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Paso Robles City Council meeting highlights 

City Council meeting highlights

–The following are highlights from the Paso Robles City Council meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

In compliance with social distancing, the council, staff, and the public participated via conference call. The public was given the opportunity to view a live stream of the meeting at www.prcity.com/youtube, invited to call into the meeting at 805-865-PASO (7276), and to email public comment to cityclerk@prcity.com prior to the meeting.

The council took the following actions:

Received Update on COVID-19: Council received an update on the number of confirmed cases at the state, county, and local levels; updated info available online. SLO County has now been in the red, or “substantial” tier, for four weeks. The city’s COVID-19 response and communication efforts continue, and Recreation Services are now being offered in compliance with guidelines. Additional information about city services during the pandemic is available at www.prcity.com.

Received a Capital Projects Report: Dry Creek Road repairs are underway from Airport Rd. to Estrella Warbirds. Union Road improvements near Barney Schwartz Park are complete, including a new pedestrian crossing to provide safe access to the park. Downtown rehabilitation road repairs are underway at several locations, and using savings from the FY 2019-20 annual slurry seal project, five additional streets are undergoing repairs now.

Presented proclamations of recognition: Mayor Martin presented proclamations to the Friends of the Paso Robles Library in honor of National Friends of Libraries Week; to People’s Self-Help Housing in honor of their 50th anniversary; to RISE in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month; and to Jeff DePetro in honor of his retirement after 13 years with the Paso Robles Police Department.

Approved an agreement for Dry Creek Road improvements, Phase 2: Phase two will repair the portion of road from Estrella Warbirds to Jardine Road. The contract is with The Wallace Group, to prepare plans and specifications for the Phase 2 improvements, in an amount not-to-exceed $263,786.

Set a tax rate for cannabis delivery business: In 2018, city voters approved Measure I-18, which enacted Ordinance No. 1066 N.S. to establish a tax on cannabis-related activities. To implement that measure, council established the following local cannabis business tax rates (in addition to any state-imposed taxes) as follows: 1. Twenty dollars per square foot of space utilized in connection with the cultivation of cannabis; 2. Six cents for each one dollar of gross receipts for cannabis delivery businesses; 3. Fifteen cents for each one dollar of gross receipts for cannabis manufacturing, testing, and distribution businesses; and 4. Ten cents for each one dollar of gross receipts for cannabis retailers. Given that the city’s zoning code currently authorizes only medical cannabis delivery businesses in the Riverside Corridor (RC) and the C-3 district, subject to the granting of a conditional use permit, only the tax on delivery businesses would go into effect after second reading of this ordinance. All other commercial cannabis businesses, including storefront cannabis retail dispensaries, are currently prohibited in Paso. The other three tax rates may be adjusted if those business types are approved for operation in the city. Council directed staff to develop a process for community involvement in evaluating other forms of cannabis businesses in Paso Robles, to include an Ad Hoc Committee, of which Councilmembers Hamon and Garcia will be members.

Considered Homeless Emergency Aid Program (HEAP) Grant Reallocation: The city was awarded HEAP grant funds to build an emergency shelter on Sulfur Springs Road. Due to multi-million-dollar pedestrian access improvements required by Caltrans at the project site, and to the fiscal impacts of the pandemic, council voted to terminate plans for construction. The city’s HEAP grant award of $920,126 must be reallocated to a new project in Paso Robles or returned to the county. In recent months, Governor Newsom rolled out Project Homekey, which is intended to rapidly disburse funds to cities and counties to build facilities for Californians experiencing homelessness. Cities are not permitted to exercise zoning or land use control over these projects; the state has preempted that authority. The Governor has announced that Project Homekey intends to award $15 million to the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo (HASLO), in partnership with People’s Self-Help Housing (PSSH) and the El Camino Homelessness Organization (ECHO), to purchase and renovate Motel 6, located at 1134 Black Oak Drive, for the purpose of providing homeless services, emergency shelter, and low-income housing. While the council does not have the ability to approve or deny the project, the council can decide whether to redirect the city’s HEAP funds to the project. Council directed staff to work with the project applicants to implement stipulations and to proceed with the project’s public input process this week, and scheduled final consideration of the requested HEAP funds assignment for Oct. 29.

Received the First Quarter Fiscal Report: Staff updated council and the public on the city’s fiscal status after the first quarter of the fiscal year (July-September). There are some preliminary positive signs for the city’s sales tax and TOT (hotel) tax revenue. While we are still early in the fiscal year and uncertainty remains about what the winter months have in store for our community, this is positive news. No budget changes were made, given that we are so early in the fiscal year. The January/February midyear update will be the next fiscal review and will benefit from additional months of revenue and expenditure data.

The agenda can be found at https://www.prcity.com/agendacenter and the livestream from the meeting can be found at www.prcity.com/youtube. The minutes will be available as part of the packet for the city council’s next regular meeting.

There will be a special meeting of the city council on Thursday, Oct. 29 at 6:30 p.m., and the next regular city council meeting takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 6:30 p.m., both via livestream at www.prcity.com/youtube. Public comment can be made during the meeting by 805-865-PASO (7276) or provided prior to the meeting by emailing cityclerk@prcity.com.



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About the author: News Staff

News staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote and edited this story from local contributors and press releases. Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or follow his blog. He can be reached at scott@pasoroblesdailynews.com.