City moving forward to annex 133 acres near municipal landfill

PASO ROBLES — Following the receipt of a cease-and-desist letter, the Paso Robles City Council announced during Tuesday night’s meeting on Feb. 6 that they would be pausing the Downtown Paid Parking Program.

Just after closed session on Tuesday, the city’s legal staff announced that the city has received a cease-and-desist letter from citizen advocate Gary Lehrer, who raised concerns regarding modifications to the Paid Parking Program alleging violations of the Brown Act and other state laws. 

While state law mandates that councils establish or modify paid parking rates exclusively through ordinance, the Paso Robles City Council has historically set parking rates through alternative means, such as resolutions and discussions without formal agenda items. In 2018, the city council amended its parking ordinance to permit the establishment of parking rates via resolutions.

“It is the city’s intent at this time to pause charging for parking in the downtown zone and issuing citations,” said City Attorney Elizabeth Hull.

No further comments were issued from council during the announcement. The city council will return to discuss the paid parking situation at its Tuesday, Feb. 20, meeting.

Later in the meeting, an update was provided on the Creston Road repairs. The first phase of the Creston Road Corridor project started with the installation of electric road signs. Crews are working on the first order of work: potholing to locate existing utilities. 

Capital Projects Engineer Ditas Esperanza noted there are about 100 potholes to be conducted on the stretch from South River Road to Orchard.

Esperanza asked residents to be aware that this project will be a moving traffic control and constantly changing, “This is a moving work, so the traffic control also has to move.”

This first phase of improvements include:

  • Re-surfacing and repair of entire roadway
  • Traffic signal at Walnut/Bolen intersection
  • Enhanced pedestrian crossings with pedestrian push-button lights at
    • Trigo
    • Ivy
    • Orchard
  • Updated sewer mains, fire hydrants, and gate valves
  • Upgraded curb ramps to current standards
  • Completing/installing of missing sidewalks, curbs and gutters
  • Enhanced bike lanes
  • Conduit for future fiber

You can read more on the city’s road maintenance plans here: 

Paso Robles Press has requested a copy of the cease-and-desist letter but has not received a response at the time of printing.

Council then approved the annexation of 133 acres of city-owned property adjacent to the landfill.

The city owns and operates a municipal landfill located about eight miles east of Highway 101 on State Route 46. In 2005, the city purchased 133 acres of land adjacent to the landfill as a buffer from development, but the property was never annexed into the city.

Currently, the unannexed land is costing taxpayers approximately $10,000 per year in property tax payments to the county. Since the city purchased it in 2005, they have paid over $100,000 in property taxes to the County of San Luis Obispo.

City staff presented a use for the “new” acres. It was presented that the area would be sufficient to support the installation of a regional facility that receives a variety of organic waste streams, including biosolids, and convert it into renewable energy and other commodities.

Before annexation can become official, there will need to be a CEQA review for the potential biosolids facility, which costs $60,912 by SWCA Environmental Consultants. According to the staff’s report, “additional filing, application, and equalization fees are estimated to account for an additional $12,855. These costs will be offset, in part, by property tax savings ($10,000 per year), which had previously been paid to the County of San Luis Obispo.”

Council unanimously approved for staff to move forward to gaining CEQA compliance to annex the 133 acres.

The next Paso Robles City Council meeting is scheduled for Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m.