Manhattan Beach, Calif., resumes underground utility line project after two-year hiatus

(UI) — In a significant development, the underground utility line project in Manhattan Beach is set to continue, following its suspension in 2021, the Daily Breeze reported.

The city has stepped in to support the endeavor, which will involve burying power, cable, internet, and phone lines for homes and buildings in two northern Manhattan Beach neighborhoods.

The City Council has granted approval for the installation of these underground utilities, specifically in utility Districts 12 and 14, situated within the El Porto area of the city. A construction company will now pick up where the project was previously halted two years ago.

While the groundwork for this initiative was laid four years ago, a southern neighborhood, District 4, managed to expedite the burying of their utility lines earlier. Manhattan Beach resumed permitting underground utilities in 2019, following the end of a moratorium on such work in 2017. Districts 12 and 14 were subsequently established, requiring residents and property owners within these areas to demonstrate their desire for underground utilities.

According to the Daily Breeze, the construction to prepare the public-right-of-way for the El Porto project was completed in 2021, and property owners were given until September 2022 to convert their utility hookups, but some missed the deadline. Four property owners, representing five buildings, claimed hardship and requested the city to fund the project upfront, with the opportunity to repay the city over time.

Manhattan Beach will allocate $131,625 to Asplundh Construction for the project, which includes approximately $82,000 for the private conversions that property owners will be responsible for repaying. The City Council's unanimous vote also instructed the city attorney to draft a municipal code amendment to facilitate such a repayment plan. Staff will return to the council within a month for final approval of the rule change.

The exact duration for which property owners will be required to cover the costs after project completion remains uncertain. Staff anticipates that all cables and related equipment for Districts 12 and 14 will be installed in the coming fall, with the subsequent removal of now-obsolete power line poles in the upcoming winter.

This story was originally published by the Daily Breeze.

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