The Downtown Paso parklet program will be brought back for discussion at the next meeting

PASO ROBLES — On Aug. 17, the Paso Robles City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting. 

Paso Robles City Council started the meeting by officially appointed Ty Lewis as the City’s new city manager. 

Lewis was chosen out of 67 applicants for the position. His first day as city manager will be Aug. 22. 

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

Lewis has served as the Chief of the Paso Robles Police Department since 2018 and was hired by the City on Mar. 31, 2002, as a police officer, sergeant, and later a commander. An in-depth feature article on Lewis will follow. 

Later in the meeting, a member of the public requested to remove items 15, 19, and 20 from the consent agenda. 

Item 15 was the approval of an oak tree removal permit for three coastal live oak trees at 2811 Vine Street. A presentation showed all three trees were in unhealthy conditions. 

The removal of the trees was approved by Council with a 5-0 vote. 

Item 19 requested the approval of an agreement with the Paso Robles Museum Foundation for an option to purchase a portion of the Pioneer Park property.

Council moved to approve and authorize the City Manager to execute an Option Agreement with the Paso Robles Museum Foundation for the future right to acquire a portion of Pioneer Park and authorizing the City Manager and City Attorney to make any minor, technical, or non-substantive changes to the Agreement, as appropriate.

Item 20 was removed by the interim city manager because of some changes made to the item. 

Item 20 regarded the approval of a short-term lease agreement with San Luis Obispo County for a temporary COVID-19 testing center at the train station at 800 Pine Street. 

The lease agreement is for six months bringing in a revenue of $23,292 ($3,882 per month).

Council approved the lease agreement with a 5-0 vote. 

Following the consent agenda, two public hearings were held.

The first regarded a request to subdivide a single 6.54-acre parcel into two smaller parcels, the construction of two buildings and parking areas, and a septic system at 3051 Union Road. 

With a 5-0 vote, Council approved the following actions:

  1. Approve Resolution (A) certifying the mitigated negative declaration prepared for the project.
  2. Approve Resolution (B) approving Planned Development 20-09 and Conditional Use Permit 21-19, including a private wastewater permit.
  3. Approve Resolution (C) approving Vesting Tentative Parcel Map PR 20-0018.

The second hearing regarded the approval of a type 42 ABC license for a wine bar coming to 1244 Pine Street, Unit C.

Council unanimously approved the ABC license. 

Next, Council received an update from the Downtown Parking Advisory Committee (DPAC) on parklets in Downtown Paso. The committee provided options for the parklets moving forward and “voted unanimously that the parklets do not support the goals of the downtown parking program.”

Previously, Council approved the parklet program to end Nov. 1. The Paso Robles Main Street Association was also in favor of removing the parklets on Nov. 1.

However, Council heard from several restaurant and business owners in the downtown area who are requesting the City to extend the parklet program, at least through the beginning of the New Year.

With cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant rising, owners are concerned they will either be shut down again, or customers will want to sit outside. If they are not given more spaces for customers to sit outside, owners are concerned customers will go elsewhere.

Others discussed the parklet impose an ongoing lack of parking, ADA violations, and design flaws.

After discussion and public comment, Mayor Steve Martin said, “Accommodating locals is my job. I was elected by locals, and their welfare has to be first. When we say ‘It’s just the locals complaining,’ those are our people, so I’m a little sensitive to that.”

Mayor Martin then made a motion to put the parklet program on the agenda for the next Council meeting to explore options to extend the parklet program.

The motion passed 3-1, with Councilman John Hamon voting no and Steve Gregory recused himself from the item.

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept. 7, at 6:30 PM.