The Hollister City Council unanimously approved spending $17,696 from the general fund for a streetlight analysis and design on Sixth Street, between Monterey and West streets.
Following discussion, the council agreed that for the analysis to be officially approved, it needed to get at least 50% of the residents on the 400 block of Sixth Street to support the project. According to Google Maps, there are 14 residential buildings on Sixth Street between Monterey and West streets.
The council discussed how the lighting would help prevent crime, as well as provide safety for vehicles and pedestrians.
Cristian Builes, assistant engineer with the city said the money would be used for analysis and design, not installation of lighting. The council also discussed the feasibility of solar lighting among the canopy of trees that limit the amount of sunlight on the block.
Mayor Ignacio Velasquez recommended that every resident on the 400 block of Sixth Street be notified, which spurred a council discussion on whether a certain percentage of residential support should be required before it approved funds for the project.
Builes told the council that a lot goes into analyzing and designing this project.
“It’s not just the placement of the solar,” Builes added. “It’s also making sure that there is no conflict with other utilities—water lines, sewer lines. So there is a lot that goes into something with the foundation of the street lights.”
The analysis protects the city from liability for accidents or crimes that may occur due to faulty lighting. “This way, we’ll have somebody who did the analysis, and that will be [the design] we follow.”
Builes said if the council decided to go with a solar company, a consultant would need to be hired to determine the correct placement of the solar for charging over different periods of the day.
Velasquez noted that there are many options for solar lights, such as ones with sensors that switch them on when motion is detected.
He also asked if residents of the 400 block of Sixth Street had been approached about the project.
Councilmember Rick Perez said he had spoken with seven of the residents on that block about the project and received positive feedback.
“I’m not sure how many houses there are, but I think about 40% of them are on board,” Perez said. “I think everybody is going to be happy about it because it’s dark and it’s a safety issue.
Councilmember Tim Burns suggested that the council approve the appropriation, with the contingency that a determined percentage of affected residents be notified.
Velasquez agreed, and suggested the resolution be contingent on receiving an 80% response from residents.
Councilmember Rolan Resendiz said the council had an obligation to notify affected residents, but he reminded the council that a high percentage of resident approval was not a requirement to approve any resolution such as this one.
“Is a percentage even something you look at?” he asked Builes.
Builes said it depends on the project, but often they receive 30%-50% response from residents. “I’ve never seen 100% [response],” he noted.
The council considered what percentage of the affected residents should be in favor of the project before it approved funding. It was agreed that the funds would be granted contingent on 50% resident approval.
We need your help. Support local, independent news. BenitoLink is a nonprofit news website that reports on San Benito County. Our team is committed to this community and providing essential, accurate information to our fellow residents. It is expensive to produce local news and community support is what keeps the news flowing. Please consider supporting BenitoLink, San Benito County’s news.