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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | COUNTYWIDE / THOUSAND OAKS

Colorful News Racks OK, but 1 Size Fits All

January 08, 1998|KATE FOLMAR

They can be a subtle Safeway tan, a tasteful Tahoe teal or a fresh forest green--so long as this city's newspaper racks are the same size and aren't too scruffy.

So said a unanimous Thousand Oaks City Council in enacting new rules for newspaper racks on public sidewalks at its Tuesday night meeting.

Right now, such racks--with their mishmash of colors, sizes and shapes--can be an eyesore in this city known for its design standards, residents and officials have said.

So the new rules impose some newspaper rack uniformity: The racks must be the same size and shape, they must be kept in good condition, and they must be moved from the street side of sidewalks to the back side to minimize their visual obtrusiveness.

The officials also imposed a $5 annual fee on all news racks.

But the racks need not all be the same color--as city staffers had recommended. Instead, they can be as colorful as the city's politicians--so long as the paint job is tasteful, the council decided.

That last item will likely please newspaper executives. At a May meeting with city staff, newspaper representatives voiced their support for the ordinance, as long as a uniform color was not imposed. Having variously colored racks, they said, aids their product's visibility and identification.

Some California cities do impose color restrictions, limiting racks to hues of "desert palm," "bracken," "Miami tan" and "San Jose brown," according to report written by Thousand Oaks staffers.

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