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Underground Utility Assessment Districts Approved

Post Date:10/02/2019 5:51 PM

Press Release: Underground Utility Assessment Districts 12 & 14 Approved by Majority Vote of Weighted Returns (PDF)


Stephanie Katsouleas, Public Works Director
City of Manhattan Beach
(310) 802-5303

Underground Utility Assessment Districts 12 & 14 Approved by Majority Vote of Weighted Returns                                         

Manhattan Beach, CA (October 2, 2019) – At the October 1, 2019, City Council meeting, a public hearing was held and ballots were tabulated regarding underground utility assessment districts 12 and 14.  In accordance with the Proposition 218 process, weighted ballot results from property owners within both districts (within the El Porto area) voted in favor of district formation.

The detailed results are as follows:

District 12*


# of Votes

Weighted Return


In Favor of District Formation (Yes)




Opposed to District Formation (No)









District 14***


# of Votes

Weighted Return


In Favor of District Formation (Yes)




Opposed to District Formation (No)









Following the vote, the Manhattan Beach City Council adopted resolutions forming the assessment districts, authorizing the assessments, and approving the Final Engineer’s Report. While the City takes no official position on undergrounding, the City has facilitated the voting process in accordance with Proposition 218.

Now that the voting process has concluded and assessments will be levied upon each parcel, residents may choose to pay all or a portion of their assessments during the 30-day cash collection period, which ends on November 5, 2019. Construction is estimated to begin in February 2020 and pole/wires should be removed by mid-2022.  For more information regarding utility undergrounding in the City of Manhattan Beach, residents may visit the City’s website under Public Works, Engineering. 


Utility undergrounding is the process of placing all overhead utilities (power, telephone, and cable TV wires) and facilities, such as electrical transformers, underground.  While the City does not currently own, operate or maintain any overhead electrical or communications utilities, state law allows residents to create districts to place assessments on parcels that are provided a special benefit. To create a Utility Undergrounding Assessment District (UUAD), Proposition 218 requires that at least (50%+1) of the weighed ballots returned support the proposed assessments in order for the district to be formed. 

In 2005, property owners within Districts 12 and 14 submitted signed petitions showing sufficient support among affected property owners within the Districts in order to initiate the process for underground utilities. Initial funding for SCE engineering and design was then approved by City Council on November 21, 2006, for these two districts, with additional funding subsequently allocated for Frontier and Charter on April 1, 2008.

Separately, City Council approved the creation of a financial assistance (loan) program to help those households with limited income cover the cost of utility undergrounding upon formation of a UUAD. The tiered financial assistance program helps homeowners over age 62 with an annual household income of less than $100,000 defer all or part of the cost of undergrounding utilities until the sale or transfer of their homes.

In 2010, all underground utility district work was suspended by City Council due to the economic recession, and a moratorium was placed on the entire UUAD program.  That moratorium was lifted by City Council in 2017, which allowed Districts 12 and 14 to continue through the UUAD formation process.  

Final utility design plans were completed in February 2019, and put out to bid in April/May 2019. The design plans were also presented to property owners in Districts 12 and 14 for review, and made available for public review and comment through June 21, 2019.  Final construction and cabling costs to convert overhead utilities to underground facilities for District 12 and 14 were provided to the City by the utility companies.  Those costs, as well as all other incidental and bond costs incurred and projected to facilitate the conversion work, were then incorporated into the Preliminary Engineer’s Reports. The Preliminary Engineer’s Reports also described the allocation formula used to apportion the total project costs to each parcel in Districts 12 and 14. The fully-burdened assessment range for property owners in District 12 is $19,754.22 to $43,582.38, with an average parcel assessment of $29,539.47. The fully-burdened assessment range for property owners in District 14 is $23,421.85 to $56,184.87, with an average parcel assessment of $27,909.84.



* District 12 is located in Upper El Porto with boundaries ranging from 41st Street to 45th Street and The Strand to Highland Avenue.

** While 228 parcels are located in the district, 167 parcels voted, representing 73.2% of parcels returning ballots.

*** District 14 is located in Lower El Porto with boundaries ranging from Rosecrans Avenue to 41st Street and The Strand to Highland Avenue.

****While 244 parcels are located in the district, 174 parcels voted, representing 71.3% of parcels returning ballots.

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