The city of San Luis Obispo is preparing a new city ordinance to regulate news racks and make media companies pay for part of downtown “beautification.” Under the new guidelines, newspaper and magazine distributors will have to eliminate their existing stands downtown and pay the city to build and maintain large “Chicago” style news rack enclosures. The new racks are part of a $640,000 downtown beautification effort that’s a priority for the City Council and the Downtown Association.
San Luis Obispo City Attorney Christine Dietrick said the ordinance is based on similar laws that have withstood scrutiny in Beverly Hills and Hawaii. The city of Paso Robles attempted to reduce the number of news racks a decade ago and was challenged in court by a media company. Paso Robles lost that lawsuit.