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BUENA PARK : Council Considers News Rack Control

Long rows of news racks lining public streets may become a thing of the past if the City Council approves a new ordinance this fall.

In a study session Monday, council members discussed a draft of the law in an attempt to regulate the aesthetics, if not the content, of newspaper racks around the city.

The council had passed a “blinder” ordinance earlier this summer to force sexually suggestive journals to cover themselves.

Should the second ordinance pass, all publications would have to pay a $10 permit fee and abide by a number of specific provisions or risk impoundment.

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“What’s here is about as restrictive as you can get, in my opinion,” said Mayor Donald L. Bone.

The ordinance says that racks may be attached to each other but each group must be separated by 10 feet or more.

Racks would also be banned from curbs painted green, white or yellow because they would block access to people getting into or out of cars there.

They would have to be no more than 40 inches tall and 30 inches wide, the ordinance says.

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Currently, news rack owners are required only to register with the city. Once the law passes, they will have 90 days to comply, according to Traffic Engineer Herbert E. Vargas.

All the regulations are related to public safety and welfare and comply with the most recent interpretations of the Americans With Disabilities Act, explained Deputy City Atty. D. Craig Fox.

The ordinance was written in line with other cities’ laws that have been upheld in court, he said. He and Public Works Director Donald K. Jensen added that they believe the law could be fully defended if someone challenges it in court.

“I love it,” said Councilman Arthur C. Brown of the ordinance, noting that he fielded one or two complaints a month when he was mayor last year.

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A public hearing on the issue is tentatively set for early October.


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