Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 12:47 am | Fair 61º


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Santa Barbara City Council Unanimously Supports News-Rack Ordinance

Publishers will have to pay $13 annual fee and eventually paint racks

An ordinance requiring news rack owners to by the city an annual fee was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Santa Barbara City Council.
An ordinance requiring news rack owners to by the city an annual fee was unanimously approved Tuesday by the Santa Barbara City Council. (Joshua Molina / Noozhawk photo)

The Santa Barbara City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to support a news rack ordinance that requires rack owners to pay new annual fees.

The rack owners will have to pay $13 a year to have the rack. The city also owns racks and a publication will have to pay $18 to place their product inside.

The vote was 6-0, with Harwood White absent. 

All new racks — for a publication looking to start distribution in the area — would cost $236.

As part of the new ordinance, the city also will require the rack owners to provide regular maintenance of the racks and paint them a city-approved shade of dark green that would be uniform throughout the city. 

The city worked with local publications to find common ground on the ordinance.

The city took on the issue from an aesthetic point of view; some of the racks are old, tattered, discolored and sullied from years of neglect.

The city wants to upgrade the racks to help improve the look and image of the city.

Publishers, however, expressed concerns about the costs and the effect new fees could have on the distribution of print news and advertising. 

Councilman Frank Hotchkiss said the city had examined the issue thoroughly, "every which way from Sunday."

"I am glad that the news people are on board," Hotchkiss said. "There's some freedom of the press (concerns) here too."

Councilman Randy Rowse also expressed concerns about unfairly burdening media.

"I don't want to endanger a particular sector of the industry, especially the print industry," Rowse said. 

Noozhawk staff writer Joshua Molina can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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