Undergrounding Update

We are closer than ever to providing our beautiful islands with new underground utilities. These networks will be state of the art, storm resistant, and eliminate the unsightly teetering poles and dangling cables that run through our islands.

We acknowledge it took longer than expected to obtain FP&L’s cooperation, but we’re finally “rolling”. Here’s the skinny…

The City of Miami Beach has finally managed to pin-down Florida Power on the specific of the Right-of-Way under ground construction. CMB and FP&L have now agreed how to construct and protect our new underground utilities (Power, Telephone, and Cable). We owe special thanks to Eric Carpenter (Public Works) and David Martinez (CIP) and many others. Without their dogged pursuit, we might all still be waiting. We owe special thanks to Eric Carpenter (Public Works) and David Martinez (CIP), and many others from the City.” We are also especially grateful to those residents who donated funds for the required engineering study, and technical design work.

FP&L’s Engineering department has been given the go ahead to finalize the design for our underground electrical service and provide a cost quotation. This could take as long as 6 months. Once FP&L is done, Atlantic Broadband and AT&T will design their undergrounding to match (this lowers overall cost) and provide their quotes. The City of Miami Beach. adds some minor costs (curbs, landscaping, etc.), and we get our TOTAL cost. Then the fun begins…

How do residents pay for such a major upgrade?

The public portion of the Venetian under grounding project can be paid up front, or financed, for say 5 years, through the creation of a special tax district that requires the approval of a majority vote by the affected residents. The latter is the route most residents prefer. The tax district can be created through the County (it requires a 50%+1 vote) or the City of Miami Beach (requires a 60% resident approval) and VIHA will select the best option for our community.

The taxing entity then prepares the VOTE on Dilido and San Marino. Assuming residents approve (our overwhelming preliminary response was 80% for approval) the construction work is bid to FP&L approved contractors, and the job begins.

Do not be overly alarmed. Unlike the difficult above ground construction our neighborhoods suffered over the past few years, our new utilities will be constructed through Directional Boring technology, leaving our streets mostly intact. The visible construction should be mostly limited to the concrete pads on which our new transformers are installed, and the creation of street curbs, where the some transformer locations are at deemed at “risk”.

We will keep you informed of upcoming milestones as they approach!

Regards to all,
Ahmad Lee Khamsi
VIHA Undergrounding VP