Paso Robles has seen an increase in short-term vacation rentals. There are 344 of them licensed within city limits.
“Our tourism industry and hospitality is kind of like a portfolio and you really want to have as many different options for people to come and stay in Paso Robles,” said Jim Cogan, Assistant City Manager.
The city sees a 12 percent transient occupancy tax from vacation rentals.
Residents like Scotty Smith say while the city’s economy benefits, neighborhoods suffer.
“Parking is an issue, trash, drunkenness, parties at night,” Smith said.
He and dozens of other neighbors have organized a website and petition asking city leaders to keep vacation rentals in downtown and mixed-use areas rather than residential, single-family zones.
“We’re just asking for help to preserve the fabric of our neighborhood,” Smith said.
A task force, organized by the city, is drafting a new zoning ordinance which is set to go to the planning commission on April 23.
“The goal of the ordinance and task force is to try and balance the positive of being able to bring people into town with some of the impacts on residents,” Cogan said.
The task force is made up of rental owners and residents. The group has been given eight weeks to draft an ordinance to present to city leaders.
The task force recommends that vacation rentals be allowed in Paso Robles’ downtown zone. They’re still deciding on what restrictions should be placed in residential zones. One option creates a “buffer” to decrease the density of vacation rentals within a neighborhood.
City leaders say there is a chance that vacation rentals that are already in residential zones could be “grandfathered-in” as long as they are in good standing with the city.