men and is consequently more difficult and less private for women to use.

And hitting the ick factor, the group points out there is no facility for washing hands.

“Put simply the open hole place for urination is inconsistent with public health policy in relation to hygiene,” the letter reads.

Dacus told FoxNews.com they have not heard back from the city yet.

“We are not holding our breath for a change in direction but we are hopeful they will look at the law and be responsible for the people they are serving,” Dacus said.

Some residents have expressed support for the urinal.

"Honestly, we were ready to go pee anywhere," San Francisco resident Aaron Cutler told KNTV when it was unveiled. "So any facility is better than none."

Another issue is that like in many cities, public urination is illegal in San Francisco. In 2002, the city increased the possible fine for the offense up to $500 -- but that did little to deter it.

Last summer, the city painted close to 30 walls with a repellant paint that makes urine spray back on the offender, San Francisco Public Works spokeswoman Rachel Gordon told The Associated Press.

Solar-powered toilets roll through city streets several afternoons a week. And city crews have inspected 10,000 light posts to make sure they won't fall over from erosion, after a three-story-tall light post corroded by a likely mix of human and dog urine, and weighted down by a large banner, toppled.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department did not respond to a request for comment from FoxNews.com. However, in a statement to the Associated Press, a spokeswoman said the move was part of a wider goal to reduce public urination.

"Dolores Park has seen an exponential increase in the number of visitors, on a sunny Saturday it can host between 7,000 and 10,000 people. One of the goals of the renovation was to address the littering and public urination issues that were rampant at the park before the renovation," said San Francisco Recreation and Park Department spokeswoman Sarah Madland.

Dacus was unconvinced.

“Public urination is bad enough; spending taxpayer money to promote it is indefensible,” Dacus said.

FoxNews.com’s Adam Shaw and The Associated Press contributed to this report.