Signatures collected, Paso Robles paid parking referendum moves forward

April 2, 2024

Councilman Steve Gregory, Mayor John Hamon and Councilman Fred Strong


A citizens group on Tuesday turned in more than 2,400 signatures to put a referendum on the November ballot to repeal an ordinance permitting paid parking in downtown Paso Robles. The group needed to collect approximately 1,700 signatures from Paso Robles residents who are registered voters.

In February, 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.

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, saying it is needed to keep employees from taking up prime parking spaces.

The citizens group, For a Better Paso Robles, accused Hamon, Gregory and Roden of not listening to voters or considering the loss of sales tax revenue. They spent several weeks collecting signatures.

During Tuesday’s Paso Robles City Council meeting, Park Cinema owner John Roush informed the council that the majority of downtown business owners reported significant gains in revenue without paid parking. Several speakers noted that the vast majority of voters asked to sign the referendum were opposed to paid parking.

The city now has 30 days to confirm the signatures gathered are valid. Next, the City Council is required to reconsider the ordinance. While the process moves forward, paid parking remains suspended.

If the council does not repeal the challenged ordinance, the voters will have an opportunity to vote on the paid parking program during the November 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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the city council needs to back down and admit they screwed up just let the parking issue go and have the 2 permit lots be for employees

I wish the City Council in San Luis Obispo would learn from this and rescind the ridiculous $4 per hour parking downtown.

This is partially an economic issue. If free parking brings in additional sales tax revenue when compared to parking fees then the question should be solved. The theater owner stated business had increased with free parking. It appears that the city council should be on the side of small business owners rather than generate more revenue for the city. Paid parking appears to be a bad idea.

Additionally, if you remove paid parking the city saves $ on administration and enforcement costs. Pretty much a no brainer. BTW, are folks currently being charged to park there? I live in Paso but can’t keep up with the back and forth so I just avoid downtown.