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Paso Robles looks to extend short-term vacation rental ordinance

 Paso Robles city council directed staff yo develop a new extension for the operation of short-term vacation rentals in the city
Angel Russell
Paso Robles city council directed staff to develop a new extension for the operation of short-term vacation rentals in the city

Paso Robles has over 300 short-term vacation rentals, but with the short-term rental ordinance set to expire in August 2022, the city council discussed last night whether they should keep short-term rentals or ban them.

A search on Airbnb will show vacation rentals in Paso Robles ranging from rooms under $100 a night to entire houses renting at more than $800 a night.

Based on the current ordinance, the city has reached its cap of 325 vacation rentals — but Warren Frace, Community Development Director for Paso Robles, said more hosts are hoping to get licensed.

“So now that we are over 325, we are just adding people to a waiting list and as permits become available," Frace said. "It’s basically a first-come, first-served.”

Frace said in the past year, vacation rental night stays in Paso Robles increased by 76 percent, with the city collecting about $11 million in transient occupancy taxes per year.

But, while some think vacation rentals are great for the local economy, others argue they are a nuisance to residents and neighborhoods.

Frace said the city receives on average three complaints a week about vacation rentals.

“Every once in a while you’ll get too many people in a noisy party that is clearly not allowed," Frace said. "But we’ve had pretty good responses from the owners and operators to prevent that from continuing to occur.”

While past city council meetings regarding short-term vacation rentals have led to dozens of people speaking out, both for and against, last night only two people called in. Both were in support of extending the ordinance.

Beth Burk with Paso Robles Vacation Rental company said her staff performs compliance checks to make sure guests are following the rules.

“The vast majority of guests are very respectful of neighborhood needs," Burk said. "We have had very few encounters where guests have needed to quiet down and be more considerate. Much more frequently, we come upon a quiet home.”

The city council voted 3-0 to direct staff to develop a new extension for the operation of short-term vacation rentals in the city.

Once complete, the extension ordinance will be presented to the city council at a later date for public discussion on whether or not that extension should be approved.

Angel Russell is a former KCBX News reporter who started her career in journalism as a reporter and producer for KREX on Colorado's Western Slope; she later moved to the Central Coast to work for KSBY as weekend anchor and weekday reporter. She holds a BA in journalism from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, and playing guitar and piano.
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