Council to reconsider STR urgency ordinance

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 19, will be considering a request from Councilmember John Hamon to repeal the urgency ordinance related to short-term vacation rentals that was recently adopted.  Council will also consider directing staff to not bring the regular STR ordinance back for a second reading.

The request, according to Paso Robles Assistant City Manager Jim Cogan, was made after Hamon realized that he has an indirect interest in a short-term rental that could be considered a conflict of interest.

“I want to be sure that any ordinance regarding short-term rentals that is adopted by the City Council is properly adopted and without any possible conflict of interest,” Hamon said. “This is an important issue for the City, and the process should be completely above-board.”

On Feb. 5, the Council considered an urgency ordinance and a regular ordinance to regulate short-term rentals in the City.

At that time, Hamon believed he did not have a conflict of interest because of a short-term rental that is wholly-owned by a trust created by and for his parents. Because Hamon has no ownership interest in the property, nor has he or any member of his immediate family received any income from the short-term rental, he believed he could participate in the discussion and vote on the urgency ordinance and first reading of a regular ordinance on short-term rentals.

Under the regulations of the Fair Political Practices Commission, property ownership and income are two of the types of interests that can create a conflict of interest requiring recusal.

However, upon further investigation, it was determined that Hamon is one of the trustees of his parents’ trust. Based on this indirect interest and after conferring with the City Attorney, the City Attorney recommended that the most prudent course of action would be to ask the City Council to consider repealing the urgency ordinance and to request that the Council direct staff not to bring the regular ordinance back for second reading.

Hamon will recuse himself from participating in the consideration of any new short-term rental ordinance.

The Council’s Feb. 19, agenda will include an item to consider the repeal of the urgency ordinance and to direct staff not to bring the regular ordinance back for second reading. Regular ordinances require two readings before they can be enacted.

In addition, the City will soon empanel a short-term rental task force of stakeholders who will be charged with developing recommendations for City Council review. This will further ensure that any regulations are fully vetted through a public and open process.


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