1437 4th Street, Ste. 300
Santa Monica, CA 90401
Phone: (310) 458-8721
Fax: (310) 393-4425
E-mail: sm.engineering@smgov.net 

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Streetlight Installation

The installation of new street lights in a residential area is initiated by petition of the area residents (both property owners and renters).  Upon acceptance of a successful petition, the City Council will create a special benefit assessment district for the sole purpose of constructing street lights, and will establish the charges to be paid by the property owners who derive benefits from the improvement to their properties.  This information sheet outlines the procedures followed in establishing the assessment district, levying the assessments, protests against the assessments, and constructing the street lights.  Please review this information carefully before signing a petition.  If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact the City’s Civil Engineering Division, at (310) 458-8721.

PROPOSED STREET LIGHT BOUNDARY AREA.  The petition form indicates the boundaries of the proposed street light construction for your area.  The exact locations of the individual lights will be determined after the petition is accepted.


1.     The petition will be circulated by one of your area residents or neighborhood groups.  Only one signature per residential unit is allowed to be submitted for consideration.  The completed petition must be returned to the Civil Engineering Division by the expiration date indicated on the petition, unless an extension has been granted by the Chief City Engineer.

2.     In order for the petition to be accepted by City Council, signatures must be obtained from occupants representing AT LEAST 60% of the total residential units in the petition area.  Examples of a “residential unit” are a single-family dwelling, an apartment, or a unit in a condominium complex.  For rent-controlled residential units, the petition will be reviewed by the City of Santa Monica Rent Control Department to verify compliance with the 60% signatory requirement.

3.     Upon verification of the petition, a preliminary engineering plan and cost estimate will be developed.

ESTIMATED COSTS.  The cost calculations will be based upon the lineal feet of property fronting the street undergoing improvement, as described below.  These estimates are based on construction cost data available at the time this information is published.

1.      Single-family and multi-unit (single-owner) properties.  Property owners in this category are charged for 50% of the cost of street light construction; the City pays the other 50%.  Current costs for street light construction are approximately $120.00 per lineal foot.  Therefore, if your parcel frontage is 50 feet, the construction cost estimate would be 50 feet multiplied by $120.00 per lineal foot, to equal $6,000.00.  The City pays one-half of the cost ($3,000.00), and the property owner is assessed for the other half (also $3,000.00).  Some corner lots may pay less if the property address is on the adjacent street.

2.      Condominium properties.  Condominium unit owners are charged for a portion of the street light construction costs according to the amount of lineal feet that the entire development fronts the improved street, divided by the number of units in the complex.  For example, given a ten-unit complex with a frontage of 50 feet and current construction cost estimates of $120.00 per lineal foot, the total construction cost estimate is $6,000.00.  The City will pay one-half the cost ($3,000.00), and the condominium complex will pay the other half (also $3,000.00).  Each unit owner in this example will be assessed one-tenth of the complex’s share ($300.00). Some corner lots may pay less if the property address is on the adjacent street.

3.      Non-residential property owners.  Non-residential property owners are assessed for 100% of the costs of street light construction.  Using the example of current construction costs of $120.00 per lineal foot, and a property frontage of 50 feet, the non-residential property owner will be assessed $6,000.00 (50 lineal feet multiplied by $120.00 per lineal feet).  Some corner lots may pay less if the property address is on the adjacent street.

4.      Tenants.  Residential property owners may be authorized by the City of Santa Monica Rent Control Board to pass-through all or a portion of the costs for the street light construction to tenants.  Costs will be divided equally among the total number of units in a complex, and will be paid monthly over a ten-year period.  Typically, the monthly charges will be approximately $4.00 per month per rental unit.  For more information about the rent pass-through, contact Tracy Condon, in the City’s Rent Control Department, at (310) 458-8751.

RESOLUTION OF INTENTION.  Once the petition has been received and reviewed by City staff, the petition will be presented to City Council, along with the initial project cost estimate, for acceptance.  This presentation may occur several months after the petition was submitted because several streets will be combined to form one street lighting assessment district.  If the Council accepts the petitions, it will then set a public hearing for the formation of street light assessment districts.

