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Territorial Dispatch

1972 Act Lights Up City

Jun 05, 2024 04:52PM ● By Angela Underwood
Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District No. 2, Zone of Benefit A, Plumas Boulevard, formed in the early 2000s. Photo courtesy of Yuba City


YUBA CITY, CA (MPG) - California’s 1972 Landscape and Lighting Act keeps it green and bright here. 

Senior civil engineer Joshua Wolffe, PE, spoke with the Territorial Dispatch to discuss the four resolutions passed with annual levy initiations for the Lighting and Landscape Maintenance Districts (LLMD) at the May 21 meeting.   

Yuba City’s first Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District was formed in 1990. Most areas developed before 1990 have no maintenance districts, which are allotted funding for street lighting improvements. There are no Lighting and Landscape Maintenance Districts in redevelopment areas and each maintenance district has an individual fund and budget.

“If no LLMD is available, street lighting and landscaping operating and maintenance costs are paid through the city’s General Fund, which is not ideal,” Wolffe added. 

Lighting and Landscape Maintenance Districts are entitled to street lighting, landscaping, decorative features, sidewalks and improvements to public facilities. Wolffe said creating the districts ensures adequate funding for operation and maintenance over time.

Landscape District No. 5 Valencia Estates

 Lighting and Landscape District No. 5, Zone of Benefit K 18, Valencia Estates, was created in 2017. Photo courtesy of the City of Dixon


“The various districts’ improvements were installed any time between 1990-current, which means that there is a good amount of variation in the improvements, including landscaping types, tree types, irrigation systems and lighting,” Wolffe said.

Why all the resolutions?

“The quantity of resolutions per meeting can change each year,” Wolffe said. “The quantity of resolutions is solely based on the ability of the council to maintain a quorum for voting.”

To avoid conflicts of interest, Wolffe said council members who live or own property within a certain Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District or Residential Street Light Maintenance District are not allowed to vote on that Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District/Residential Street Light Maintenance District.

“Based on the current councilmembers and their property ownership, splitting the actions into four separate items per meeting was the most efficient way to ensure a quorum was maintained,” Wolffe said. “In previous years, there would be three actions or less per meeting.”

Lighting and Landscape Maintenance Districts are divided into specific “Zones of Benefit,” which describe the exact annual improvements and maintenance and operation costs for specific developments, and the zoners are typically formed during the plan review process for new developments. 

Wolffe said inflation is a factor in the final cost and “ultimately determines what the new development will need to pay annually to ensure funding is adequate for the Zone of Benefit.” Wolffe said.

Landscape Maintenance District No. 4 Regency Park Area

 Lighting and Landscape Maintenance District No. 4, Regency Park Area, formed in the early 2000s. Photo courtesy of the City of Dixon


Wolf also detailed Residential Street Light Maintenance Districts, where PG&E owns street light poles and lighting fixtures.

“In these districts, the city only pays for the cost of electricity for said streetlights,” Wolffe said, adding Yuba City’s two Residential Street Light Maintenance Districts formed before the areas’ annexation into city limits.

Wolffe said the city is maintaining the existing improvements as necessary to ensure the functionality and aesthetics of trees, irrigation, sidewalks and other improvements.

“We do not have an opportunity to change the infrastructure of existing improvements often, but when we do, the changes are typically upgraded to current standards, including low-impact irrigation,” Wolffe said. “With new developments, we can ensure that the improvements confirm the city’s current standards.”

Those standards include drought-tolerant landscaping, deep root irrigation for trees, and installation of tree root barriers to prevent sidewalk damage by tree root or drip irrigation.

“We want to ensure current standards create the lowest amount of impact financially and in terms of electricity/water to be able to provide the most value to our citizens,” Wolffe said.

Wolffe said his department will present the proposed project budgets at the July 18 council meeting.

 

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