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(a) Charge basis. Prior to receiving wastewater service for any residence, building or parcel of land, a connection charge shall be paid. The connection charge shall be in addition to the requirements for construction of or payments towards wastewater main pipeline systems. The owner of the property shall be responsible for payment of all unpaid charges not collected, or collectable from the developer, user or occupant.
(b) Connection charge rate. The amount of the wastewater connection charge shall be as set by Council action.
(c) Calculation of connection charge. A plumbing fixture unit shall be as defined in the current edition of the Plumbing Code. Only those fixtures that contribute wastes to the wastewater system shall be counted and charged. Any fixture not listed in the applicable section of the Plumbing Code to be installed shall be given a unit count by the Public Works Director. The total plumbing fixture unit count for each application/location shall not be less than that of a single family residence. Private plumbing fixtures are those plumbing fixtures enclosed within the area of a single business, company or organization intended for the use of employees only. Public plumbing fixtures are those plumbing fixtures that are provided for use by employees, customers, guests and/or the general public, including those fixtures intended for use by two or more tenants in a multi-tenant building. The charges set forth in this section shall apply, except for those buildings with a total floor area equal to or greater than twenty-five thousand (25,000) square feet where the provisions of subsection (e) of this section may apply as determined by the Public Works Director. Motels, hotels and any other buildings on a parcel of land with a common ownership that cannot at some future date be divided shall be considered on an overall basis, and the minimum charge shall not apply to each individual building.
(d) Escalation. On December 1 of each year, all wastewater connection charges shall be increased by Council action by a factor based upon the increase in the Engineering News Record (ENR) Construction Cost Index for Los Angeles based upon the change from the preceding July-to-July period.
(e) Special situations. For special situations such as combined use buildings, multiple occupant developments, or any other facilities where the computed connection charge does not, in the opinion of the Public Works Director, result in an equitable connection charge, the actual charge shall be determined based on criteria such as, but not limited to: environmental impact; National Pollution Discharge Elimination System requirements, water consumption; peak loading; residential equivalency; treatment plant capacity and capital costs. However, in no event shall the minimum rates be altered.
(f) Submittals. Commercial and industrial projects shall submit building and/or plumbing plans for the Public Works Department's permanent records in sufficient detail to allow the determination of the number of fixture units and the appropriate connection charge.
(g) Time of Payment. No parcel of property shall be connected to the wastewater system and receive permanent wastewater service from the City until a the appropriate wastewater connection charge has been paid. The connection charge shall be paid prior to, or concurrent with, the issuance of a building permit.
Payment of connection fees cannot be made earlier than the following:
(1) For tract/subdivision projects, no sooner than recordation of the tract or parcel map;
(2) For other projects, no sooner than:
(i) Approval of wastewater system drawings,
(ii) At the time of application for a wastewater permit, which should coincide with finalization of documents necessary for a building permit for approved projects, which must be accepted for plan check by the Department.
For affordable housing projects, payment of connection charges may be delayed until such time as the applicant makes a request to the Public Works Department for occupancy clearance. All charges must be paid in full prior to issuance of an occupancy permit by the Public Works Department. The amount paid shall be based on the charges in effect at the time the wastewater permit for construction of the project was issued.
(h) Installment payments. Where an individual property owner has been required to connect an existing housing unit to the public wastewater system, and where payment of the wastewater connection fee would present an undue hardship to the property owner, and where the City's interest is best served by the properties being connected to the public wastewater system, the Public Works Director may approve payments of the wastewater connection fee on an installment basis. Payments shall be subject to a written and recorded agreement between the City and the property owner, and shall include, in addition to the principal connection fee amount, payment of interest charges as determined by the Finance Department. The agreed-to-payment amounts shall be billed separately from the property owner's regular wastewater billing and are subject to interest and penalties as allowed by Council action. The agreement shall be recorded at the Office of the Ventura County Recorder to provide beneficial notice to any future purchaser of the property. If full payment of the wastewater billing becomes more than sixty days delinquent, the City, at its option, may require payment in full of the entire amount still owing on the connection fee.
(i) Credits for prior payment of wastewater connection fee. A parcel or other division of property having paid a connection charge shall be credited with current value service units paid. The credit may not be transferred or conveyed to another parcel, except to transfer to another public agency, where the facilities previously using the credit were removed and/or destroyed and cannot be reused again the future, subject to the approval of the Public Works Director. In the case of non-residential condominiums, the Property Owner Association shall have managing authority upon fixture credits as specified in Section 10-1.303.
(j) Termination of service and impact on connection charges. A property which terminates service will be credited with a charge as determined herein. If the property is then reconnected at a later date, then the then-current connection charge shall be due and payable, less the credit amount.
(k) Changed uses: Additional charges. If a building or the use of a parcel of property is enlarged, altered or changed, including the addition of an accessory dwelling unit, a new connection charge is greater than that credited to the parcel of property, the difference (based on fixture units or equivalent service units) shall be paid to the City. The payment is due before the issuance of a plumbing permit or building permit, as appropriate. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply, however, to the enlargement of a single family dwelling.
(l) Reduced uses. If a building or the use of a parcel of property is diminished, altered or changed in any way that would reduce the connection charge, no refund shall be made; but the credit given shall remain a credit to that property against any future facilities.
(m) Subdivision of parcels. If a parcel of property having a connection charge credit is divided, that connection charge credit may be divided also in any way that the owner instructs the City in writing; provided, however, the credit remaining with any parcel connected to the wastewater system shall not be less than the amount that would be required as a connection charge for that parcel using current rates. In the absence of written instructions, the Public Works Director may divide the credit.
(n) Non-residential Condominium.
Each detached building shall pay for a minimum of twenty (20) fixture units at the time of building permit issuance or prior to condominium map recordation. Each condominium unit shall pay connection fees as specified in the current User Fee Ordinance.
Wastewater fixture units paid for shall be attached to the parent property and may be transferred between buildings or separate ownerships within the parent property at the discretion of the Property Owners Association. Pursuant to Section 10-1.701 (k) and (l), all fixture units within the parent property shall be assigned to common area fixtures or assigned to member condominiums prior to purchasing additional fixture units for the property. Purchases of additional fixture units shall be made solely by the Property Owners Association. The City reserves the right to, at its sole discretion, redistribute the fixture units in a manner it determines to be in the best interest of the City.
It is the intent of this provision to ensure that a minimum of twenty (20) fixture units remain permanently assigned to each building. Fixture units in excess of the minimum of twenty (20) may be transferred by the Property Owners Association, upon approval of the Public Works Department, to another building which is lacking an adequate fixture unit count for the proposed use.
(Ord. 1515-NS, eff. June 5, 2009, as amended by § 8, Ord. 1631-NS, eff. July 14, 2017)