KING CITY — King City Council members voted to introduce a new ordinance to ban security bars on business windows within the city during their July 13 meeting.
The prohibition comes with a four-year grace period for businesses with bars already installed to allow them time to remove the bars or find an alternative. Violating the ordinance would be seen as a misdemeanor.
“Bars on windows are dangerous because they may block the ability to exit through the window during an emergency, and they are also unsightly and unwelcoming, which can negatively impact the economic health of the city’s business areas,” said City Manager Steve Adams. “They particularly impact the ability to attract visitors because they may feel unsafe.”
Adams explained businesses were contacted both via email and with letters in English and Spanish. A survey was conducted of businesses that had existing bars.
“So far we’ve only received contact from one individual that would be impacted,” Adams said. “That business owner said they didn’t have a problem.”
The proposal was also discussed and recommended by the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture.
There are currently fewer than 10 businesses with bars on their windows in King City, but one area business has expressed interest in installing bars, which Adams said was seen as a potential sign of an increase in businesses wanting security bars.
“If it becomes a trend and we get too many, it counters what we’ve been trying to accomplish,” he said.
Councilmember Rob Cullen also agreed with the prohibition.
“Existing businesses have four years to identify and implement another solution should they desire,” Cullen said.
Councilmember Darlene Acosta said she understood the reasoning and the safety risk in balance with the security risk. She said she would like to see more enforcement efforts by police, including checking business doors and windows at night, in order to deter crime.
Acosta also requested funding be sought to help businesses with security efforts, noting how many area businesses had been lost during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Councilmember Carlos De Leon questioned the possibility of businesses blocking or building over windows to maintain security. Building and fire codes, however, set requirements for numbers and sizes of windows on buildings.
The ordinance prohibits all security bars, even the ones that are compliant with safety latches because as they age, those latches can fail if they become rusted over.
The council will revisit the new ordinance for a second reading and possible adoption at an upcoming meeting.