PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Council is expected to have a public hearing for the Beechwood Specific Plan and consider a camping urgency ordinance during Tuesday’s, Oct. 6, meeting. The agenda can viewed here.

The City will live stream the meeting at 6:30 p.m. on its YouTube channel. Residents can call 805-865-7276 to provide public comment via phone. The phone line will open just before the start of closed session and again before the regular meeting. Written public comments can be submitted via email to cityclerk@prcity.com before noon on the day of the Council meeting to be posted as an addendum to the Agenda. If submitting written comments in advance of the meeting, note the agenda item by number or name. 

The City of Paso Robles Planning Commission, after much thoughtful discussion, recommended approval of the Beechwood Specific Plan at its Aug. 11 meeting. Staff also is recommending Council approve the project.

The 235-acre site is located in the southeast corner of the City — south of Meadowlark, east of Virginia Peterson Elementary, and north of Creston Road.

If approved by the City Council, the project would result in the development of 911 residential units, 5.6 acres of commercial and mixed-use development; an 8-acre public park; and 20 acres of open space.

The proposed camping urgency ordinance will add a chapter to the City’s Municipal Code. Because of this proposed urgency ordinance, a 4/5 vote of the City Council is required to adopt the ordinance.

The new chapter will define camping and camping-related terms and prohibit camping in the following areas: lands owned or operated by the City, lands zoned as open space, high fire risk areas, and water supply risk areas.

It calls for the City Council to adopt procedures for the removal and retrieval of personal property. 

Concerning enforcement, while it is the City’s current practice to comply with Martin v. City of Boise, the new chapter codifies this practice. This means that absent exigent circumstances, the camping prohibition will not be enforced against persons when there is no available alternative shelter. 

When the camping prohibition is not enforced, people may only set up camping facilities between 5 p.m. and 7 a.m. daily. 

The City’s current Municipal Code does prohibit camping in certain areas but does not provide the procedural and constitutional safeguards offered by the proposed chapter. As a subsequent action, staff will be initiating consideration of a zoning amendment to repeal the City’s current camping codes.

“It is a matter of urgency for the preservation of public peace, health, and safety that the City Council adopt this urgency ordinance, to enable the City to determine that areas like the Riverbed are fire risk and water quality risk areas dangerous for camping,” staff stated in the agenda packet. “Further, this urgency ordinance will ensure that regulation of camping is consistent with the parameters set by Martin v. City of Boise.”

Getting through this together, Paso Robles