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City to host workshop to address housing constraints 

Update Oct. 5, 2015:

The Paso Robles City Council and Planning Commission are holding a joint public meeting Saturday, Oct. 17, 2015, to discuss constraints on housing development. The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at City Hall Council Chambers, 1000 Spring St., Paso Robles. The public is invited to attend and comment on the topic. The meeting follows a report early this year to the city council from the planning commission identifying several possible constraints on housing development.

Original report May 21, 2015:


At the May 19th Paso Robles City Council meeting, the councilmen decided to host a joint workshop with the Paso Robles Planning Commission to look into possible constraints to housing development in town. At this workshop, council will look into the possibility of creating an advisory board that would delve further into the issues.

The planning commission’s recommendations include the formation of a city council advisory committee comprised as follows:

“Furthermore, we respectfully propose that the city council approve an ad hoc or blue ribbon committee of two Councilman, two Planning Commissioners, appropriate City Staff, and specific additional skills (developers, bankers, realtors) to develop options and solutions to reduce or eliminate constraints.”

The proposed meeting would be considered a public body and will be subject to the Brown Act open meeting requirements, meaning it would need to be an open forum style meeting with published agendas.

The advisory board would:

1. Review city policy regarding distribution of costs between new development and current citizens.
2. Review engineers’ cost estimates for capital projects to be built from collected development impact fees.
3. Re-evaluate the development impact fees needs list (projects).
4. Look into other housing construction constraints.

The recommendations of the planning commission were:

1) Workforce housing development: adopting a policy that encourages the development of workforce housing.
2) Re-evaluate development impact fees: completely reviewing of cost estimates for all projects defined as part of the impact fees.
3) Re-evaluate city fees: creatively developing alternative solutions that would lower city fees, such as a 5 percent reduction for buildings that don’t install lawns, or basing fees on square footage.
4) Re-evaluate the use of specific city plans: modifying the plan to more closely match the needs of the city, developers, and home buyers, taking into consideration the city’s rate of growth.

Their complete report is available here. 

Councilman Steve Gregory suggested that a joint public meeting be established that would encompass both the entire planning commission and the entire city council. Mayor Steve Martin and Councilman Fred Strong voiced support of the idea.

Chairman of the Planning Commission Vince Vanderlip said on behalf of the planning commission, that they would be “More than happy to serve in any way possible as an advisory committee.”

Steve Gregory made a motion to include both the city council and the planning commission at a public workshop meeting in which the public will be invited, where they will all review the items presented by the planning commission.