Paso Robles to change parking rates, forgo another council vote

January 16, 2024

Paso Robles Mayor John Hamon


While state law appears to require that the Paso Robles City Council change paid parking rates by ordinance only, the council has repeatedly set parking rates through other avenues.

During a discussion on parking rates in downtown Paso Robles, the city council voted 3-2 in November to continue the controversial downtown paid parking program while canceling the first two hours of free parking and lowering the hourly rate. On its Nov. 21 agenda, the council slated to hold a discussion on parking rates and then provide staff with alternate direction.

Councils are generally barred from taking action during a “discussion” item on an agenda. Councilmen Fred Strong and Chris Bausch have both voiced concerns regarding the city adopting new rates following the Nov. 21 vote on a “discussion” item.

On the other side, Mayor John Hamon said the city has the ability to make minor changes to parking rates without a vote to change the ordinance and that the council majority agreed on the changes. The city has since ordered signs, and plans to implement the new rates without bringing the issue back for a second vote of the council.

On Nov. 6, 2018, the city council adopted Ordinance 12.42.020, which states that “parking zones shall be established by the city council by ordinance or resolution, which may include the establishment of time limits and/or parking rates for such zones.” Since then, the city council has set parking rates through either resolutions or discussion items.

However, the California Vehicle Code states that municipalities can only change parking fees through an ordinance, according to California Vehicle Code 22508(a).  The code also allows the public to use “local referendum processes” to object to adopted parking meter zones or fixed rates.

“A local authority shall not establish parking meter zones or fix the rate of fees for those zones except by ordinance,” according to the vehicle code. “The rate of fees may be variable, based upon criteria identified by the local authority in the ordinance. An ordinance establishing a parking meter zone shall describe the area that would be included within the zone.”


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Its all just a never ending search for more money to pay for municipal liabilities, pensions, etc. Same thing in cities everywhere.

I have lived in North SLO County since 1976 and have watched Paso grow from a little cow town with a Gem store and Vic’s Cafe to a beautiful little downtown that I was proud of 15 years ago. Now I avoid it like the plague. I refuse to use paid parking and their horrible kiosk system. We have lost Vic’s which was a Paso institution because none of the locals can stomach what Paso has become; a hoity toity tourist town and parking nightmare. This is NOT the fault of the small business owners but they will suffer the consequences of an inept city government who treats locals like s**t. Unfortunately I live just outside city limits and cannot vote these morons out. Those of you who can should start a recall!

Thank you Cal Coast news for keeping tabs on these elected officials. Really, what’s next? Accepting bribes from Megan’s Organic Market and Helios Dayspring?

Cool Hand Luke. Where are you when Paso needs you?

Dear god–Fred Strong is STILL on the Paso city council??? He’s been on there since 2004. Who does he think he is, Bruce Gibson?

Mr. Hamon’s ego has grown too big.

He cares more for tourists than locals.

He basically said F-you to the majority of downtown merchants who begged for the paid parking to be ditched. Now he wants to plow ahead without further input from the lowly commoners.

Mr. Hamon, I hope you don’t get re-elected and I regret having ever voted for you.

Mr. Hamon apparently does not consider overhead..

(see what i did there!)

Paso Robles City Council + Mayor equals YUCK. When’s their election coming up?

“Laws? We don’t need no stinkin’ laws. We make our own, and f**k you for asking.” Mayor John Hamon.

According to this article anyone who got a fine or paid for parking should ask for their money back.

I encourage you to do that, but they will not refund a dime until this has gone through the legal system and a judgment is ordered demanding they do that.

Please email Council and ask for your money. Hold on to that email response for the day they start paying back!