Del Mar’s utility undergrounding committee to resume meetings

Del Mar City Council meets at the Del Mar Civic Center.
(Karen Billing)

Del Mar’s Undergrounding Project Advisory Committee is scheduled to resume next month with some changes, including a reduction from nine members to five and reducing term lengths from five years to three.

The committee hasn’t met since March 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to committee meetings. Its members are tasked with overseeing the city’s utility undergrounding project, which began with a recently completed Tewa/10th Street segment, and advising the City Council. The Tewa segment included 1,000 linear feet of overhead wiring, 1,345 linear feet of joint trench and 10 poles to be removed.

A ceremony to commemorate the completed Tewa project, which ended up costing more than anticipated, is scheduled for later this month.

The Undergrounding Project Advisory Committee meeting schedule is Feb. 16, June 8, Sept. 14 and Dec. 14 at 10 a.m., with the potential for additional meetings as necessary.

The city still has to determine whether the four existing UPAC members want to continue serving terms that will run through March 2025, and appoint someone to the empty seat. According to a city staff report, council members will appoint someone to the vacant seat during their Feb. 6 meeting if they receive enough applications.

“Rolling forward, the vision is that as new areas come on board for the utilities to go underground, we would look for some rotation on the committee but balancing keeping the expertise, keeping the experience but rolling through our various areas,” said Del Mar Councilmember Terry Gaasterland, one of the council liaisons to the committee.

The next phases of the utility undergrounding project are area X1A, located by Crest Canyon, and area 1A, which runs along Stratford Court South. Areas X1A and 1A were going to be the first segments of the project before the council voted last year to add Tewa as a pilot project.

The utility undergrounding is funded by Measure Q, a one-cent sales tax ballot measure that Del Mar voters approved in 2016.

No expertise on undergrounding is required to serve on the committee.

“If you care about your community and your neighborhood, you qualify,” Del Mar City Councilmember Dwight Worden said.