Late last night, the Paso Robles planning commission approved guidelines for owners of short term vacation rentals. The commission recommended the Paso Robles city council approve those staff guidelines.
Homeowners and those with short term rentals (STR) packed the library conference room Wednesday night. The public hearing on guidelines was delayed one day because only one of the planning commissioners did not recuse himself because of a conflict of interest. Leo Castillo was the only commissioner without a conflict. The commission was required to invoke the “rule of necessity” and draw straws to determine which commissioners (with a clear conflict) would still discuss and decide the guidelines for vacation rentals.
Owners of short term rentals talked about their investment and the rights of property owners. Residents who live and own homes in neighborhoods like Hilltop road talked about the impact short term rentals are having on the quality of their lives.
Faye Donovan described confrontations with the occupants of short term rentals. After hearing loud profanity emanating from the short term rental’s yard next door, Donovan asked them to clean up their language. One of the visitors advised her to “go inside and close your windows.”
Some residents quoted the city’s municipal code as prohibiting hotels and STR’s in areas zoned Residential 1 (R-1). Community development director Warren Frace says that R-1 rules are defined and determined by the city council, not by the municipal code.
Ultimately, the four commissioners voted unanimously to approve the city staff recommendations to limit occupancy to 10 occupants for houses with five bedrooms, allowing an additional four occupants during the day. They approved imposing a 200-foot separation between STR’s. And they limited STR’s to only one unit per lot in areas zoned R-1.
The planning commission recommends that the Paso Robles city council approve the changes. Some neighbors said the changes were improvements for neighborhoods, but still felt that short term vacation rentals adversely impact the character of Paso Robles neighborhoods.
Ultimately, the short term vacation rental issue and the impact on neighborhoods may be decided in court.