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Oct. 9 deadline for Paso Robles vacation rental owners to get 'grandfathered in'

A screenshot of Paso Robles vacation rentals available in October on the website VRBO.

The landscape of vacation rentals in Paso Robles is changing as the city establishes new rules, after a few years of vocal complaints from some homeowners who find themselves surrounded by short-term rentals (STR).

This week a new local law went into effect that requires permits for all short-term rentals. The city is now accepting short-term rental permit applications, but only from vacation rental owners who already have a valid short-term rental business license.

“Under the new ordinance, all the holders of business licenses for short term rentals— which is about 380—can all apply to convert those into short term rental permits, as long as they apply in the first 30 days,” said Warren Frace, Paso Robles’ community development director. He said the deadline is October 9, 2019.

“Basically all the existing ones are all grandfathered in,” said Frace.

After that, Frace said, the process shuts down for 60 days, while the city counts how many permits it ends up issuing.

Recently the Paso Robles city council set new caps on the number of vacation rentals that could operate in different zoning districts of the city. In single-family, residential neighborhoods, that number is 75. In all other zones, it’s 250. City staff say if they issue all STRs allowed under the new ordinance, they will start a waiting list.

“The city council, basically, was concerned about too many being in town, but they were comfortable with the current number being allowed to operate for the next three years,” Frace said. Starting in 2022, the city council will revisit the ordinance and “assess how that is going in terms of neighborhood impacts over the next couple of years, and then we’ll determine if that number is appropriate or if it needs to be adjusted up or down.”

City staff are urging vacation rental owners who currently have a business license to work with the planning department to get their applications submitted before the October deadline.

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