Moment of silence held during meeting for Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin

ATASCADERO—The Atascadero City Council met for their regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. The hybrid meeting was held in the City Council Chambers.

Both the agenda for the evening and the Consent Calendar passed unanimously.

Deputy City Manager Lara Christensen presented Updates from the City Manager. City Manager Jim Lewis was out of town with the director of the Charles Paddock Zoo, Alan Baker, at the Annual Association of Zoos and Aquariums Conference. 


“I just want to remind everyone of the Celebration of Life Tribute to Paso Robles Mayor Steve Martin,” Christensen said. “Now through Sept. 26, the city is honoring Mayor Martin with a tribute in the reception area at City Hall, and the public is invited and encouraged to come in and sign the memory book or leave a card. This tribute provides the opportunity for residents, friends, work associates, and anyone who had the pleasure of working with Mayor Martin during his time here in Atascadero to send regards to the family. The memory book and items collected will be brought to the Martin family on Sept. 26.” 

Mayor Heather Moreno thanked city staff for putting together the tribute for Martin and then asked that everyone in the city chambers take a moment of silence to remember the mayor.

Community Development Director Phil Dunsmore then addressed the council with a Public Hearing on the Affordable Housing Development Impact Fee Deferral Policy. The item was originally brought before the council back on April 25, and council directed staff to draft a policy and municipal code amendments.

“What we’re talking about here is a deferment of development impact fees for qualifying affordable housing projects. Tonight, we’re going to be recommending a policy for those fee deferrals for the qualifying projects and then that minor amendment to our municipal code in Title 3 to at least accommodate that program,” stated Dunsmore. “So what is this program? It’s a long-term, low interest, loan basically. Really, what it does is it completely defers the payment of development impact fees, including wastewater capacity charges, for these affordable housing projects.”

The deferments would apply to residential housing projects with at least five units that are affordable. The five units will need to meet the low, very low, and extremely low categories for a total of 55 years through a deed restriction.  

“How does this actually work? What are the mechanics? It’s a 17-year low-interest loan paid in full at the conclusion of the term. Why 17 years? This is the minimum amount that some of the affordable housing developers have said will work out for them,” added Dunsmore.

The deferment program would defer up to $3 million in impact fees and wastewater capacity charges for a duration of 17 years.

Mayor Pro Tem Susan Funk asked that the language be changed from Affordable Dwelling Units to Affordable Housing Units so as not to confuse anyone using acronyms. The acronym ADU is more more widely known to stand for Accessory Dwelling Units, also known as secondary units or “granny flats.” 

After discussion, the council decided to move forward with some language changes that will be presented in the consent agenda at the Sept. 26 council meeting for final approval. The council agreed that the deferment would be rental property only unless exceptions are made. 

“I will move that we introduce an ordinance to amend the municipal code Title 3-14.070 to include the deferral of impact fees for affordable housing projects as an option for payment for impact fees and then ask staff to come back at our next meeting on Consent Agenda adding the items of council approval. Some wording for eligible only on residential zone property unless city council makes an exception. The due on sale provision if that does not dissuade or does not discount the benefit that those builders get. And making sure we are talking about affordable housing units,” said Moreno.

The motion passed unanimously.

The next Atascadero City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m.