Palm Desert looks at undergrounding district, strategic plan

February 26th, 2014 | by Blake Herzog | Comments

The Palm Desert City Council is set to vote on creating an assesment district so an area of South Palm Desert can begin the process of putting its utility lines underground, a major milestone in a process that’s already taken years to get this far.

The council will meet 4 p.m. Thursday at City Hall, 73-510 Fred Waring Drive.

Wires branch out from a power pole on the corner of Lesley Miller’s Palm Desert home. Burying the cables can be a hugely complicated and costly process, requiring cooperation from multiple agencies and taking multiple years.  Richard Lui/The Desert Sun

Wires branch out from a power pole on the corner of Lesley Miller’s Palm Desert home. Burying the cables can be a hugely complicated and costly process, requiring cooperation from multiple agencies and taking multiple years.
Richard Lui/The Desert Sun

The “Tamarisk” district includes 88 homes along a series of culdesacs connected by Desert Lily Drive in southwestern Palm Desert; Willow, Bursera, Tamarisk, Goldflower and Salt Cedar. A city staff report says the estimated cost to underground the Southern California Edison, Time Warner and Verizon cables is $2.8 million, with a margin of error of plus or minus 4o percent.

Seventy percent of homeowers, the minimum needed, approved forming the district. If the council approves the city will spend about $400,000 from the general fund, to be reimbursed with former revelopment bond money, to pay SCE to do a full cost study so each homeowner can find out exactly how much he or she will owe as the cost is paid back. If the confirmation vote succeds, construction could start as early as 2015.

Another group of homeowners on Heliotrope Drive has also expressed interest in undergrounding wires recently, the staff report said, and they could be added to this district if it pencils out, the staff report said.

Also Thursday, the council will hold a study session at 2 p.m. and is expected to vote at the regular session on whether to adopt the city’s new strategic plan, called ”Envison Palm Desert—–>Forward Together” and workshopped by numerous residents and stakeholders during the latter part of 2013. The proposed document can be seen here.

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