Laguna Beach makes plans to bury power lines to prevent catastrophic fires seen in Northern California
- Oct 30, 2017 6:17 pm GMT
"Laguna knows all too well about the devastation caused by wildfires and my heart goes out to all those whose lives were changed in an instant by the massive fires in
With urging from Whalen and the public, the
The council also agreed to review funding for similar projects citywide through a ballot measure or initiative.
Whalen outlined financing plan that uses city funds to reduce the cost of burying utilities to residents by 25 to 35 percent from what neighborhoods have had to pay through previous undergrounding assessment districts.
"My goal is to place one or more ballot measures on the
Whalen's plan would also ensure clear evacuation routes in the event of an earthquake where utility poles and lines could fall blocking residents from exiting and emergency personnel from entering.
"The utility companies have refused to help expedite undergrounding, leaving us no choice but to ask our community to support a local funding plan," Mayor
Excluding utilities lines along
Also on Tuesday, the council repealed a March ordinance requiring utility companies to underground new and replacement wires and poles. That action followed a settlement agreement reached earlier this month with
After the city passed the ordinance, the two utilities sued to stop it. Rather than fighting a legal battle, the
SCE agreed to develop preliminary designs to bury electric facilities along
The city's concerns about burying utility lines are not new. Fires caused by downed poles occurred in Laguna in
City officials called for citywide undergrounding of utilities following the 15-acre wildfire in
The city "dodged a bullet" with that fire, thanks to favorable winds and firefighters' efforts, Whalen said.
In 2016, he traveled to
"The dangerous overhead electric utility lines which crisscross 60 percent of the city have proven to be an unacceptable hazard," said resident
(c)2017 The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, Calif.)
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