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Meeting set to inform about undergrounding

RANCHO SANTA FE — The Association’s board of directors is encouraging everyone to come out for a public meeting to learn about the process of undergrounding overhead utility lines and also the possibility of adding more natural gas lines within the Covenant.
The meeting is set for 5:30 p.m. May 6, at the Rancho Santa Fe Garden Club.
Ivan Holler, planner for the Association, said at a meeting earlier this month that the Local Agency Formation Commission gave the Association the go-ahead to enact its latent powers, giving its community service district the power to help neighborhoods begin planning their projects.
“It’s going to be interesting and complicated, but it’s there for us,” said Bill Beckman, board president. “Now we can wade through it.”
Holler said the projects will take several years and will play out in phases, with neighborhoods stepping forward, forming assessment districts for themselves.
There will be a process, which will start when property owners submit a petition to establish an assessment district to the community services district, which eventually helps them design the project. They pay only for as much as they benefit and can have it either added to their property tax bill or they can pay it all up front.
“This is a tried and true (method) which worked in Del Mar and other places,” Beckman said.
The project has been in progress for several years, Holler said at the Association’s April 15 meeting.
In an earlier interview, he said not only is it good to remove the visual clutter, but there are safety reasons, citing the cause of the 2007 Witch Creek fire which is suspected of being sparked by power lines during high winds.
In other Association news, ground is about to be broken for the tree planting at Village Park.
Beckman suggested that some kind of a ceremony be planned to commemorate the day.
“This has been a 2-and-a-half-year project and I am so glad to see it coming into fruition,” he said.