We have a dilemma in the Sunset District

By Fred and Jenny Remington

We attended the Sept. 14 City Council meeting where we heard the well reasoned arguments of Don Smith and Bill Lewis. These gentlemen, after much research, have discovered serious flaws in the undergrounding assessment formula, particularly as it relates to the Sunset District. During the meeting, you and members of the council saw the need to “tweak” the formula, which, in its present form, is clearly unfair to a number of residents. It is our belief that before the voting begins, more than tweaking will be required to correct the formula’s shortcomings.

Many residents, who were fortunate enough to come to live in Del Mar years ago, before their homes rose in value, do not have the same level of income as do the more recent homeowners. This is especially frustrating when so many homeowners do not benefit as far as their view is concerned. Most of the assessments on these properties will run around $20,000 or more. The added cost of a loan poses an additional burden. There are other families who take a dim view of not being able to spend their income as they see fit ... None of this matters to those who can afford undergrounding and know they’ll receive the added benefit of money from those who are opposed as the formula now stands.

It is disingenuous to state that there is any realistic appeal process, when we all know that legal fees would be exorbitant. At least, if the formula was based on special benefits, as Don Smith and Bill Lewis have advocated, this situation would not be such a bitter pill to swallow. We understand that there is a concern about the bidding process and the time frame that these bids will be honored, but many questions about the assessment method were brought up long ago and never adequately addressed in a timely manner.

We urge you to consider the recommendations made during the Sept. 14 meeting.

Fred and Jenny Remington are residents of the Sunset District in Del Mar.