Newspaper Racks are a vital part of the streetscape of Menlo Park. Recently, the City has received complaints regarding the proliferation and deterioration of newspaper racks, especially in the downtown area. To address these concerns, the City Council approved a Newsrack Ordinance, effective January 1, 2021. 

 The ordinance will regulate newsracks by establishing a permit process, standards for maintenance and display, size and design standards, standards for placement and location, and an enforcement mechanism for abandoned or unmaintained newsracks throughout Menlo Park.

 Newsrack permit application

Any newspaper rack placed or maintained within the public right-of-way is required to have a newsrack permit. Online newsrack permit applications are now available. Please refer to the Master Fee Schedule for the current permit fees. Before an application can be approved, applicants must do the following:
  • Review the Newsrack Ordinance 
  • Submit proof of insurance
  • Submit a copy of a City of Menlo Park Business License
  • Submit a site plan for each proposed newsrack
  • Pay all permit fees online
City staff will review the application and attached documents. A permit shall be issued within thirty (30) days from the date of filing the application If the application is properly completed and the type of newsrack and location proposed for each newsrack meets the standards set forth in the Newsrack Ordinance. A single permit shall be issued for each newsrack location applied for by the applicant. 

 Each permit holder shall maintain an active City of Menlo Park Business License throughout the term of the permit.

 If a newsrack permit is denied, the City of Menlo Park shall notify the applicant within thirty (30) days from the date of filing the application, explaining the reason(s) for the denial of the permit. The applicant shall have ten (10) days to appeal the decision. For more information on the appeal process and the appeal requirements, please review the Newsrack Ordinance.

Standards for maintenance, display, design and placement

Newsracks are required to meet the maintenance, display, design and placement standards set by the ordinance. The intent of these standards are to ensure reasonable measures are taken to maintain newsracks in neat, clean and safe condition. Newsracks no longer meeting these standards are subject to removal at the owner’s expense. 

 Applicants are required to read and understand these standards. The City has also prepared a visual representation of the placement standards and design standards.