Council discusses plan to expand housing opportunities in Uptown/Town Center Specific Plan 

PASO ROBLES — Community Development Director Warren Frace and Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta provided updates on the Highway 46 East overcrossing project as well as collision data on the corridor during the Tuesday, Oct. 17, City Council meeting.

The collision data focused on the area between the Highway 101 overpass and Airport Road, with the majority of the collisions happening at the intersections of Airport Road and Union Road. Most of these collisions are caused by excessive speed.

Below is the collision data from 2019 to today:

  • 2019: 51
  • 2020: 35
  • 2021: 56
  • 2022: 35
  • YTD (2023): 40

The proposed $50 million to $60 million overcrossing project from Union Road to what will be the new Airport Road is currently in the Environmental Impact Report process. According to staff, the overpass will be key in alleviating traffic and collisions in the vital east to west corridor.

Council later discussed possible rezoning changes to the Uptown/Town Center Specific Plan and boundary expansion for the Olive Street area. 

In 2016, City Council formed the Housing Constraints and Opportunities Committee (HCOC) to work with staff to increase housing production in Paso Robles.

The following year, the HCOC saw the expansion of the Uptown/Town Center Specific Plan (UTSP — formed in 2011) east of Olive Street as an area that could be rezoned for additional housing. According to staff’s report, at the Jan. 20, 2022, meeting, the HCOC “considered a report from staff and recommended the City Council consider a specific plan expansion and rezoning of the block east of Olive St. The basis of the recommendation was the assumption that the UTSP’s T-3 zoning district allowed more units (density) than the R-1 zoning district.”

Additionally, the state has recently implemented a number of single-family residential zoning preemptions that now allow both ministerial lot splits and multiple accessory dwelling units on all R- 1 lots (SB-9, AB-345, AB-3182, AB-68, AB-881, SB-13) — making it now possible to have a similar number of units developed in the R-1 zoning district as in the T-3 zoning district.

Residents in the surrounding areas should have received a notice from the city with the general plan amendment study area, including a 500-foot perimeter buffer.

Staff has proposed the following for the amendment process, which is expected to take 12-18 months to complete:

  1. Consultant Request for Proposals
  2. City Council contract and scope approval
  3. Impact and Constraints Analysis of Proposed Amendment
  4. Neighborhood Public Workshop 1
  5. Preparation of plans and amendments
  6. Neighborhood Public Workshop 2
  7. CEQA document and staff reports
  8. Planning Commission hearing
  9. City Council hearing
  10. City Council second reading

Councilman Chris Bausch motioned to approve Resolution 23-X, directing staff to initiate a General Plan Amendment and Rezoning of the Uptown/Town Center Specific Plan Boundary Expansions as recommended by the Housing Constraints and Opportunities Committee — adding the use of consultants in the process with their cost not to exceed $100,000. The motion passed unanimously.

The next Paso Robles City Council Meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 7, at 6:30 p.m.