City Council approves new short-term rental ordinance

PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles City Council met for a regular meeting on Tuesday, June 7, where it heard several public hearings, including one on the short-term rental housing ordinance.

Councilmen Steve Gregory and John Hamon recused themselves from the hearing on short-term rentals due to being directly and indirectly involved with short-term rentals.

City Council originally approved Ordinance 1082, Short-Term Rental Ordinance, in August 2019, allowing the council to regulate short-term rentals in Paso Robles.


The ordinance differentiates between home shares and non-hosted accommodations, establishes permit requirements and conditions, sets occupancy limits and parking requirements, and requires the city to maintain a short-term rental hotline.

Short-term rental housing has been a hot topic with Paso Roblans, many for and against the rentals. According to city staff, the majority of complaints received through the short-term rental hotline refers to noise complaints involving swimming pools.

Two ordinances were presented to council: Ordinance A is staff’s recommendation, which provides no changes to the current ordinance, and Ordinance B, which is the Planning Commission’s recommendation to council.

Ordinance B would have made several changes to the current ordinance, including extending the sunset clause, which would have required the council to review the short-term rental ordinance again in three years. It would have also provided time restrictions for swimming pools and hot tubs from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

However, Councilman Fred Strong motioned to approve Ordinance A with the amendment to change the notification requirement from 50 feet to 100 feet for new permits. Another change in the ordinance is the removal of the three-year sunset clause.

There are currently 393 short-term rental permits issued in Paso Robles for all zones, and 66 are on a waitlist to be approved.

The motion passed unanimously with a 3-0 vote.

Public Works Director Christopher Alakel provided an update on the city’s water supply and demand projections and the state’s mandated measures. 

Staff recommended to the council to implement Level 2 water demand reduction measures according to the

city’s Water Shortage Contingency Plan, which was approved by the council with a 4-0 vote. Hamon was absent for the remainder of the meeting.

On March 28, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed an executive order directing the State Water Resources Control Board (SWRCB) to consider adopting emergency regulations to increase water conservation which they followed through with on May 24. SWRCB emergency regulation requires water suppliers to implement water use restrictions and demand reduction actions identified in the supplier’s water shortage contingency plan corresponding to a shortage of 20 percent.

The city’s Level 2 Conservation measures require the following:

  • Irrigation of residential and commercial landscapes, including golf courses, parks, school grounds, and recreation fields shall occur before 9 a.m. and after 7 p.m. only, except for renovation or repair of the irrigation system with an operator present.
  • Limiting landscape watering to no more than three days per week according to an irrigation schedule established by the city.
  • Prohibition of landscape watering during and within 48 hours of rainfall.
  • Repair or prevention of water leaks within five days of notification by the city.
  • Prohibition on irrigation of ornamental turf in public street medians 

Additionally, the emergency regulations adopted by the SWRCB prohibit the use of potable water for irrigation of non-functional turf at commercial, industrial, and institutional properties, but does not specifically require water suppliers to enforce this prohibition. However, the state may enforce this prohibition separately from any city enforcement measures related to water conservation.

The city’s Level 2 regulations are implemented when there is a probability that there will be a water supply shortage and a reduction in customer water demand of up to 20 percent is needed to ensure that sufficient supplies will be available to meet anticipated customer demands. 

City staff clarified that while they do not predict a shortage in the city’s water supply, the regulations need to be implemented to comply with SWRCB’s emergency regulations.

Level 2 outdoor watering restrictions will be in effect beginning June 10.

The next City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 21, at 6:30 p.m.