Paso Robles City Council Meeting Highlights for July 9, 2020
In compliance with social distancing, the City Council, staff, and the public participated via conference call. The public was given the opportunity to view a livestream of the meeting at www.prcity.com/youtube, invited to call into the meeting at 805-865-PASO (7276), and to email public comment to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to the meeting.
Highlights from the City Council meeting on Thursday, July 9, 2020 are as follows. The City Council took the following actions:
Received an Update on the COVID-19 Pandemic. Staff provided an update on the current number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the County and the Paso Robles area (877 and 214, respectively, to date). 247 of those are active cases, and there have been 4 deaths to date. The recent elevated disease spread exceeds the State’s case rate threshold of 100 per 100,000 population over 14 days. If SLO County is added to and remains on the State's watch list for three consecutive days, the following industries will be required to shut down unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up: dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers (for examples: bowling alleys, miniature golf, batting cages, and arcades), zoos and museums, and cardrooms. All brewpubs, breweries, bars, and pubs would be required close indoor and outdoor operations if the County is on the monitoring list for three days or more. In addition, testing capacity is constrained, and priority is now being given to symptomatic or high-risk individuals. Additional information is available at emergencyslo.org/reopening.
Awarded a Contract for Analysis and Design of Monitoring Wells and Stream Gauges. Council approved an agreement with Cleath-Harris Geologists, in an amount of $111,524, for analysis, design, and preparation of bid documents for the Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) Groundwater Monitoring Well and Stream Gauge Project. The Groundwater Sustainability Plan calls for the addition of groundwater monitoring wells within the basin to measure water levels in the Alluvial Aquifers, and in the Paso Robles Formation. The State Water Board recently awarded $255,000 in SEP funds for analysis and installation of stream gauges and monitoring wells to the City of Paso Robles. Based on preliminary estimates, the SEP funds are sufficient for the evaluation, design, and installation of two shallow monitoring wells and three stream gauges, and construction of two deep monitoring wells that will be bid according to the plans and specification prepared under the agreement.
Approved a Variance to the City’s Short-Term Rental Ordinance to Allow for Six Non-hosted Short-term Rental Permits at the Market Walk Property at 1803 Spring Street. Council reviewed an appeal of the Planning Commission’s unanimous approval of the variance, which authorizes six non-hosted short-term rental permits for a mixed-use project that was approved by the City Council in 2017. Since the approval, the City adopted a Short-Term Rental Ordinance, which expressly authorizes non-hosted short-term rental permits for residential uses in mixed-use structures, but which limits the use to 2 non-hosted permits per legal parcel. The original project approvals did not expressly refer to the six residential units as approved for STR use, since the City didn’t have policies or definitions for short-term rentals at the time. As the project had already been approved, at a time when a limitation on short-term rentals wasn’t even being considered, the project is appropriately exempted from the 2-unit per parcel limitation.
Approved an Amendment to the California Public Employees Retirement Contract for Tier 1 Miscellaneous Members, and Tier 1 and Tier 2 Police Safety and Fire Safety Members. Given pension reform in California in 2012, the City has employees under three different tiers of retirement benefits. As part of this year’s labor negotiations, some categories of employees who are in the tiers that pay less toward retirement costs under state law agreed to contribute an additional 2% of their salaries toward retirement costs. This change will bring the amounts that employees in all tiers pay toward retirement costs into better alignment, creating greater parity among employees.
Adoption of Niblick Road Corridor Plan. Council adopted the Niblick Road Corridor Plan, which outlines a path to create a vibrant pedestrian, bicycle-friendly, and green-street environment for residents, businesses, and visitors. Plan development began in September 2019, utilized a community-driven effort, and outlined three alternatives for Council consideration. Council adopted modified design Alternative C, which creates a two-way raised multi-use path on the north side of Niblick with a three-foot separator and enhances roadway striping. Grant funding will be pursued for implementation. If funding is not available, Alternative A will be the default, lower-cost option, which does not create a separated bikeway but enhances striping, creates consistent lane widths, and maintains the sidewalk on the south side of the Niblick Bridge. Council looked at the Sherwood Road portion separately, and approved option C3 for that segment, which will continue the existing paving and sidewalks as much as possible, make striping changes, maintain both bike lanes, and will be implemented only as the Olsen/South Chandler Specific Plan is constructed. The plan provides the City with a blueprint for Niblick Road upgrades and operations to City buildout.
Directed Staff to Return with a Recommendation for Potential Revenue Measures for Voters to Consider on the November 2020 Ballot. Council received a presentation on the City’s fiscal situation, demands for City services, and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Council directed staff to return to the Council on July 21st with an analysis and recommendation for a 1-cent sales tax measure for voters to consider on the November 2020 ballot, to include oversight by a local ad-hoc committee. Council also directed staff to bring back consideration of adding a 1-cent Transit Occupancy Tax measure for voters to consider on the November 2020 ballot. All City programs and services have already been reduced, since the Great Recession that started in 2008, to a degree that is challenging to sustain. The fiscal impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly exacerbate existing fiscal challenges and put the City at risk of having to reduce essential services to potentially dangerous levels if alternative action is not taken. The primary uses for a potential general-purpose tax measure have been developed through the extensive community conversation, which has included surveys, questionnaires, reviews of social media threads, presentations and discussions, and other interactions. The highest priority City service needs identified include fire and emergency services, police services, and street repair and maintenance.
Approved Six-Month Agreements with the Paso Robles Main Street Association and Paso Robles Wine Country Alliance. At the June 16th budget hearing, Council directed staff to fund community organizations at their full level of funding for the first six months of the fiscal year (July-December 2020), with the commitment to reevaluate at midyear. Agreements were approved for Downtown Main Street ($47,500) for Downtown promotions and events and for the Wine Country Alliance ($30,000) for marketing, training, and promotions for wine industry. Council directed staff to work with and Ad Hoc Committee of Council and bring back a recommendation for the Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center operations agreement.
This represents just a subset of the total actions by the Council. The full agenda can be found at https://www.prcity.com/agendacenter and the audio from the meeting can be found at https://www.prcity.com/AgendaCenter/City-Council-2 or www.prcity.com/youtube. The minutes will be available as part of the packet for the City Council’s next regular meeting.
The next regular City Council meeting takes place on Tuesday, July 21st at 6:30 pm via livestream at www.prcity.com/youtube. Public comment can be made during the meeting by 805-865-PASO (7276) or provided prior to the meeting by emailing email@example.com.