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New rules to take effect this week for short-term rentals in Paso Robles

Posted at 10:46 PM, Feb 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 01:56:29-05

Short-term rental owners in Paso Robles will have to follow stricter guidelines starting February 13.

The city hopes a new ordinance passed by the city council will keep the peace for neighbors and renters.

Talks of regulating short-term rentals first came about in 2015, but in last week’s meeting, the council adopted The Urgent Short-term Rental Ordinance.

The city says there were growing noise and parking complaints from neighbors, but some hosts aren’t too happy about the change.

Since 2015, hosts in Paso Robles have been required to get business licenses and pay the Transient Occupancy Tax.

A local Airbnb host proudly displays her permit, but now faces new rules.

“Instead of going after the people who have done the right thing, they should start cracking down on the people who don’t have licenses,” said Carmen Stamm, Airbnb host of Bella Vista Suite.

License or no license, the city now requires short-term renters to also get a permit and submit a guest accommodation plan.

The Community Development Director says the ordinance was passed with urgency due to growing neighbor concerns.

“Renters will now have to provide a site plan and a floor plan that shows how they are going to do parking, trash and how many rooms and beds they will be renting so we know what the count is,” said Warren Frace, Paso Robles Community Development Director.

Frace says the city is also looking into hiring a third-party agency to help crack down on unlicensed listings.

“I think it will be difficult in the future for people not to comply with the ordinance,” said Frace. “For those who have already gone through the permit process, we appreciate that, and we want to make sure it is an even playing field for everyone.”

Some neighbors say these types of rentals can disturb the peace and parking near family homes.

“An Airbnb or a vacation rental that’s an entire home, you don’t know who is going to be there, you don’t know who it’s even owned by because some of them are owned by agencies not even people anymore,” said Bill Mavety, who used to live near short-term rentals.

Though Stamm says she’s never had a problem with her guests, she can see how things can go wrong.

“We are here in our home monitoring 24/7, but people who don’t live in the homes and they have not vigilance of what’s going on,” said Stamm. “That’s where you have the loud parties and people getting out of hand and disturbing the neighbors and disrupting the neighborhood.”

A neighborhood hotline will also be set up in case someone has a complaint.

“It’s tough asking any government of any size to regulate something that somebody owns, but given that home ownership is a foundational pillar of the American Dream, we can’t have a lack of investment in neighborhoods in the form of vacation rentals,” said Mavety. “We can’t have that harming the community.”

The city council still plans to discuss a number of topics like permit cost, density and number of rentals allowed in the area.

According to Frace, short-term renters could also be subject to an inspection fee if there is a complaint about them.

The city’s Short-term Rental Task Force suggested the original ordinance to the city council in 2017 and a modified version was adopted during the February 5th, 2019 meeting.