The Artesia City Council has given tentative approval to an ordinance prohibiting the installation of privately owned "advertising structures" such as bus benches and signboards on city sidewalks.
Under the ordinance, about 100 bus benches owned by four different companies will have to be removed, according to city officials.
"We are trying to clean things up. Trash and bottles are left on the benches. People are sleeping on the benches," Mayor Dennis Fellows said.
Fellows said there also have been complaints from some wheelchair-bound people that the benches make it difficult for them to travel along the sidewalks.
Fellows said the city plans to replace the privately owned benches with some city-owned benches.
The council is expected to give final approval to the ordinance next month. It would go into effect 30 days after passage.