South Bay Digest

Manhattan Beach : Underground Utilities

February 20, 1986

The City Council voted Tuesday night to begin forming the city's first underground-utility district in a 24-block neighborhood in the southern part of the city.

The proposed assessment district, which is intended to serve as a demonstration project, is bounded by The Strand, 8th Street, Bayview Drive and 1st Street.

The council agreed to begin the legal process of forming an assessment district after reviewing a report from an ad hoc committee on placing utilities underground. About 63% of the property owners in the proposed district signed petitions favoring the district, the report said.

City officials estimate that undergrounding utilities in the proposed district will cost about $800,000, most of which will be paid by the property owners in the district.

"The development of this demonstration project was deemed necessary to gain experience and representative costs for such an undertaking as well as demonstrate the aesthetic value of undergrounding utilities to residents," said Public Works Director Morton F. August in a memo to the council.

In addition to directing the Public Works Department to begin formation of the district--which will require several public hearings--the council authorized various utility companies to conduct engineering studies of the area and directed City Manager David J. Thompson to hire a bond underwriter and bond counsel to come up with funding possibilities.

If the demonstration district is a success, a second district will be created at the north end of the city in an area bounded by The Strand, 27th Street, Crest Drive and Marine Avenue. About 63% of the property owners in that district also have signed petitions favoring the district.

City officials said it will be about two years before undergrounding in the first district is finished.

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