Paso Robles City Council regulates short-term rentals

PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Council took what they characterized as a “good first step” in regulating short-term rentals Tuesday night.

None of the four councilmembers were completely satisfied with the urgency ordinance they passed, 4-0, but realized something needed to be done and expect to make changes later in the year. Councilman Steven Gregory recused himself from the agenda item due to a conflict of interest as he owns and operates vacation rentals in the city. The matter took up two hours of the entire council meeting.

“Is it perfect, no, it hasn’t been perfect anywhere it has been put into effect,” said Councilman Fred Strong. “It’s going to be changed. Probably based on how well the industry does with what we do put into place. If it doesn’t work, if it doesn’t accomplish the purpose then it will get amended and tightened and it will be changed.”

Twenty people spoke during public comment of Tuesday’s meeting. Nearly all were in agreement that regulations needed to be put in place, but they disagreed with how far they needed to reach.

In addition to the urgency ordinance regulating short-term rentals, which will go into effect on Feb. 13, the council also approved for first reading by title only a regular ordinance. The two ordinances have the same wording.

The ordinance is the same one that was proposed to the council in October 2017 by the Planning Commission and a short-term rental task force, which is going to be reconstituted and tasked with making changes to the ordinance, if needed in the future.

The ordinances establish requirements for the operation of any short-term rental, such as maximum occupancy, parking limits, and building code compliance. Owners must apply for a Short-Term Rental Permit in order to operate within the City. The Short-Term Rental permit fee will be based on the City’s cost to process the application, notice the neighbors, and contract for a complaint hotline. The proposed fee will be presented to Council at its meeting on Feb. 19.

“I wanted to see something done, it’s been too long, way too long,” said Councilman John Hamon. “This is a start I really want to see the task force come back together as soon as possible. I want them to bring back further, deeper refinements, again this is going to be a work in progress. Right now we are going to get something in place that can give our staff the teeth to take care of issues and take care of our neighborhoods.”

In other matters Tuesday the council:

Uptown Family Park Shade Structures — approved a purchase order for the addition of integrated shade umbrellas to the Uptown Family Park play equipment and authorized the City Manager to execute a contract with Landscape Structures in the amount of $61,690.89 for construction of the Uptown Family Park Amphitheater Shade Sail with Shoreline Awning and Patio in the amount of $42,698. $33,000 of this budget was raised through the Mayor’s Fundraiser.

Abatement of Hazardous Fuels and Refuse (Weed Abatement) — adopted an ordinance Amending Chapter 16.10 of the Paso Robles Municipal Code regarding Abatement of Hazardous Fuels and Refuse, in order to reduce the risk of wildland fire in Paso Robles.

Contract for Transportation Funding Advocate — approved a resolution re-authorizing a comprehensive lobbying program regarding Caltrans permitting policy within the City by appropriating $60,000 from the Traffic Mitigation Development Fund and authorized the City Manager to execute a contract with Khouri Consulting.

Barney Schwartz Park Concession Operations — authorized the City Manager to enter into a 2-year contract with Central Coast Softball Tournaments to operate two concession stands at Barney Schwartz Park.

City Labor Contracts — authorized the City Manager to execute Memorandums of Understanding with the Paso Robles Police Officers Association and Paso Robles Professional Firefighters, and implement the wage and benefit summary with the Unrepresented Confidential, Professional and Management Group for calendar year 2019 and appropriated $91,800 from General Fund reserves.  These contracts included no ongoing salary increases, but rather one-time payments to each employee.

Appointment of Interim City Attorney — appointed Kimberly Hood to the position of interim city attorney to replace Iris Yang, who is retiring.

Niblick Road Improvements Grant Contract — authorized the City Manager to execute an agreement with Local Government Council for $56,274 for assistance on the Niblick Corridor grant project.

Additions to Certified Arborist list — approved the addition of Angelique Herman, Kelly Koker, and Kyle Weichert, ISA Certified Arborists, to the City’s certified arborist list.

General Plan Circulation Element Amendment and Transportation Impact Fee Update — certified the Mitigated Negative Declaration and Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program, adopted the 2019 Circulation Element, adopted the Traffic Impact Fee Justification Study, and updated the Transportation Impact Fee. These actions were taken with the recommendations of both the Planning Commission and Housing Constraints and Opportunities Committee.

Comprehensive Annual Financial Report — received and filed the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, which includes the Independent Auditor’s Report on the City’s financial statements, for the fiscal year ended, June 30, 2018.

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 15.


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