Undergrounding utilities ranks as our top priority. It provides opportunity to increase safety, improve network reliability, enhance aesthetics, and increase property values. It also serves as a springboard to other possible enhancements along Dana Shores Drive, including better lighting, surveillance, palms at entryways, and more.
- Work with Frontier and commercial property owners as appropriate to encourage the removal of remaining overhead equipment along Dana Shores Drive between Pelican Island and Memorial Highway. (UNDERWAY)
- Work with Doral homeowners to gauge interest in a small phase II initiative to underground the bottom two distribution lines on this street. Pursue pending interest. (UPCOMING)
- Pursue grant opportunities to install landscape features along Dana Shores and/or Doral Drive.
Completed Items — Community Highlights
- Negotiated with Bright House, Verizon, City of Tampa, and Hillsborough County to underground cable and fiber optic lines, remove many miles of old telephone lines, and remove traffic signalization lines. Our research suggests this provided an estimated cost savings of roughly 75% off the cost of undergrounding.
- Developed broad community perspective and understanding for undergrounding TECO power lines, which allowed the majority of homeowners in Dana Shores and Pelican Island to coalesce around a shared vision.
- Instilled temporary measures with TECO to protect oaks along Dana Shores Drive from significant disfigurement that would otherwise result from their clearing the upper limbs of these trees away from aerial power lines. This provided us time to underground our utilities, and it was done with the knowledge that once a tree is severely pruned the damage cannot be undone.
- Partnered with the Hillsborough County Attorney’s Office, the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners, and TECO to develop a landmark county-wide ordinance that supports citizen-led initiatives to bury utilities throughout the County. Using a two-phase balloting process, this ordinance offers neighborhoods a method of financing the upfront engineering work and homeowners long-term financing options for undergrounding utilities.This item, though it may seem small, is a huge item for us, probably one of the most important things we’ve done since I’ve been here on the Commission… This is going to create momentum throughout the county. ~ Commissioner Sandy Murman, Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners (Jan. 21, 2016)
- Achieved 83.7% favorable support for the initial ballot from Dana Shores and Pelican Island homeowners for undergrounding power, well exceeding the required 67% minimum threshold. A budget resolution was subsequently carried with a vote of 7-0 by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to provide upfront funding in accordance with the undergrounding ordinance needed to support the next phase of our initiative, which involved detailed engineering work, cost estimating, and other planning work required to underground power along Dana Shores Drive and the finger streets within Dana Shores.
- Achieved 80.4% favorable support for the second and final undergrounding ballot from Dana Shores and Pelican Island homeowners, well exceeding the required 75% minimum threshold. Resolutions were subsequently carried with a vote of 7-0 by the Hillsborough County Board of County Commissioners to approve funding up to $2.6M to underground the utilities. Check out the public hearing from 2/6/19 here: https://vimeo.com/316424042
- Worked with Taylor Morrison to align our visions, which led to their decision to underground power in front of The Cove at Rocky Point along Dana Shores Drive.
- Worked with County and Frontier to remove the wooden Verizon utility pole laden with equipment across from Pelican Island’s entrance. Worked with Hillsborough County attorneys to add protections against subsequent installations of overhead and small wireless facilities within areas that have buried utilities via the above-referenced ordinance.
- Passed a street lighting petition within Dana Shores, which allowed us to replace wooden poles and cobra lighting with decorative street lighting. This was an entirely separate initiative from the TECO undergrounding initiative in terms of County ordinances, balloting, and funding. Its implementation was, however, both necessitated by and predicated upon the TECO undergrounding project since Dana Shores could no longer have lights on wooden poles with electric lines strung between them once the underground system was in place but could not energize the new streetlights until the underground network was installed.
- Assisted homeowners by answering questions, providing updates, and offering proactive advice and other relevant information throughout the construction effort.
- Completed homeowner conversions, achieving an outstanding 98.7% conversion rate along all roadways where connections were converted from overhead to underground.