A proposal to move power lines underground for about a mile of Harbor Boulevard at a cost of $150 to $550 per foot received mixed reviews from City Council members Tuesday.
Burying lines between Santa Ana Street and south of Ball Road would cost about $3.3 million, said Ed Alario, an assistant general manager with the Public Utilities Department.
Councilman Ben Bay said, “The cost is prohibitive, and the benefits are questionable.” Mayor Don Roth also asked, “Can we afford such a luxury?”
But Councilwoman Miriam Kaywood said that placing the power lines underground would improve the city’s looks and that she would “like to see as much underground as possible.”
The council members asked the Public Utilities staff to bring them a more detailed report of the cost of burying utilities throughout the city as well as certain portions of it, especially the Disneyland/Convention Center area.
The Public Utilities Department also asked council members Tuesday to consider increasing developers’ contributions to the cost of utilities for new construction, which now averages 14%, Alario said. In comparison, Burbank requires a 98% to 100% developer contribution; Los Angeles requires between nothing and 25%, and Glendale between 35% and 80%.
Roth said he would like developers’ comments before any increases are adopted. “It’s easy to attach fees to developers. We’re just passing it on, passing it on, passing it on,” Roth said.