PUBLIC MEETING.  Following acceptance of the petition, property owners, residents, and other interested parties will be notified of a Public Meeting where additional street light construction and assessment information, including Proposition 218, will be presented by City staff.  Diagrams showing the planned locations of the street lights will be available.  In addition, residents are given the option to select, by majority vote, from one or more alternative street light styles.

PUBLIC HEARING.  The City Council will hold a Public Hearing on Proposed Street Lighting Assessment District Actions after the Public Meeting has been held.  Assessment ballots are tabulated after the hearing and are weighted by the proportion of assessment amount for each property.  The assessment may proceed if over 50 percent of the weighted ballots support the assessment.  All interested parties are given the opportunity to express opinions, protests, and/or concerns about the planned street light construction.  Notices of the public hearing will be posted conspicuously throughout the proposed district, mailed to all property owners and residents (using the addresses from the latest Los Angeles County Assessor’s Roll and the Santa Monica Rent Control Data Base Book), and published in the California section of  “The Los Angeles Times” newspaper prior to the Public Hearing.  The Council will consider all public testimony prior to their decision to proceed.

VOTING PROCEDURE.  In conjunction with the Public Hearing notification, ballots will be mailed to property owners to vote "YES" or "NO" for the proposed assessment.  Each property parcel is eligible for one ballot and one vote.  Ballots are weighted according to the proportional financial obligation of the affected property, which means ballots with higher financial obligations will have larger weight than ballots with lower financial obligations.  Ballots are tabulated after the Public Hearing and only those ballots received prior to close of the Public Hearing will be counted - ballots not returned are not included in the tabulation.  The proposed assessment will pass if the weighted "YES" votes equal or exceed the weighted "NO" votes.

PROTESTS.  If written protests against a proposed street lighting assessment district are made by more than one-half of the property owners of any affected street, City Council will withdraw consideration of street light installation on that street for a period of no less than one year following the Public Hearing, unless protests are overruled (for public safety considerations, for example) by an affirmative vote of four-fifths of the Council.  Alternately, if enough owners, tenants, or occupants withdraw, in writing, their names from the petition that caused the initiation of the proposed street lighting assessment district, thereby reducing the number of signers to less than 60% of the residences on that street, consideration of street light installation on that street will be withdrawn for a period of at least one year following the Public Hearing, unless protests are overruled by an affirmative vote of four-fifths of the Council.  All protests regarding a proposed street lighting assessment district must be filed in writing in the Office of the City Clerk before the hour of the Public Hearing.  Each protest must contain a description of the property involved in the protest.

STREET LIGHT CONSTRUCTION.  After the City Council has made a decision to proceed with the work, the City will finalize the engineering plan, solicit bidders for the construction, award the construction contract, and commence construction.

PUBLIC HEARING TO CONFIRM COSTS.  When the construction contractor has completed the work, and after all charges and costs have been determined, the City Engineer will calculate the final assessment amounts.  At this time, a Public Hearing to Confirm Construction Costs will be held by City Council concerning the performance of the work and the costs.  Notices of this Public Hearing will be mailed to property owners and will be published in the California section of “The Los Angeles Times” newspaper prior to the Public Hearing.  The Council will consider all public testimony prior to their decision to approve the assessments.

METHODS OF PAYMENT.  After the assessments have been recorded with the County, an invoice will be mailed to each property owner within the assessment district.  If the invoice you receive is for $150.00 or less, you must pay the assessment amount in full within 30 days of receipt of the invoice.  Any balance unpaid after 30 days will be collected through the L.A. County Assessor property tax process.  If the assessment is more than $150.00, payments may be made in full within 30 days of receipt of the invoice or may be made over a period of ten years.  Bonds will be issued for the unpaid amounts (over $150.00), and a lien will be placed upon the property until the full assessment cost, including interest, has been paid.  Payments will be made twice a year: principal and one-half of the year’s interest will be due on or before December 1; the remaining year’s interest will be due on or before June 1.  The interest rate will be determined by the City Treasurer.  No early payment penalties will be assessed.

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