Inter-Departmental Correspondence

Department of Public Works



July 1, 2004


July 27, 2004


Honorable Board of Supervisors


Neil R. Cullen, Director of Public Works


Old County Road Underground Utility District Near Harbor Boulevard – Belmont Area




Hold a public hearing on the proposed formation of an underground utility district on Old County Road near Harbor Boulevard.



Close the public hearing.



Adopt a resolution establishing the underground utility district.


Previous Board Action

Adopted a resolution setting July 27, 2004, at 9:00 a.m. in your Board’s chambers as the time and place for a public hearing to consider the proposed formation of an underground district on Old County Road.


Key Facts


The City of Belmont has formed an underground district over their portion of Old County Road. The City has requested that the County form an underground district over our adjacent and contiguous portion of Old County Road in order to improve the appearance of the entire corridor by requiring the removal of all overhead utility wires.



Section 4.40.020 of the County Ordinance Code requires a public hearing before an underground utility district can be formed.



Belmont’s City Council has prioritized the undergrounding of utilities on Old County Road as an important project in the City’s downtown redevelopment plan, and has requested that the County underground our contiguous portion of Old County Road to complete the undergrounding in the area.


Facilities of Pacific Gas and Electric, Southern Bell Corporation (SBC), Comcast, and the Belmont Lighting District would be required to be undergrounded if a district is approved.


We are recommending that the County’s allocation of Rule 20A funds be used to finance the County’s cost of the electrical conversion, with conversion of the other utility facilities being the responsibility of the other individual utility service providers. The property owners would be responsible for the conversion of electrical service on their property, and we estimate from previous conversion projects and a review of the project area, that the cost per parcel may range from $3,000 - $5,000. The property owner would not incur costs for the conversion of telephone communication and cable television facilities as that is the responsibility of the service providers unless the property owner prefers or requires an alternate method of installation or location of the connections.


Property owners in the area have been notified of the time and date of this public hearing and the estimated costs associated with undergrounding utilities serving their parcels.


Vision Alignment

We believe our recommendation is consistent with the Shared Commitment to be a “responsive, effective and collaborative government,” and Goal Number 20 “government decisions are based on careful consideration of future impact, rather than temporary relief or immediate gain” as the undergrounding of utilities meets the long-term goal of improving the corridor.


Fiscal Impact

The cost for undergrounding all overhead distribution facilities within the road right-of-way is proposed to be financed with the County’s Pacific Gas and Electric “Rule 20A” funds allocated for conversion. The estimated cost for the underground conversion work is approximately $300,000.


The County receives approximately $600,000 in Rule 20A allocations per year and there are sufficient allocations available to finance this project.


The City of Belmont has agreed to finance the installation of new light poles and the associated wiring and this will be covered by a separate agreement that will be presented to your Board if the underground district is approved. The installation cost of eight (8) lights and conductors is approximately $30,000.


The cost of converting property connections to accept underground service will be a cost to the individual property owner.


There is no impact to the General Fund.

A form of resolution has been approved by County Counsel.