A group of residents in Hermosa Beach who has worked for more than six years to bury utility wires is one step closer to establishing a undergrounding district for 99 parcels in the northwest portion of the city.

Public Works Director Marnell Gibson said at Tuesday's Hermosa Beach City Council meeting the city has received a commitment from a group called the Greenwich Village Underground Association to bury utilities in the area that spans from 27th Street to north of 34th Street along Hermosa Avenue.

According to a preliminary engineer's report for the Greenwich Village North Underground Utilities Assessment District, the costs of the undergrounding are estimated to be just over $4 million, mostly due to construction costs related to power, telephone and cable facilities with Southern California Edison, Frontier Communications and Crown Castle.

“The proposed underground utility improvements will provide conversion to an upgraded utility system and will enhance neighborhood aesthetics, safety and reliability,” the report reads.

The City Council voted in favor on Tuesday to approve the engineer's report and take the next actions to form the district: balloting and a public hearing on Oct. 13 for residents from the undergrounding district.

Ballots, which are weighted based on property size, will be sent to residents and must be dropped off or received before the Oct. 13 hearing. When ballots are tabulated at the meeting, if undergrounding receives more than 50% of the vote, council can approve formation of the district.

Jim Anderson, who represents the Greenwich Village Underground Association, said at Tuesday's meeting the group has continued to maintain 60% support from property owners.

If approved by the residents, they will be given the opportunity to pay the assessment as a lump sum by Nov. 13, 2020, or annually plus interest over an approximately 20 year period, according to a letter from the city.

The typical cost for most households ranges from $30,000 to $50,000, according to data in the Preliminary Engineer's Report.

“If the City Council determines to establish the District, all property owners within the District would be responsible for the assessment amount regardless of a property owner’s individual vote,” according to a city staff report.

Contact this reporter at mhixon@tbrnews.com or on Twitter @michaeljhixon.com.

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