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CHAPTER 21: UNDERGROUND UTILITIES
ARTICLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE II. UNDERGROUND UTILITY DISTRICT FORMATION
21-6. Public hearing by city council
21-7. Report by city engineer
21-8. City council may designate underground utility districts by resolution
21-9. Unlawful acts
21-10. Exceptions; emergency or unusual circumstances
21-11. Other exceptions
21-12. Notice to property owners and utility companies
21-13. Responsibility of utility companies
21-14. Responsibility of property owners
21-15. Responsibility of city
21-16. Extension of time
ARTICLE III. UNDERGROUND INSTALLATIONS FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION
21-26. Undergrounding required; exceptions
21-27. Manner of installation
21-28. Plans required
21-29. Minimum cost projects; in-lieu payments
21-30. Compliance a prerequisite to issuance of building permit
ARTICLE I. GENERAL PROVISIONS
ARTICLE II. UNDERGROUND UTILITY DISTRICT FORMATION
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the following meanings:
(A) COMMISSION - The public utilities commission of the state.
(B) CONSTRUCTION - Includes the construction of new buildings or structures and the expansion, modernization, renovation, remodeling, repair, improvement, equipping, furnishing and alteration of existing buildings or structures, for which one or more approvals or permits by or from the city are required, and which adds new floor area.
(C) DEVELOPER - Includes a person who is a subdivider, land developer or property owner.
(D) FACILITIES - When used in article III, includes poles, towers, supports, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, cross-arms, braces, transformers, insulators, cutouts, switches, communication circuits, appliances, attachments and appurtenances used or useful in supplying electric, communication or similar or associated service.
(E) LAND DEVELOPMENT - Includes any application to the city for a building permit, use permit, planned development permit, parcel map, tentative map or final map.
(F) POLES, OVERHEAD WIRES AND ASSOCIATED OVERHEAD STRUCTURES - Poles, towers, supports, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platform, cross arms, braces, transformers, insulators, cutouts, switches, communication circuits, appliances, attachments and appurtenances located aboveground within a district and used or useful in supplying electric, communication or similar associated service.
(G) UNDERGROUND UTILITY DISTRICT or DISTRICT - That area in the city within which poles, overhead wires, and associated overhead structures are prohibited as such area is described in a resolution adopted pursuant to the provisions of section 21-8.
(H) UTILITY - Includes all persons or entities supplying electric, communication or similar or associated service by means of electrical materials or devices.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-4) (Ord. No. 1158, 2207)
(A) The city council may from time to time call public hearings to ascertain whether the public necessity, health, safety or welfare requires the removal of poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures within designated areas of the city and the underground installation of wires and facilities for supplying electric, communication, or similar or associated service.
(B) The city clerk shall notify all affected property owners as shown on the last equalized assessment roll and utilities concerned by mail of the time and place of such hearings at least ten days prior to the date thereof. Each such hearing shall be open to the public and may be continued from time to time; at each such hearing all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard. The decision of the city council shall be final and conclusive.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-5) (Ord. No. 1158)
Prior to holding such public hearing, the city engineer shall consult with all affected utilities and shall prepare a report for submission at such hearing containing, among other information, the extent of such utilities' participation and estimates of the total costs to the city and affected property owners. Such report shall also contain an estimate of the time required to complete such underground installation and removal of overhead facilities.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-6) (Ord. No. 1158)
If, after any such public hearing, the city council finds that the public necessity, health, safety or welfare requires such removal and such underground installation within a designated area, the city council shall, by resolution, declare such designated area an underground utility district and order such removal and underground installation. Such resolution shall include a description of the area comprising such district and shall fix the time within which such removal and underground installation shall be accomplished and within which affected property owners must be ready to receive underground service. A reasonable time shall be allowed for such removal and underground installation, having due regard for the availability of labor, materials and equipment necessary for such removal and for the installation of such underground facilities as may be occasioned thereby.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-7) (Ord. No. 1158)
