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Paso Robles City Council meeting highlights for Jan. 19 

City Council meeting highlights

–Highlights from the regular Paso Robles City Council meeting held on Tuesday, Jan. 19, as sent by the City of Paso Robles, are as follows.

The council took the following actions:

Received an update on the COVID-19 situation and city response – The SLO County Public Health Department continues to administer vaccines and has now transitioned to the first tier of phase 1B, which opened vaccination appointments to those 75 years and older. The county health department anticipates updating their website on Thursdays for the following week’s available vaccine allocation. The public can subscribe to receive the latest updates by going to www.emergencyslo.org/vaccines. The city continues to provide information about resources for residents and businesses at www.prcity.com, and recently launched a new “Keep It Local” gift card program that offers residents and visitors a way to save money while supporting local businesses. More information is available at www.prcity.com/keepitlocal.

Received a capital projects update – The street lighting has now been installed on Spring Street from 24th St. to 36th St. Jardine Road has been fully repaved. The first phase of Dry Creek Road is complete and the second phase, from the Warbirds Museum to Jardine Road, is in final design.

Approved a lease renewal for the library study center – The study center, located at 3600 Oak Street, is owned by the County Office of Education. The lease renewal continues the city’s lease of the property from the county at a rate of $1.00 per year through 2025, with further lease extensions should the city wish to continue to provide educational programming at the site.

Approved revised regulations for airport hangars – These revisions bring the city into compliance with the June 15, 2016 FAA Policy Statement on the Non-Aeronautical Use of Airport Hangars. Staff will work with those not in compliance to make the needed changes. Full compliance is expected by June 2021.

Approved staff’s ability to accept easements on behalf of the city council – Staff currently presents all easements to council for acceptance. Some can be as minor as a temporary construction easement. Council delegated that authority to staff, in cases where easements would not create a significant maintenance or fiscal burden to the city. This will speed easement acceptance and therefore project construction and completion. It will also reduce staff time spent on minor easements, which will enable that time to be spent on higher priorities.

Approved a bid award for the fire prevention & safety trailer – Paso Robles will serve as the host agency for this trailer, with other departments in San Luis Obispo County participating in a county-wide fire prevention education program utilizing the trailer as the center of the campaign. The JHB Group Inc. will produce the educational trailer, is experienced at doing so, and met all the requirements of the bid specification. The cost of the trailer is $107,143, which will be fully covered by grant funds and reimbursement from the San Luis Obispo County Fire Safe Council.

Approved a memorandum of understanding between the city and the El Camino Homeless Organization, the Housing Authority of San Luis Obispo, and People’s Self-Help Housing to own, operate, and maintain an emergency shelter and low-cost housing center – The MOU enables the city to reallocate its entire $1.5 million HEAP grant award to HASLO as the property owner at 1134 Black Oak Drive, and supports the efforts of ECHO, PSSH, and HASLO in owning, operating, and maintaining a homeless services and low-cost housing center at the site.

Directed staff to submit comments on and become a party to the California Public Utility Commission’s (CPUC) proceedings as it reviews the draft Environmental Impact Report for the Estrella Substation and Paso Robles Area Reinforcement Project – PG&E and Horizon West Transmission are proposing a new electrical substation and 70kv circuit in the Paso Robles area. The CPUC is the lead agency on the project, and is accepting comments on the draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for the project, which was released for public review and comment on December 8, 2020. The city does not have any direct decision-making authority over the project but may comment on the project through the EIR process. Council directed staff to submit comments indicating support for an alternative that does not create unmitigated visual impacts by going through the middle of town. Council also directed staff to become a party to the decision, which will require incurring legal costs upwards of $25,000 and to work with the businesses and residents who are also seeking to become involved, in order to increase the chances of a favorable decision from the CPUC. See related story: Paso Robles City Council opposes new power lines over Highway 46.

Public comments may be submitted to the CPUP, directly, as follows, by Feb. 1: send written comments to the attention of Robert Peterson, c/o Tom Engels at Horizon Water and Environment, 266 Grand Avenue, Suite 210, Oakland, CA 94610, or via e-mail to estrellaproject@horizonh2o.com.

Received a midyear budget update and approved midyear adjustments – The midyear budget report indicates that the city’s fiscal position is more favorable than at the beginning of the fiscal year due to fiscal prudence and lower-than budget expenditures, as well as less severe revenue reductions than anticipated. However, given the remaining uncertainty with the pandemic and its duration, and the continued need to use some general fund reserves this fiscal year, there are no major budget changes recommended at this time. Council formalized net budget adjustments of $530,00 for economic recovery efforts approved on Dec. 15, vaccination costs, and a dispatch supervisor position. Council also waived penalties and interest for late Transient Occupancy Tax revenues received for transient lodging services from December 2020 through March 2021 until June 30, 2021, at the latest.

Approved an agreement with SWCA Environmental Consultants to update the U.S. Highway 101 and State Route 46 West environmental documents – The city’s circulation element has identified the need to provide improvements at the U.S 101 and State Route 46 West interchange and provide relief of congestion pressure along this corridor. Once this work is completed, the final design of the interchange improvements can be initiated, so that the project “shovel ready” for any future grants that could be made available for construction. SLOCOG will reimburse the $166,199 cost.

Approved a professional land use planning and regulatory liaison services for the Boys’ School – The State of California owns the 137-acre Estrella Youth Correctional Facility located at 4545 Airport Road, which has been closed since 2008. The state has issued a Request for Written Offers (RWO) from parties interested in purchasing the property. Offers are due by Feb. 16. Staff has been in contact with the state and potential bidders and believes it is advantageous to expedite the city’s entitlement and CEQA review process. To expedite the processing of a project entitlement and EIR for a project of this magnitude it will be necessary to hire a contract planning firm to oversee the year-long entitlement process. Council approved an agreement with Oasis Associates for $45,000 to manage the land use entitlements, CEQA environmental document, subconsultant coordination, agency (Caltrans / CDFW / San Luis Obispo County Airport Commission) coordination, tribal consultations, and public outreach process. The applicants for Boys School Reuse Project will be responsible for reimbursing the city for all contract planning services costs.

The next regular Paso Robles City Council meeting takes place on Tuesday, Feb. 2 at 6:30 p.m., via livestream at www.prcity.com/youtube. There will also be a special council meeting on Jan. 29 at 10 a.m. for several matters related to the ongoing city manager recruitment process. Public comment can be made during these meetings by calling 805-865-PASO (7276) or provided prior to the meeting by emailing cityclerk@prcity.com.

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About the author: News Staff

The news staff of the Paso Robles Daily News wrote or edited this story from local contributors and press releases. The news staff can be reached at info@pasoroblesdailynews.com.