Group plans to battle Paso Robles paid parking by referendum

March 2, 2024


A citizens group wants the public to decide whether or not Paso Robles can charge for parking in the downtown area.

Last month, the Paso Robles City Council voted 3-2 to pass an ordinance allowing a paid parking program downtown. Even though the ordinance will allow the city to charge from $1 to $5 an hour, the council plans to initially charge $1 an hour, with no free parking, beginning on April 5.

In 2019, the city enacted a paid parking program that was not in compliance with the California Vehicle Code. As a result, the city stopped the program last month and plans to refund parking tickets issued in the past 12 months.

Dozens of public speakers and councilmen Chris Bausch and Fred Strong argued against passing a new parking ordinance, primarily over concerns the program drives away customers.

Mayor John Hamon and council members Steve Gregory and Sharon Roden voted in favor of paid parking, arguing it is needed to keep employees from taking up prime parking spaces.

For a Better Paso Robles, a citizens group opposed to paid parking, is planning to use the referendum process to nullify the ordinance. The group argues the council is not listening to voters or considering the loss of sales tax revenue.

The City Council is scheduled to make the required second reading of the ordinance on March 5. Ordinances in California generally take effect 30 days after final passage.

During the 30-day period, the group plans to gather the required approximately 1,800 signatures for a referendum. If the group gathers the required number of signatures, the City Council then reconsiders the ordinance.

If the council does not repeal the challenged ordinance, the voters will have an opportunity to vote on the paid parking program during a future election. Following a successful referendum petition, the paid parking ordinance ordinance goes into effect only if it is approved by the voters.

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I hope you are successful with this and that people in San Luis Obispo will follow your example.

Personally, I don’t see how charging for parking on a public street, paid for and maintained with taxpayer dollars, could be considered legal. It’s a form of double taxation; and unless directly approved by a majority vote of the people who park there, it could be construed as taxation without representation.

Go for it!

good point!

If the true reason for paid parking is to discourage employees from taking prime spaces why not have time limited spaces in the downtown area?

Most know the true reason for paid parking, to put more money in the general fund to continue and increase outrageous employee compensation.

I respectfully disagree. Does the parking fee even make money for the city?

Paso parking wars; “I like it, I love it, I want some more of it”.

Recall the council members who voted and continue to vote for parking fees. Even if you’re successful with the referendum, those who don’t respect the wishes of the voters will just find another way to inflict their will on the voters.

How about we stop recalling and just vote every 2 and 4 years. There is plenty of work to get done. Be part of the solution.

Th reason for the paid parking program in my opinion is that the general fund loaned the parking program money and is owed $600,000. So the three members of the city council decided to extend this money losing proposition despite all of the opposition from the people most directly affected and cause them to lose business. The city will then lose sales revenue so the net gain might be nothing or even a net loss. The excuses given by members like Sharon Roden do not make sense.Since the paid parking was stopped business is way up. Let’s keep it that way.