For the last several months, the San Diego City Utilities Undergrounding Advisory Committee has held monthly meetings to discuss ways to improve the process in both current and upcoming undergrounding projects. The Committee consists of the Chair, Joe LaCava, and Ralph Dimarucut from Council District
9; six utility representatives from AT&T, Cox, Time Warner, and SDG&E; and four community representatives. The meetings have been attended by various interested parties, including members of the UHCA Underground Utilities Subcommittee.
The City Council has decided not to require that 100% of equipment be placed underground, but instead to minimize the number of above-ground equipment boxes and improve their locations. Existing utility equipment boxes will not be relocated. Therefore, the Committee solicited information from SDG&E and the other utilities about the specific placement of the boxes. The Committee suggested placing the boxes so as to avoid the loss of parking spaces on the street and to place them near property boundaries to minimize disruption to property owners. It also urged that aesthetic considerations and community restrictions be accommodated regarding the box locations.
The City was urged to provide notification of undergrounding information in simple, non-technical wording, as it does with other utility projects like sewer and water line replacement.
Once the site survey is done for an area, and tentative locations of the aboveground equipment boxes are established at the initial community meeting, a community can opt out of undergrounding the utilities in its neighborhood, but doing so could disrupt undergrounding in adjacent areas, as projects are assigned to consecutive blocks.
For more information about the undergrounding process, go to www.sandiego.gov/undergrounding. Complete minutes of the San Diego City Utilities Undergrounding Advisory Committee meetings are published on their website at www.sandiego.gov/undergrounding/overview/advisorycommittee.shtml.