Downtown Parking Advisory Commission Recommends Extending Senior Permits

PASO ROBLES – The process of hiring a replacement City Manager is taking much longer than anticipated by the City. Starting on Apr. 19, Greg Carpenter will step in as interim City Manager.

In November 2020, current City Manager Tom Frutchey announced his planned departure from the City in February 2021.

Council unanimously approved Carpenter to act as a temporary City Manager until the City has found a permanent replacement. 

Carpenter was previously Planning Manager* for the City of Long Beach from 2002-2008. From 2008-2012 Carpenter was Director of Planning and Building Safety for the City of El Segundo and then was their City Manager from 2021-2019.

During the meeting, Carpenter introduced himself. For the past 13 years, Carpenter has owned a home just outside of Paso and is looking forward to getting to know the town more.

Council was given suggestions for adjustments to the downtown parking program from the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission. 

From the agenda report:

“On Sep. 9, 2020, the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission voted to recommend to City Council to extend the parking program to 7 days per week (rather than 5) from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (rather than 6 p.m.) and to create Parking Coordinator and Parking Ambassador job classifications and hire the necessary number of Parking Ambassadors to cover the parking schedule.”

“On Mar. 3, the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission recommended extending the Senior Permit Pilot Program to an annual program available to all seniors 65 years of age and older at the cost of $30 per year, and ensuring ample communication about the program.”

Many seniors called in with a concern over the high $30 senior permit fee. It seemed all council members were concerned with the cost as well.

“I think there are better ways to do this, and I think $30 is too much,” said Fred Strong, who also mentioned that he only pays $5 per year for a Downtown San Luis Obispo senior permit.

Mayor Martin made his suggestion, “I propose that we simply give all seniors free parking passes. I don’t think charging them $5 a year is going to cover the cost of those parking passes, so I say give the seniors over 65 parking passes.” 

In the end, the Council voted 4-1, Mayor Martin in opposition, for the following recommendations and adjustments:

Take the following actions based on the recommendations of staff and the Downtown Parking Advisory Commission: 

  • Reclassify the current Technician II to Supervisor/Professional/Coordinator I and add three part-time Staff Assistant III positions to adequately cover the parking schedule. 
  • Extend the parking program to operate seven days per week, Monday – Sunday from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. on each day of operation, and extend the Senior Permit Pilot Program to an annual program available to all seniors 65 years of age and older at the cost of $30 per year. 

Council agreed to drop the Senior Permit fee to $5 per year, rather than the suggested $30 per year.

  • Enter a contract renewal with Dixon Resources Unlimited to provide on-call support services in the amount not to exceed $40,000 for a 12-month term. Council suggested to take the contract renewal back to Dixon resources for renegotiation for a lower cost. Council did originally suggest the contract not to exceed $20,000.

Council also requested staff bring back a proposal within 60 days for an exclusive locals parking program. A program proposal will be brought to the parking commission before bringing it to the Council for approval.

The Council received a Downtown Parklet Program update and discussed possible extensions on the program.

Mayor Martin made a motion to “Direct staff to return with a Resolution to Extend the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program to Nov. 1.” Motion passed 4-0. Councilman Gregory recused himself from the discussion. 

There was a discussion on whether the City should purchase the K-Rails, which are used for borders on the parklets, rather than continue to rent them.

Staff will return to Council with an updated renting versus buying K-Rails report to determine the more most effective option. If renting the K-rails is the decided option, the rental agreement will end on the agreed Nov. 1. The motion passed 4-0, with Gregory recused. 

Council requested staff to “Return with formal policies and standards for fenced Downtown Sidewalk Cafes.” This will include public outreach to residents and Downtown Paso stakeholders, which includes businesses.

Councilman Hammon rescued himself from discussing the sublease and loan agreement for the Sandbox Business Success Center at 1345 Park Street.

Hammon informed the public that Hammon Overhead Doors, now owned by his son, did install overhead glass doors at the Sandbox project. Hammon recently learned that his son had not been entirely paid for the project. Because Hammon still receives income from the overhead door business, he recused himself for potential conflict of interest.

Due to COVID lockdowns, the Sandbox Business Center had to delay its opening, resulting in no income. In turn, the City has not received the originally anticipated payments of $64,600 in rent payments and $20,300 in loan payments. 

The business center did not qualify for any Federal or State assistance and had no previous revenue. 

From the City Council meeting highlights:

“Council authorized the City Manager to execute amendments to the Loan and Sublease Agreements for 1345 Park Street, approving forgiveness of unpaid rent to date due to the pandemic, allowing reduced rent payments going forward until June 2022, deferring loan repayment until March 2022, and reducing the loan interest rate from 3 percent to 1 percent.

Council also directed both the City and Sandbox to pursue COVID relief funds in a partnership fashion to try to recoup lost revenue due to COVID. The funds utilized for the project to date are not local tax revenues; they are SB 1090 funds that the City received in preparation for the decommissioning of the Diablo power plant to use for economic development locally.” 

The next regular City Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, Apr. 6, at 6:30 p.m; to watch this and any future meetings, visit the city’s YouTube page. 

*Correction: The Paso Robles Press reported that Carpenter was previously the City Manager for the City of Long Beach from 2002-2008. Which he actually held the position of the Planning Manager not City Manager. Updated Mar. 22, 2021.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles