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Paso Robles City Council repeals short-term rental ordinance

Posted at 11:13 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-20 02:19:38-05

Short-term rentals are a hot topic in Paso Robles, but it’s back to the drawing board for the city.

An urgency ordinance was passed by the City Council February 5 and went into effect February 13, but the item appeared on the council’s agenda once again Tuesday. This time council members considered repealing the ordinance.

It comes after talk of a conflict of interest involving one of the council members.

Council member Steve Gregory initially recused himself from voting on these types of ordinances due to conflict of interest.

However, Councilmember John Hamon recently recused himself from future votes on short-term rental ordinances as well, due to a conflict of interest with his parent’s trust.

Since Councilmember Hamon voted on the previous ordinance that took effect last week, the city says it became invalid.

Tuesday night, council members voted to repeal the ordinance for that reason.

After voting to repeal, council members without any conflicts of interest considered passing a new, regular short-term rental ordinance, but similar to past meetings it was met with opposition and questions.

This proposed ordinance was almost identical to the one repealed, however, there were two differences.

It did not include the neighbor notification process and it gave renters 60 days from the adoption of the ordinance to apply for a permit.

Many rental owners raised concerns about the requirements of site plans, the permit and inspection process, and the timeline of the ordinance.

In all, there was confusion from renters, neighbors and council members.

“The lack of clarity brings a lot of uncertainty,” said Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin. “There are too many wrinkles in this shirt to iron out tonight.”

Mayor Martin made a motion to defer action and send the ordinance back to the Short-term Rental Task Force for further discussion.

This ordinance has been in the works since 2015.

Before the first urgency ordinance was passed, renters were only required to get a business license through the city.

The Short-term Rental Task Force now has 60 days to give the Planning Commission new suggestions before it is brought back to City Council.

The task force meets February 27 at 10 a.m. at City Hall.