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By Breeana Greenberg

Dana Point City Council voted unanimously at its Feb. 15 meeting to begin the process of removing overhead utilities on Stonehill Drive and installing underground utility facilities. The city will begin to design plans to underground overhead utilities between Golden Lantern and Del Obispo.

Stonehill was identified as the highest priority from a list approved in 1996 of eligible undergrounding projects, which meet the standards for a program that allocates ratepayer funds for undergrounding projects.

The estimated cost of the project is between $3.6 million and $4 million. The city has accumulated roughly $2.5 million in the program for undergrounding utilities and will need to pay the difference. Funds from the program cannot be used to underground residential poles and lines.

Four homeowners will likely be impacted by the project and will bear the cost of connecting their utilities to Stonehill’s underground facilities. The estimated cost to property owners is expected to be between $5,000 and $10,000.

The last citywide utility undergrounding project was completed in 2004, when the city installed underground utilities on Camino Capistrano from Camino de Estrella to Del Gado.

Staff estimates the design process will take 24-30 months before the project can be brought back to council for a vote.

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at bgreenberg@picketfencemedia.com

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