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Utility Underground District


Looking up Coronel from Loma Alta

Property owners interested in forming an utility underground assessment district can request the City of Santa Barbara to administer the formation process. There are three ways property owners can underground the existing overhead utilities:

1.  Rule 20A - Projects that fall under Rule 20A are paid for by all utility ratepayers, not just those who live in the area to be undergrounded. To qualify for full funding, projects must provide a benefit to the general public, not just the affected customers in the area by satisfying one or more of the below criteria:

    • unusually heavy concentration of overhead facilities
    • heavily traveled area
    • qualifies as an arterial or major collector road. See City of Santa Barbara Street Classifications map here.
    • within or passing through a civic, recreational, or scenic area

The City’s Rule 20A work credit balance is $1.9 million as of May 2019.  In the next few years, staff will be recommending to the Planning Commission a list of proposed projects/location of arterial roads within the City proposed for undergrounding.  If you’d like to be contacted once this process commences, subscribe above.   

2.  Rule 20B- Projects that fall under Rule 20B allow property owners to elect to form an underground utility assessment district when Rule 20A does not apply. See Underground Utility Assessment District (UUAD) Informational Binder below for additional information on forming a district.

3.  Rule 20C - Projects that fall under Rule 20C enables property owners to privately fund undergrounding the overhead facilities if neither of the above apply.

Need more guidance? Check out our Underground Utility Assessment District Informational Binder located here.

For specific information on Southern California Edison Rule 20, click here.

General inquiries may be directed to Adam Hendel, Principal Engineer at AHendel@SantaBarbaraCA.gov or (805) 897-1921.  

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What's Happening?

Scenic Drive UUAD Kickoff Meeting!

January 27, 2020 

Earlier this month, committee representatives Allyn Fleming, Linda Giovannozzi, and Norm Stockton met with City staff to discuss the initiation of an Underground Utility Assessment District on Scenic Drive. Click here for the meeting minutes. This would be located above the Montecito Club golf course. The goal is to improve the street appeal by removing the poles on both sides of Scenic Drive. In addition, removing the overhead poles and wires will result in improved views for certain properties. The committee is currently considering a preliminary area for the Underground Utility Assessment District from Harbor View Drive to the east to end of the cul de sac. If the committee chooses to proceed, the next step will be for City staff to consult with the utility companies. The neighborhood would then be engaged to circulate a resident petition, so stay tuned and subscribe here! Please contact Allyn at allynfleming@gmail.com, or Adam Hendel, Principal Engineer at ahendel@santabarbaraca.gov. for more information.


Utility Underground Program Restarted

July 31, 2019 

The City is restarting its Utility Underground program based upon some recent public interest and current balance of the City’s Rule 20A work credit. Previously the program has been very successful with Rule 20A projects including Cliff Drive. There are some challenges with Rule 20B assessment district projects. However, with the right project, neighborhood interest, and work by City staff and utility companies those projects are also worth pursuing. Please click on the Informational Binder for more information or email ahendel@santabarbaraca.gov.


Last Updated: Aug 5, 2019
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