Paso council to review plan to reshape city

Paso Robles’ top leaders will soon review months of comments that ad hoc committees have been preparing on what they believe are the top projects in a plan to reshape the city.

The Uptown/Town Centre Specific Plan “will change our community that we all love, for decades to come,” said Planning Commissioner Gary Nemeth, who is also a former city councilman.

“It will change residential living, commercial and business use, transportation and circulation, parks, the downtown parking and the way the entire community comes together,” he added.

Many of the proposed projects are costly and will take years to pursue, according to the document.

In the document, the plan is broken down into how to redo the Spring Street corridor and six districts: uptown, midtown, downtown, south of downtown, Riverside Avenue and the Salinas River.

A draft of the plan — which is a $1.5 million, five-chapter document paid for by the city’s Redevelopment Fund — was made public last summer.

It was written by consultants and proposes new ideas on how Paso Robles should look and function while also describing specific projects, such as better connecting parts of the town and developments along the Salinas River.

Workshop to review plan

The City Council and Planning Commission’s joint workshop to review their Uptown/Town Centre Specific Plan findings is set for 3 p.m. May 26. Officials encourage the pubic to attend and give them feedback on what they’d like to see in the city’s future.

The debate on when to meet caused a stir at the council’s May 4 meeting.

Councilmembers said they wanted to be fair to residents who work daytime hours but also wanted to give the ad hoc committees enough time to hash out their questions and concerns in the information provided from the five-chapter document.

They preferred a Saturday to do this, but city staff said the consultant’s first available Saturday was not until June or July.

That upset several officials. Nemeth described the lack of a Saturday meeting time a missed opportunity and said they should make themselves available when the public is most available.

The council ultimately voted to add another hour to the meeting’s time frame and for a backup plan of available Saturdays that work with the consultant and city officials in case they are unable to finish the discussion on that date.

The work — slated to cost more than $550 million — is to be financed by assessment districts, private investment, direct city financing and other government funding sources, the document states, and needs community and investor support to work.

After the workshop, the next step in the planning process will be to complete an environmental study indicating what impacts the various projects could have on the town and seek public comment on it. Officials will then conduct public hearings on whether to approve the plan in August and September, according to city documents.