PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles City Council was busy Tuesday night, Aug. 4, during its regular meeting. Highlights include beginning to update the City’s Housing Element and approving a $2.4 million grant to improve internet accessibility.

The City is due to update its Housing Element plan. The Housing Element is a state requirement and outlines the housing needs of its current and future residents. It is intended to outline “goals and policies consistent with the City’s General Plan and community vision in addition to addressing State requirements and laws.” 

The updates to the Housing Element are intended to be implemented through the year 2028. The main goals included in the City’s draft Housing Element include:

• encourage the development of a variety of housing opportunities

• provide housing opportunities for persons of lower and moderate incomes

• preserve the quality of the existing housing stock

• minimize governmental constraints

• promote equal housing opportunities for all residents

Council provided staff with a few changes to the draft. One is to mention the City’s successful history of going above and beyond in the means in the introduction of the draft. 

As part of the requirements, the City must identify proposed home development sites. It was noted that not all of these sites would be developed. 

The Beachwood site between Creston and Meadowlark roads proposes a total of 952 homes. This breaks down to 20 low-income units, 196 moderate-income housing units, and 736 above-moderate-income housing units across 234 acres. This project is scheduled to be considered and possibly finalized by the Planning Commission and City Council in the coming months.

Another potential development site is the Olsen-South Chandler Ranch, which includes 1,293 residential units, 9,800 square feet of commercial space, possible elementary school, and 29,335 square feet of community amenities across 356 acres. The City Council approved this project earlier in 2020.

On the west side of town, there is a capacity for approximately 925 new housing units. The majority of this would be “units on underdeveloped lots or on the same property as commercial buildings as mixed-use.” 

The City’s draft Housing Element Plan, in its detailed entirety, can be found online through the Aug. 4 agenda at

Council approved an Optical Fiber Cable in Underserved Areas Grant. This grant is in response to COVID-19 and the need for accessible internet as more people go to school and work from home. 

The $2.4 million grant utilizes CARES Act funds to develop high-speed internet. In Paso Robles, the fiber optic internet would cover 13 miles, including 1,000-2,000 businesses and 7,000-10,000 jobs.

To receive the grant, the City is required to contribute 20 percent ($600,000) of the total $3 million project cost.

The temporary homeless shelter at Borkey Flats was set to open Wednesday, Aug. 5. Homeless people living in the Salinas Riverbed were notified of the accommodation. More notices will be going out to homeless residents in the riverbed, asking them to leave the area and utilize the Borkey Flats shelter. The City is taking these steps because it will be moving forward with its emergency fire hazard mitigation efforts in the riverbed.

With Paso Robles Fire Department Fire Chief Jonathan Stornetta deployed to the Park Fire, Assistant City Manager Sarah Johnson-Rios provided the City’s COVID-19 update to Council. 

San Luis Obispo County remains on the state’s watch list. The County’s infection rate does not meet the state’s criteria — less than 100 new cases for every 100,000 people within 14 days. SLO County has a threshold of 285 cases. During the last 14 days, SLO County has seen 533 confirmed new cases.

Paso Robles has the highest total case rate in the County. 

Parking enforcement has resumed in downtown Paso Robles. Pas Robles Police Department Police Chief Ty Lewis said the department is currently offering warnings as residents ease back into the parking regulations.