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A. Securing Subdivision Improvements: The purpose of this section is to describe the acceptable methods to guarantee that the required on site and off site improvements and utilities are provided before lots are sold. Unless all required improvements are completed, and approved by the city before final plat approval, some method of security to guarantee improvements shall be approved at the time of final plat approval. Any such agreement between the city and the subdivider, title company, escrow agent, surety or financial institution shall:
Be in favor of the city.
Be continuous in form.
Designate the city as the beneficiary.
Be approved by the city attorney.
1. Assurance Agreement: An assurance agreement (third party trust agreement) is the most commonly used method of providing assurances.
a. The city council approves assurance agreements at the time of final plat approval.
b. The title to the subdivided property is placed in trust with a third party escrow agency or trust company authorized to do business in the state of Arizona along with an agreement between the trustee and the city that title to any lot or parcel within the subdivision will not be transferred until written approval is given by the city for the release or partial release of property held in trust. The city will not authorize any such release until the necessary improvements have been completed.
c. The agreement must contain an accurate legal description of the subdivision.
d. Special conditions or improvements unique to the subdivision shall be listed in an attached exhibit.
e. The agreement must be recorded at the time of final plat recordation.
f. The agreement must provide authorization for city to abandon the subdivision final plat and convert the property to unsubdivided land if the required improvements fail to be installed in compliance with the city's standard specifications within three (3) years:
g. The planning director, or representative, under authority vested by the city council, may extend the time specified to complete improvements for one year if the purposes of these regulations would still be served.
h. The city council may extend the time specified to complete improvements for additional terms if the purposes of these regulations would still be served.
i. The subdivider must demonstrate that progress has been made to complete improvements or that an undue hardship would result.
j. If the subdivision is sold, a new assurance agreement shall be executed concurrently with the sale.
k. Assurances shall be released as follows:
(1) After final plat approval, lots for five (5) model homes per phase can be permitted to the developer or duly authorized sales representative prior to completion of improvements. These homes shall not be sold to individual property owners or occupied for residential use until they are released for sale. Model homes will be permitted by phase and additional model homes shall not be permitted for subsequent phases until improvements are completed in the previous phase.
(2) Upon the recommendation of the city engineer, the planning director, or representative, under authority hereby vested by the city council, may release assurances upon a determination that all improvements are completed in accordance with all conditions of final plat approval.
(3) The planning director shall record a form in the county recorder's office indicating which lots have been released from an assurance agreement within a recorded subdivision.
(4) Partial releases shall only be approved for completed phases.
2. Surety (Performance) Bond, Irrevocable Letter Of Credit, Cash Or Certified Check:
a. A surety bond, irrevocable letter of credit, cash or certified check are all acceptable methods to ensure completion of improvements provided that they are submitted and accepted by the city before final plat approval.
b. A surety bond or irrevocable letter of credit used for security must be executed by a financial institution or insurer licensed to do business in the state of Arizona.
c. The total amount to be bonded or obligated must equal the cost estimate for the required improvements. A professional civil engineer licensed to practice in the state of Arizona must prepare the estimates and improvement plans. The estimates shall include all expenses that would be incurred by a third party if completing the construction, including materials, equipment, labor, engineering and supervision costs and an appropriate cost inflation factor. The estimates and preliminary construction plans shall be transmitted to the city engineer for inspection and approval. The estimates shall be in the amount necessary for the city to construct all required improvements in the event the subdivider defaults.
d. Seventy five percent (75%) of the lots can be sold and building permits issued upon recordation of the final plat and acceptance of the required security. The city council shall specify a completion date for improvements.
e. If the subdivider fails to complete the improvements upon which final plat approval was based, the city council may, after reasonable notice to the subdivider, order the cessation of all future land sales until the improvements are completed. The council at its discretion may demand payment of all security and proceed as determined necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
f. The city shall return the security upon acceptance of public improvements which shall occur within one year after completion of the improvements.
3. Other Methods Of Security: The subdivider may request that the city council approve a substitute means of improvement security. Such a request must be accompanied by the appropriate agreements and any related submittals.
B. Construction And Inspections Of Improvements: Improvements required as part of subdivision approval are the subdivider's responsibility. The city council shall not consider the acceptance, for maintenance, of any subdivision streets or other subdivision improvements unless they have been constructed and improved to the minimum Cochise County road construction standards and specifications for public improvements, floodplain regulations for Cochise County or other standards set forth in the subdivision regulations or approved by the city council. Inspection and acceptance of improvements shall proceed as follows:
1. A right of way permit application shall be submitted for streets dedicated to the public, based on the approved improvement plans, before construction is started.
2. The subdivider shall have a professional civil engineer licensed to practice in the state of Arizona supervise the construction of public and private improvements.
3. The subdivision engineer shall invite the highway and floodplain inspector and planning director or designated representative to a preconstruction meeting and ensure that highway and floodplain inspectors are involved before any construction is started. At this meeting inspections throughout construction shall be scheduled as agreed upon between the subdivision engineer and the highway and floodplain inspector.
4. The subdivision engineer shall give the inspectors two (2) days' notice for inspections.
5. Inspections shall be conducted as described in the Cochise County road construction standards and specifications for public improvements.
6. Following completion of all required improvements for the subdivision or any phase, a certificate signed and sealed by the subdivision engineer, shall be submitted to the city engineer. This certificate shall:
a. Certify that all improvements have been completed in substantial accordance with the provisions of these subdivision regulations and all other applicable city regulations and in accordance with the plans approved by the city engineer upon which approval of the final plat was based.
b. Include a report of the date that the subdivision engineer conducted inspections.
c. Include a copy of the ADEQ "Certificate Of Approval Of Construction" for water and wastewater systems.
7. Upon receipt of the certification of all completed improvements provided by the project engineer, the city inspection team, to include the city engineer or designated representatives (engineering and technical services engineer and inspector and operations supervisor) and the planning director or designated representatives, shall conduct a final inspection of improvements.
8. The city engineer shall give final approval if based on the report from the inspection team improvements are satisfactorily completed in accordance with the approved improvement plans.
9. The city will formally accept public improvements into the city's maintenance system one year after final inspection upon the determination by the city engineer that no additional public improvements are required. The applicant is responsible for any repair or reconstruction if the public improvements fail to meet the required standards during this one year period.
10. An inspection fee for public improvements in the amount as set forth in the adopted highway and floodplain fee schedule as amended from time to time shall be required.
11. An inspection fee for private improvements in the amount as set forth in the adopted planning department fee schedule as amended from time to time shall be required.
12. Existing roads that are incorporated into the subdivision circulation system and that serve existing development shall be maintained to at least the current level of service during construction of subdivision improvements. (Ord. 2005-01, 2-8-2005)