I went to the city council meeting last night because I had friends who were very concerned about new ordinances and other issues. One of the first issues that citizens addressed was the treatment vistors of Paso Robles received at the car show on Labor Day weekend. I’m not a great fan of the car show, but I know many people are. I tend to stay out of downtown during car shows, but I understand that those who participate are invited guests of our city, many of whom come from out of town. They spend money at our local businesses. Some of them weren’t too happy with the way the police treated them. I’ll let the concerned citizens who worked to bring the car show to town explain in their own words why they are unhappy.
Next on the agenda was a public hearing and vote on a fare increase for Dial-A-Ride. That wasn’t too controversial, since the city had to increase the fares or pay the state a whopping fine. Easy vote for all of the council members.
Next the council heard public testimony regarding the proposed amendment to Title 12 of the Municipal Code (Vehicles and Traffic) that would ban off-road vehicles from public land was discussed. Complaints had been received about noise and dust, especially from residents in one particular housing tract. Many were in sympathy with the riders and thought the city should provide some place in the city where they could enjoy their sport, but they thought it should be somewhere farther from where people lived. The amendment was passed after some discussion about how off road vehicles and public lands were defined and some consultation with the city attorney. The new ordinance will be adopted on October 2, 2012. You can read more about this in the Tribune.
Next the city amended the Municipal Code as it regards massage therapy and massage establishments. The proposed new ordinance was 25 pages long, and parts of it were egregious to those state-certified massage therapists who have practiced in Paso Robles for years and have always complied with the law. One person operates her business legally in her home, which is licensed, but one provision of the new ordinance says that it is illegal to have a bed in a massage establishment. How would you like that in a home business? The police representative said they would only inspect the part of the home used in the business, but this therapist was afraid some zealous officer might not consider this limitation. One concerned citizen felt the way to address the problem of massage establishments which were fronts for prostitution would be police enforcement rather than making legitimate licensed massage therapists jump through more legal hoops with increased fees.
I left after that discussion. I missed some of the other important items that came later, the most important of which, in my opinion, was the Habitat Conservation Plan. You can read the details of this plan on the North San Luis Obispo County Habitat Conservation Plan website. This plan when implemented will affect the property rights of owners in the north and east sides of the city. Here’s a quote from the site: The goals are to prepare an HCP to provide for conservation of endangered species, streamline the environmental review process for new development, and obtain a “take” permit in case there are impacts to protected species that result from development in the future. That take permit means part of your land can be taken from you for the government to use and charge you to maintain. If you are affected by it, you might want to make a beeline to the Defend Rural America site and sign up for a free workshop on how to defend your rural property rights. No matter how much you love salamanders, kit foxes, and other animals that may later be added to the list, you might not like having to give them a corner of your land you won’t be able to use for your own purposes, and you might not enjoy having to pay the fee to have someone come out to assess your land to see which endangered species might be present that you will need to protect and that anyone who later buys your property may also have to continue to protect.
What impressed me most last night is how many new ordinances seem to be proposed and passing, and I wonder how many of them are really necessary. It seems the trend is to regulate as much of our lives as possible at all levels of government. The Paso Robles City Council blames the state for requiring the city to impose many of these new regulations. If you want to know what’s in store for you next, keep and eye on the city website, agenda tab to see what will be discussed. Listen to the meetings on KPRL, AM 1230, to see how your city council members vote and how they approach problems. This will help you vote for them intelligently.