Whenever the city council creates an underground utility district and orders the removal of poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures therein, as provided in section 21-6, no person or utility shall erect, construct, place, keep, maintain, continue, employ or operate poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures in the district after the date when such overhead facilities are required to be removed by such resolution, except as such overhead facilities may be required to furnish service to an owner or occupant of property prior to the performance by such owner or occupant of the underground work necessary, and for such reasonable time required to remove such facilities after the work has been performed, and except as otherwise provided in this article.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-8) (Ord. No. 1158)
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article, overhead facilities may be installed and maintained for a period not to exceed 30 days, without authority of the city council in order to provide emergency service. The city engineer may grant special permission, on such terms as he/she may deem appropriate, in cases of unusual circumstances, without discrimination as to any person or utility, to erect, construct, install, maintain, use or operate poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures for an additional period of time not to exceed an additional 60 days. The city council may grant special permission, on such terms as the city council may deem appropriate, in cases of unusual circumstances, without discrimination as to any person or utility, to erect, construct, install, maintain, use or operate poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures for any additional period of time.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-9) (Ord. No. 1158)
This article and any resolutions adopted pursuant to section 21-8 shall, unless otherwise provided in such resolution, not apply to the following types of facilities:
(A) Any municipal facilities or equipment installed under the supervision and to the satisfaction of the city engineer;
(B) Poles or electroliers used exclusively for street lighting;
(C) Overhead wires (exclusive of supporting structures) crossing any portion of a district within which overhead wires have been prohibited, or connecting to buildings on the perimeter of a district, when such wires originate in an area from which poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures are not prohibited;
(D) Poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures used for the transmission of electric energy at nominal voltages in excess of 34,500 volts;
(E) Overhead wires attached to the exterior surface of a building by means of a bracket or other fixture and extending from one location on the building to another location on the same building or to an adjacent building without crossing any public street;
(F) Antennae, associated equipment and supporting structures, used by a utility for furnishing communication services;
(G) Equipment appurtenant to underground facilities, such as surface mounted transformers, pedestal mounted terminal boxes and meter cabinets, and concealed ducts; and
(H) Temporary poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures used or to be used in conjunction with construction projects.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-10) (Ord. No. 1158)
(A) Within ten days after the effective date of a resolution adopted pursuant to section 21-8, the city clerk shall notify all affected utilities and all persons owning real property within the district created by such resolution of the adoption thereof. Such city clerk shall further notify such affected property owners of the necessity that, if they or any person occupying such property desire to continue to receive electric, communication, or similar or associated service, they or such occupant shall provide all necessary facility changes on their premises so as to receive such service from the lines of the supplying utility or utilities at a new location, subject to the applicable rules, regulations, and tariffs of the respective utility or utilities on file with the commission.
(B) Notification by the city clerk shall be made by mailing a copy of the resolution adopted pursuant to section 21-8, together with a copy of this article, to affected property owners as such are shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the affected utilities.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-11) (Ord. No. 1158)
If underground construction is necessary to provide utility service within a district created by any resolution adopted pursuant to section 21-8, the supplying utility shall furnish that portion of the conduits, conductors and associated equipment required to be furnished by it under its applicable rules, regulations and tariffs on file with the commission.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-12) (Ord. No. 1158)
(A) Every person owning, operating, leasing, occupying or renting a building or structure within a district shall construct and provide that portion of the service connection on his property between the facilities referred to in section 21-13 and the termination facility on or within such building or structure being served. If the above is not accomplished by any person within the time provided for in the resolution enacted pursuant to section 21-8, the city engineer shall give notice in writing to the person in possession of such premises, and a notice in writing to the owner thereof as shown on the last equalized assessment roll, to provide the required underground facilities within ten days after receipt of such notice.
(B) The notice to provide the required underground facilities may be given either by personal service or by mail. In case of service by mail on either of such persons, the notice must be deposited in the United States mail in a sealed envelope with postage prepaid, addressed to the person in possession of such premises at such premises, and the notice must be addressed to the owner thereof as such owner's name appears, and must be addressed to such owner's last known address as the same appears on the last equalized assessment roll, and when no address appears, to General Delivery, City of Oxnard. If notice is given by mail, such notice shall be deemed to have been received by the person to whom it has been sent within 48 hours after the mailing thereof. If notice is given by mail to either the owner or occupant of such premises, the city engineer shall, within 48 hours after the mailing thereof, cause a copy thereof, printed on a card not less than eight inches by ten inches in size, to be posted in a conspicuous place on such premises.
(C) The notice given by the city engineer to provide the required underground facilities shall particularly specify what work is required to be done, and shall state that if such work is not completed within 30 days after receipt of such notice, the city engineer will provide such required underground facilities, in which case the cost and expense thereof will be assessed against the property benefitted and become a lien upon such property.
(D) (1) If upon the expiration of the 30-day period, the required underground facilities have not been provided, the city engineer shall forthwith proceed to do the work, provided, however, if such premises are unoccupied and no electric or communications services are being furnished thereto, the city engineer may in lieu of providing the required underground facilities, authorize the disconnection and removal of any and all overhead service wires and associated facilities supplying utility service to such property. Upon completion of the work by the city engineer, he/she shall file a written report with the city council setting forth the fact that the required underground facilities have been provided and the cost thereof, together with a legal description of the property against which such cost is to be assessed.
(2) The city council shall thereupon fix a time and place for hearing protests against the assessment of the cost of such work upon such premises, which such time shall not be less than ten days thereafter.
(E) The city engineer shall forthwith, upon the time for hearing such protests having been fixed, give a notice in writing to the person in possession of such premises, and a notice in writing thereof to the owner thereof, in the manner hereinabove provided for the giving of the notice to provide the required underground facilities, of the time and place that the city council will pass upon such report and will hear protests against such assessment. Such notice shall also set forth the amount of the proposed assessment.
(F) Upon the date and hour set for the hearing of protests, the city council shall hear and consider the report and all protests, if there be any, and then proceed to affirm, modify or reject the assessment.
(G) (1) If any assessment is not paid within five days after its confirmation by the city council, the amount of the assessment shall become a lien upon the property against which the assessment is made by the city engineer, and shall be a personal obligation of the property owner or owners, jointly and severally. If not paid when due and payable, such assessment shall bear interest at the rate of seven percent per annum.
(2) The city engineer may turn over to the assessor and tax collector a notice of lien on each of such properties on which the assessment has not been paid, and such assessor, and tax collector may add the amount of such assessment to the next regular bill for taxes levied against the premises upon which such assessment was not paid.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-13) (Ord. No. 1158)
The city shall remove, at its own expense, all city-owned equipment from all poles required to be removed hereunder in ample time to enable the owner or user of such poles to remove the same within the time specified in the resolution enacted pursuant to section 21-8.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-14) (Ord. No. 1158)
In the event that any act required by this article or by a resolution adopted pursuant to section 21-8 cannot be performed within the time provided on account of shortage of materials, war, restraint by public authorities, strikes, labor disturbances, civil disobedience, or any other circumstances beyond the control of the actor, then the time within which such act will be accomplished shall be extended for a period equivalent to the time of such limitation.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-15) (Ord. No. 1158)
(A) No person shall violate any provision or to fail to comply with any of the requirements of this article. Any person violating any provision of this article or, failing to comply with any of its requirements shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment.
