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Rancho Del Oro streetlights in need of repairs

OCEANSIDE — Residents in the Rancho Del Oro neighborhood may soon be in the dark. Currently 160 of the neighborhood’s 640 deteriorative metal streetlights have fallen over or have been taken down because of corrosion. 

The neighborhood homeowners association opted for the metal streetlights instead of the standard cement city streetlights. The HOA also agreed to maintain the lights through its homeowner fees. Maintenance has not been done.

Oceanside resident John Hacker said the metal streetlights need to be installed on cement platforms and repainted every five years. He added that only some of the lights were installed properly and none have been repainted.

“They failed us and the homeowners group by not maintaining the lights,” Hacker said.

The city is trying to resolve the issue. The city offered to pay half of the replacement costs, but the HOA refused the offer.

“The HOA is insistent they bear no responsibility,” City Manager Peter Weiss said.

The matter was taken to court and it was determined the HOA is responsible for the lights.

The next step the city is taking is to have an engineer report done in order to create a lighting overlay district and assess residents for lighting.

Council OK’d proceeding with an engineering report May 1. The process to complete and approve the report, and create an overlay district will take months. The final step will be a property owner mail-in-vote to approve the lighting district assessment.

Each light costs about $3,500 to replace. The city is proposing replacing downed lights with decorative cement streetlights.

Councilman Gary Felien, who lives in Rancho Del Oro, said residents should carefully consider if they want the HOA to take care of replacing and maintaining the lights or the city.

“The city made a very generous offer to avoid a court case,” Felien said. “It was irresponsible for the HOA to move forward with the case. Residents must decide if they trust the city to replace streetlights.”