Community meeting on Newspaper Racks Ordinance set for Feb. 8

by Contributed Content on February 3, 2018

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On Thursday, February 8, 2018, at 6:30 pm in the Arrillaga Family Recreation Center, Oak Room, the City of Menlo Park is hosting a community meeting to give input and insight on a draft Newspaper Racks Ordinance. During the Council’s last meeting about newspaper racks, they instructed staff to draft an ordinance, in coordination with publishers and distributors, and return to Council with a draft ordinance.

The draft ordinance is available online. It was crafted based on community feedback:

Feedback: Racks need to be kept-up
Ordinance: Section 13.28.050 Standards for Maintenance says, “Every newsrack shall be maintained in a neat and clean condition, and in good repair at all times. For example, without limitation, every newsrack shall be reasonably free of dirt and grease, be reasonably free of chipped, faded, peeling or cracked paint, be reasonably free of rust and corrosion, have no broken or cracked plastic or glass parts, and have no broken structural parts… shall be constructed, installed and maintained in a safe and secure condition…shall be kept free of graffiti…”

Feedback: Permit fees should be kept low as to not discourage publications from having racks.
Ordinance says: The fee has not been set by Council yet, but the permits for newsracks will be valid for two years and will be cost recovery (simply recovering the costs of issuing the permits and ensuring compliance with the ordinance). One permit will cover multiple distribution locations up to an amount to be decided based on your input and Council direction.

Feedback: Don’t mandate the box colors or branding.
Ordinance says: Section 13.28.060 Size and Design Standards does not restrict newsracks colors or branding.

Feedback: Don’t restrict distribution locations, distributors know where the customers want access to their publications.
Ordinance says: Section 13.28.070 Standards for Placement and Location of Newsracks, creates minimum siting requirements to comply with ADA and traffic safety standards.

Feedback: Clearly define “abandonment” so that outlets which go out of business can easily be removed it left on public property.
Ordinance: Section 13.28.020 Definitions defines an abandoned newsrack as “any newsrack which remains empty for ten (10) business days; provided, that a newsrack remaining empty due to labor strike or any temporary and extraordinary interruption of distribution or publication by the newspaper or other publication sold or distributed from that newsrack shall not be deemed abandoned.”

If you can’t attend the meeting you can email comments to Meghan Revolinsky: marevolinsky@menlopark.org.

Photo courtesy City of Menlo Park

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