(B) Each such person shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day during any portion of which any violation of any of the provisions of this article is committed, continued or permitted by such person, and shall be punishable therefor as provided for in this article.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-16) (Ord. No. 1158)
ARTICLE III. UNDERGROUND INSTALLATIONS FOR NEW CONSTRUCTION
The city council hereby finds and determines that the public interest requires, except as otherwise provided in this article, that all facilities for the supply and distribution of electric energy and service, television cable service, and telephone and telegraph service for all construction and land development and adjacent to all construction and land development shall be placed underground in order to promote and preserve the health, safety and general welfare of the public and to assure the orderly development of the city. In particular, the city council finds that the undergrounding of such facilities will promote and contribute to the safety of the public and persons frequenting the new construction and land development, and the appearance of the new construction and land development and the city.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-30) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2207)
(A) In general - Except as provided herein, every developer who proposes construction or land development (other than construction or land development on land used exclusively for agricultural purposes both before and after the construction or land development) shall cause all facilities, both existing and installed as part of the construction or land development, both on and adjacent to the developer's construction or land development, to be placed underground according to the following requirements.
(1) Facilities shall be deemed adjacent if they are within a public entity or public utility right-of-way which abuts the developer's property (whether the public entity or public utility owns an easement or other interest in land, or owns the land underlying the right-of-way), including a flood control or drainage channel or a street, or which is separated from the developer's property only by one or more such rights-of-way.
(2) Undergrounding shall be completed to the nearest suitable riser pole beyond the boundaries of the developer's property.
(B) Undergrounding not required -
(1) Appurtenances and associated equipment, such as surface mounted transformers, pedestal-mounted terminal boxes and meter cabinets, and concealed ducts in an underground system, need not be undergrounded.
(2) Facilities on or in a building need not be undergrounded.
(C) New facilities; service laterals - Notwithstanding any other provision of this article except subsections (B) and (G) of this section:
(1) All new facilities, including new service laterals, shall be placed underground.
(2) Existing service laterals to commercial and industrial structures shall be placed underground when changes in service are made which require meter relocation, a change of voltage classification, or an increase in meter panel ampacity.
(D) Reimbursement - If adjacent facilities which the developer is required to underground are located on property which is not owned by the developer and which is beyond the developer's side of the center line of all rights-of-way, if any, which are between the developer's property and such other property, and at the time of undergrounding the owner of such other property refuses to pay the developer's cost of undergrounding performed on the owner's property and beyond the center line of all such rights-of-way:
(1) On completion of undergrounding, the city will offer to enter into an agreement with the developer whereby the city will reimburse the developer up to the developer's cost of undergrounding such adjacent facilities from an amount collected by the city from the owner of such property for such purpose when the owner proposes construction or land development thereon.
(2) When the owner of such property proposes construction or land development thereon, if the owner's project qualifies as a “smaller project” under section 21-29(A), the owner may choose either option (1)(a) or option (1)(c) from subsection (A) of section 21-29, but may not choose option (1)(b). If the owner chooses option (1)(a), the owner shall, in addition to complying fully with the other provisions of section 21-26, pay to the city the cost of undergrounding performed by the developer on the owner's property and on the owner's side of the center line of all rights-of-way between the developer's property and the owner's property, which the city shall then pay to the developer on the terms and conditions of the agreement referred to in subsection (D)(1) of this section. If the owner chooses option (1)(c) from subsection (A) of section 21-29 and makes the in-lieu payment provided for therein, the city shall then pay to the developer on the terms and conditions provided for in such agreement the cost of undergrounding performed by the developer on the owner s property and on the owner's side of the center line of all rights-of-way between the developer's property and the owner's property, but not to exceed the amount of such in-lieu payment.
(3) When the owner of such property proposes construction or land development thereon, if the owner's project does not qualify as a “smaller project” under section 21-29(A), the owner must, in addition to complying fully with the other provisions of this article, pay to the city an amount equal to the developer's cost of undergrounding performed by the developer on the owner's land and on the owner's side of the center line of all rights-of-way between the developer's property and the owner's land, which amount the city will pay to the developer on the terms and conditions of the agreement referred to in subsection (D)(1) of this section.
(4) The provisions of this subsection apply whether the owner of such land who proposes construction or land development is the same person who owned the property when the developer performed the undergrounding thereon, and whether all or part of such property is proposed for construction or land development.
(E) Deferral; security -
(1) The city engineer may defer undergrounding of facilities and accept security to guarantee later undergrounding if, on either of the following criteria, the engineer finds undergrounding to be infeasible at the time of construction or land development:
(a) The construction or land development is not within an underground utility district, but will be included in one within three years; or
(b) The location, topography, soil conditions, or geological factors make undergrounding technically or economically infeasible at the time of construction or land development, but such factors are likely to change within five years to make undergrounding feasible.
(2) At the developer's expense, the developer shall obtain an estimate of the cost of undergrounding and submit the estimate to the city engineer. The developer may have the estimate prepared by the affected utilities, by an engineer licensed in the state, or by the city engineer. The estimate shall include a separate item for contingencies in the amount of 15 percent of the estimated actual cost. Based on such estimate, the city engineer shall determine the estimated cost for the undergrounding, including an amount for inflation and other increases pending completion of the undergrounding. The developer shall post security for the undergrounding for the full amount of the estimated costs as determined by the city engineer. The security shall be of a type specified in Cal. Gov’t Code, Section 66499 and must be approved by the city attorney as to form and legal sufficiency before being accepted by the city engineer.
(F) Waiver - The city engineer may waive the requirement of undergrounding if the engineer finds that the location, topography, soil conditions, or geological factors make undergrounding technically or economically infeasible, and the developer makes to the city the in-lieu payment provided by section 21-29(D).
(G) Exceptions - The requirements of this article shall not apply to:
(1) Facilities approved by the city engineer to be installed and maintained for a period not to exceed 30 days in order to provide emergency services;
(2) Temporary facilities approved by the city engineer used, or to be used, in conjunction with construction projects;
(3) Facilities used for the transmission of electrical energy at voltages in excess of 33,000 volts; or
(4) The rewiring of existing utility services.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-31) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2135, 2207, 2493)
(A) Installation prior to street widening or paving - Except as provided herein, all facilities, including service laterals, shall be installed in the ground prior to street widening or the paving of new streets. The city engineer may authorize installation of facilities after street improvements are made if the installation will not require reconstruction or repair of the street improvements or if unusual circumstances warrant. At the time of approval of the tentative map for a proposed subdivision, the planning commission may modify this requirement for all or part of a subdivision where, due to physical conditions, undue hardship would be caused.
(B) Minimize hazards - The developer shall place above-ground associated equipment and access points so as to safeguard the public against any hazard created by such equipment and access points and so as to enhance the appearance of the neighborhood.
(C) Placement of facilities - Facilities shall be placed within the street, alley or walkway dedication or in easements adjacent thereto obtained by the utility companies, as approved by the city engineer. The city engineer may allow deviations from this requirement if compliance is deemed impractical, or if any conflicting paramount law requires such deviations.
(D) Arrangements with utility companies - The developer shall make all necessary arrangements for underground installations and for relocation of existing facilities with the utility companies involved, subject to applicable utility company rules, regulations and tariffs on file with the commission. The developer shall provide the trenching, conduits and miscellaneous substructures necessary for the installation of cable television and electronic gear.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-32) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2207)
(A) (1) The developer shall submit plans detailing the location of all underground utilities to be installed to the city engineer for approval.
(2) The city engineer shall inspect the installation of all underground utilities for conformance to city-approved plans.
(B) The developer shall pay the city for the cost of such inspection.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-33) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2207)
(A) Smaller projects - A “smaller project” is construction or land development subject to this article which is carried out in its entirety on less than ten acres and which involves construction of less than 134,000 square feet of floor area.
(1) Notwithstanding section 21-26(A), and except as otherwise provided in this subsection, developers of smaller projects may choose to:
(a) Comply fully with section 21-26(A);
(c) Make to the city the in-lieu payment provided in subsection (C) of this section.
