PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Council continues to follow through on its pledge to do something about parking in Downtown Paso Robles.
At its May 7, meeting the council converted its pilot employee parking program into an ongoing program and directed staff to begin the process of implementing the mid-term initiatives, including paid parking kiosks, shuttles, mobile apps, business validation and free parking initiatives, and other improvements for the Downtown area.
Five options were presented to the council by Julie Dixon of Dixon Resources Unlimited:
1. Time Limits (Park Area) — Option 1 is a 2-hour time limit for the on-street parking spaces around the Downtown City Park. The suggested operating hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
2. Tiered Time Limits (Downtown) — Similar to Option 1, Option 2 proposes a 2-hour time limit for on-street parking within the Park Area, but also a lengthier 3-hour time limit for the rest of the Downtown Area (Figure 2).
3. Paid Hourly Parking (Park Area) — Option 3 proposes paid hourly parking within the Park Area at a rate of $0.75 per hour without time limits. Unlike the time limit-only scenarios (Options 1 and 2), a paid parking operation could address the core issue of employees parking on-street with fewer operating hours and without time limits.
4. Paid Hourly Parking (Downtown) — Option 4 proposes paid hourly parking within the entire Downtown Area at a rate of $0.75 per hour without time limits.
5. Paid Parking — First 90 Minutes Free (Downtown) — Option 5 proposes a $1 hourly rate with the first 90-minutes free throughout the Downtown Area.
The council via a 5-0 vote chose Option 5.
The problem everyone agreed was that the employees and business owners were taking up valuable parking in the Downtown core and that the voluntary pilot employee parking program was not having the impact many had hoped.
On October 16, 2018, the City Council approved the proposed 6-month voluntary Downtown Parking Permit Pilot Program. The goal of this program was to encourage employees of downtown businesses to free up convenient on-street parking for customers by offering employees the opportunity to park in reserved off-street parking.
The program started out well, Dixon said, but usage steadily declined over time. According to the data gathered, not only has there been a decline in utilization of the permit program, but there has also been an increase in permit holders parking on the street rather than reserved permit spaces.
The most recent status report from Dixon states, “The observed parking patterns indicate that Paso Robles has a parking management issue, rather than a parking supply issue.”
In other action on May 7, council:
• Initiated the annual levy for the Landscape and Lighting District and the Drainage Maintenance District — the Council received and approved the preliminary Engineer’s Report, declared the City’s intention to levy assessments in order to maintain the landscaping and related improvements in the districts, and set a public hearing for June 4 to consider approval of the final report and to authorize the levy and collection of assessments.
• Declared public nuisances relating to weed abatement — The Fire Marshal has conducted the annual inspection of properties and compiled a list of those properties still posing a significant fire risk. At the meeting, the Council directed the Fire Marshal to provide written notice to each of the property owners, and return to a public hearing on June 4 with the final list of all properties still not in compliance. The expectation is that this fire season will again pose a significant risk for Paso Robles.
• Received additional information and took additional public input concerning the proposed membership in the Monterey Bay Community Power joint powers authority — membership in a “community choice aggregation” authority has the potential to significantly reduce electronic power generation costs and reduce residential and commercial electric bills. The Council will consider membership at its meeting on May 21.
• Adopted an ordinance authorizing the issuance of conditional use permits for delivery-only medical marijuana retail businesses locating within City limits — Adoption of the ordinance will allow Dubs Green Garden, the only medical marijuana delivery service based in Paso Robles, to apply for a conditional use permit to continue its operations. Delivery services based outside the City will still be able to deliver within the City, as long as they have their state license and a Paso Robles business license.
On Wednesday, May 15, the Paso Robles Planning Commission voted 4-0 to recommend a draft Short-Term Rental Ordinance to the Paso Robles City Council.
The City Council is scheduled to hear the first reading of the ordinance on the June 4, agenda, with the public hearing to take place the next day on June 5.
The key provisions of the ordinance are:
• Holders of existing business licenses must apply for a short-term rental permit
• Maximum occupancy requirements
• On-site parking requirements
• Good neighbor provisions and notifications
• 30 minute complaint Hotline process
• Separation requirements in the R-1 zone
• Maximum caps on the total number of short-term rentals in the City by zones.
If the City Council takes action on the Short-Term Rental Ordinance, the Ordinance would become effective in the middle of July 2019. The first day to submit short-term rental permit applications would be July 18, 2019.
The next City Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 21, in Council Chambers. To view the agenda once it is posted, visit online www.prcity.com.