Council to consider mass grading ordinance amendment
Mass grading restriction to be repealed pending environmental review
–At Tuesday’s Paso Robles City Council meeting, the council voted to direct staff to prepare a grading ordinance amendment with recommendations proposed by the Grading Ordinance Advisory Committee, including the repeal of the mass grading restriction.
The amendment would remove the restriction and allow mass grading to be conducted where necessary for the reasonable use of the property, with the aim of minimizing exposed slopes, retaining wall heights and to install mitigating landscaping to reduce environmental impacts. Without the use of mass grading, lots smaller than half an acre may have awkward slopes between adjacent properties and streets. This can also cause an increase in construction costs, limit use of stock building plans, and complicate drainage options.
The committee appointed by council in September 2015 consists of a combination of council members, planning commissioners, and development industry technical experts. Assistant City Manager Meg Williamson said the committee has met five times since their formation and their work concluded with a consensus for a comprehensive rewriting of grading standards.
Committee and councilmember Steve Gregory said the committees primary concern was the mass grading restriction as it was a blanket restriction. “Removing it allows our code to be flexible in regards to grading over different terrain.” he said. “Grading is not cut and dry, by not currently allowing mass grading we weren’t giving our staff and developers opportunity to be creative with the land they build on.” “As a committee we were focusing on the aesthetics of the final product and to give our staff the tools to achieve the best possible result.”
“We were able to reduce the grading ordinance by about 50-percent and simplified and defined the terminology,” he said. “It is really important when we have ordinances to be used as a tool, that we make the ordinance user-friendly and come out with a good product.”
The report will be reviewed by the Paso Robles Planning Commission before returning to council for their consideration.