(2) If poles must be relocated in order to provide street improvements or other public improvements, and the cost of undergrounding which removes the poles to be relocated exceeds the minimum cost provided for in subsection (B) of this section, the city engineer may, in his or her discretion, require that the undergrounding be accomplished pursuant to subdivision (b) above and agree to reimburse the developer in the amount that the cost of undergrounding exceeds the minimum cost for that project. In such case, the developer may not choose subdivision (c) above and may choose subdivision (a) above only if compliance with section 21-26 removes the poles to the same extent as the city engineer would require under subdivision (b) above, or to a greater extent.
(B) Minimum cost projects -
(1) The developer of a smaller project may perform less undergrounding than is required by section 21-26(A) if the cost of the undergrounding performed is at least equal to a certain amount per square foot of floor area to be constructed. The city engineer will determine such cost on the basis of construction plans submitted when the developer applies for a building permit.
(2) The developer's determination of the undergrounding to be performed as a minimum cost project must be approved by the city engineer before a building permit may be issued or work begun on the project or on the undergrounding.
(3) The amount to be paid per square foot is $1.3202 for smaller projects in the Oxnard Shores Zone and $0.1726 for smaller projects elsewhere.
(4) The Oxnard Shores Zone is bounded by Harbor Boulevard on the east, Amalfi Way on the south, the shoreline on the west, and Fifth Street on the north. A map of the Oxnard Shores Zone is on file with the city clerk.
(C) In-lieu payments for smaller projects -
(1) In lieu of undergrounding and subject to the following provisions, the developer of a smaller project may pay to the city an amount equal to the minimum cost for the project provided in subsection (B) of this section.
(2) The developer of a smaller project may have an independent impact analysis performed to determine the impact of the project on the need to underground facilities within the city.
(3) The city engineer may require the developer of a smaller project to submit such an independent impact analysis if the nature, size, location or density of use of the project indicates that the demand for undergrounding facilities within the city would be substantially higher than that assumed for purposes of establishing the in-lieu payment.
(4) Such an independent impact analysis shall be prepared in accordance with city procedures, standards and guidelines.
(5) All costs related to the independent impact analysis shall be paid by the developer.
(6) Prior to submittal of any independent impact analysis, the developer shall meet with the city engineer to review the scope, standards, procedures and preliminary findings of the independent impact analysis.
(7) When the independent impact analysis shows that the impact of the specific development proposal varies substantially from the level of impact used in the in-lieu payment calculations, the payment amount shall be calculated using the methodology established in the staff report concerning this ordinance, dated July 11, 1989.
(8) All payments calculated pursuant to subsection (C)(7) shall be established by the city council.
(D) In-lieu payments when undergrounding waived - When undergrounding is waived by the city engineer as infeasible, as provided by subsection (F) of section 21-26, the developer of the construction or land development, whether or not it qualifies as a “smaller project” under subsection (A) of this section, shall pay to the city an amount equal to the minimum cost for the construction or land development provided in subsection (B) of this section.
(E) Undergrounding fund -
(1) The city shall reserve the in-lieu payments for undergrounding along major arterial streets within different parts of the city, except that $1.1476 per square foot of in-lieu payments from the Oxnard Shores Zone will be reserved for undergrounding utilities in the Oxnard Shores Zone.
(2) The finance director is directed to establish an undergrounding fund, and the city will spend or commit in-lieu payments in such fund on or to such undergrounding within five years of receipt of in-lieu payments.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-34) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2207)
City staff shall not issue a building permit for any construction or land development unless the applicant's plans comply with the provisions of this article or the applicant has made the in-lieu payment provided by this article. The developer of a residential project may defer making the in-lieu payment until the date of final inspection or the date the certificate of occupancy is issued, whichever occurs first, subject to the provisions of Cal. Gov’t Code, Section 66007.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-35) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2207)
Any person violating any provision of this article or failing to comply with any of its requirements shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not exceeding $500 or by imprisonment not exceeding six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Such person shall be deemed guilty of a separate offense for each day during any portion of which any violation of any of the provisions of this article is committed, continued or permitted by such person.
(`64 Code, Sec. 32.5-36) (Ord. No. 1733, 2113, 2207)