Last year, Clark County officials considered getting rid of all newsracks on the Strip. Now, they want to have more control over the appearance of the newsracks.
County commissioners on Tuesday introduced an ordinance that would eventually put a system of uniform county-owned and maintained newsracks on the Strip.
Currently, the county issues annual permits to newsrack owners for the designated spaces. Under the existing system, the permit holders are responsible for installing and maintaining their newsracks.
The idea of a uniform system of newsracks came from the resort corridor work group’s recommendations in 2012.
A public hearing on the proposal is scheduled for 10 a.m. May 6.
County officials last year discussed — and ultimately tabled — an idea to ban all newsracks on the Strip. Newsrack owners last year strongly objected to an outright ban, calling it a violation of First Amendment rights and a threat to livelihoods.
The ordinance wouldn’t regulate content of the publications in the newsracks. The newsracks have a variety of publications. They run the gamut from an Italian-American newspaper to publications with images of women in skimpy outfits and advertisements for escort services and strip clubs. The Review-Journal doesn’t have or use newsracks on the Strip.
Under the proposal, all current permit holders would be able to put their publications in the new newsracks. The proposal would require permit holders to get at least a 21-day notification to remove their newsrack prior to the county’s newsracks going into the spaces.
The permit holders who use the county-owned newsracks would be responsible for cleaning and upkeep of the structure’s interior that holds the publications.
The county would be responsible for maintenance of the outside of the newsracks.
“I think this is a big step,” said Commissioner Mary Beth Scow, adding that the move will improve the aesthetics of the area. “… Some are in disrepair.”
If the commissioners approve the proposal in May, the timeline for removing the existing newsracks is fluid and would take months. A schedule hasn’t been set yet.
But don’t expect any changes overnight.
If the ordinance is approved, the work of replacing the newsracks would be phased in, County Manager Don Burnette said.
Contact reporter Ben Botkin at bbotkin@ reviewjournal.com or 702-405-9781. Follow him on Twitter @BenBotkin1.