All work and no bike riding makes Steve a dull mayor. More on that later.
At last night’s City Council meeting your representatives heard a lengthy report from the Planning Commissioner about perceived constraints on housing development. Anyone who has lived in Paso Robles more than a decade has heard this debate before. Housing development always pumps short-term gains into the local economic engine. Over the last 10 years Councils have attempted to turn those short-term benefits into long-term advantages for all Paso Robles citizens by requiring that new development pay its fair share of the cost of water, sewer, roads and other infrastructure needs. While acknowledging the need for this, the Planning Commission believes existing fee structures and planning requirements may be “constraining” the development community and delaying the construction of nearly 5,000 new homes.
The City Council has agreed to study the situation by establishing an ad hoc committee. This group will review the city’s infrastructure needs, engineering cost estimates, planning procedures and permit processing in an effort to find a way to make residential development faster, easier and less expensive. This process likely will take a year and may result in the need for further studies. It will be interesting to see how this process progresses. I think it would beneficial for everyone in our city to stayed tuned in on this issue as the results could be dramatic.
Many thanks to the Planning Commission, City Council and City staff for tackling this subject. It is a complicated one. These issues, however, are critical to maintaining Paso Robles’ quality of life and economic development for decades to come. They deserve our close attention and best efforts.
In other actions last night, the Council affirmed the goals set in its recent goal-setting session. They include (in order of priority):
- Maintain fiscal stability by living within our means, maximize revenues, and aggressively capturing lost revenues, minimizing expenditures where possible.
- Expand efforts to invest in city infrastructure through the strategic use of reserves, with an emphasis on streets, parks, landscaping and facilities.
- Continue with implementation of Urban Water Management Plan, including aggressively procuring and protecting water supplies.
- Encourage the orderly development of new homes and workforce housing.
- Move forward with implementation of Airport Business Plan, including stakeholders in the process.
Other Important Goals (in priority order):
- Make every effort to grow existing economic elements, retain existing endangered businesses and provide opportunities for new employment and economic growth.
- Support local management of groundwater resources.
Address if Resources are Available
- Establish a volunteer coordinator and continue to promote and encourage volunteerism.
The Council also voted to:
- Spend more than $142,000 to fix stucco failure at the Centennial Park Gymnasium
- Establish a new residential category for small residential units and assisted living facilities
Congratulations to Dee Lacey and Frank Mecham, co-chairs for the 125th Anniversary Celebration effort last year. Dee was on hand last night to receive the appreciation of the community for her efforts. She and Frank spearheaded the program, funding the entire $100,000+ project with donations and fundraising efforts. Thanks Dee and Frank for all you do for Paso Robles.
And now, I will descend from my soapbox and climb on my bicycle.
On Sunday, May 17, the entire North County will celebrate Cycle de Mayo in the Templeton Park. Cycle de Mayo is a cycling event developed by my friend, Mayor Tom O’Malley of Atascadero. It’s been growing in popularity in his community and, this year, we’ve decided to take it “big time” to focus on bike routes through the North County. Cycling accessibility has always been challenged by a “missing link” of bike routes to and through Templeton. This year’s Cycle de Mayo event will focus on that issue. There will be adult bike rides from Paso Robles and Atascadero to Templeton in the morning. In the afternoon there will bike events, music and barbecue in the Templeton Park. You will find all the event details at www.CycleDeMayo.com. So, pull that bike out of the shed, strap on your safety helmet and join us.
Until next we blog, here’s to you Paso Robles!