Chapter 13.80
FRANCHISES

Sections:

13.80.010    Franchise required.

13.80.020    Application.

13.80.030    Process.

13.80.040    Engineer’s report.

13.80.050    Notice of hearing.

13.80.060    Hearing.

13.80.070    Expense of proceeding.

13.80.075    Accommodation of utilities on county roads.

13.80.080    Conditions.

13.80.090    Cable television--Channel capacity designated.

13.80.092    Cable television--Annual fee.

13.80.095    Cable television--Other conditions.

13.80.100    Acceptance, recording.

13.80.110    Inspections.

13.80.120    Violations.

13.80.130    Repealed.

13.80.010 Franchise required.

A franchise shall be required by the engineer as provided in this chapter for any utility purveyor using any right-of-way, bridge, trestle or other structure of the county for the placement, construction and maintenance of one or more utilities, unless exempted by law. A franchise shall also be required where a utility easement is reserved as provided by RCW 36.87.140 and SCC 13.100.100.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 48, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-001, Feb. 15, 2012, Eff date Feb. 26, 2012).

13.80.020 Application.

An application, with requisite attachments, and an application fee in the amount specified in chapter 13.110 SCC, shall be filed with the department. The engineer shall review such application and submit a report and recommendations thereon to the executive and the council; such recommendations to be made within thirty days of the filing of a complete application.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 49, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.030 Process.

When the engineer has determined that an application for a franchise is complete, he/she shall prepare an ordinance for consideration by the council granting such franchise. The ordinance shall be accompanied by supporting exhibits consisting of:

(1) A complete franchise application.

(2) An engineer’s report with contents as specified in Section 13.80.040 SCC.

(3) A notice of public hearing as specified in Section 13.80.050 SCC.

(4) An itemized list of costs and expenses incurred in the examination and report of the proposed franchise.

(5) Proof of insurance when required under Section 13.10.100 SCC.

(6) Any exhibits and other documentation deemed necessary by the engineer to adequately explain the proposed franchise.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 50, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.040 Engineer’s report.

The engineer shall examine the proposed application for franchise and shall report to the council on the following:

(1) The name or names of the applicant or applicants.

(2) A description of the county roads or other property by reference to section, township and range, in which the existing or future county roads or portions thereof or other property to be included in the proposed franchise are physically located.

(3) A description of the types and extent of facilities owned by the company seeking the franchise.

(4) A statement addressing how the applicant intends to meet the insurance requirements of this title.

(5) A recommendation on whether the franchise should be granted or not.

(6) A recommendation on the length of the franchise if approved.

(7) Any exhibits and other documentation deemed necessary by the engineer to adequately explain the proposed franchise.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 51, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.050 Notice of hearing.

The council, after reviewing the report of the engineer may at regular council work session, modify and/or introduce the ordinance and set a public hearing for action on the report and proposed ordinance. Notice of the hearing shall be posted in three public places in the county seat of the county at least fifteen days before the day fixed for the hearing, as required by RCW 36.55.040. The council shall publish a like notice two times in the county official newspaper, the last publication to be not less than five days before the day fixed for the hearing. The notice shall state the name or names of the applicant or applicants, a description of the county roads or other property by reference to section, township and range in which the existing or future county roads or portions thereof or other property to be included in the proposed franchise are physically located, and the time and place fixed for the hearing.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 52, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.060 Hearing.

On the day fixed for the hearing, the council shall proceed to consider the report of the engineer, together with any evidence for or any objection against granting the proposed franchise. If, after the hearing, the council deems it to be for the public interest to grant the franchise in whole or in part, it shall pass an ordinance to that effect and may require the applicant to place his utility and its appurtenances in such locations over, under, along, across, and upon the county land or rights-of-way as the council finds will cause the least interference with other uses of the road or other county property involved.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 53, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.070 Expense of proceeding.

Regardless of the council’s decision to grant or not to grant the franchise, the applicant shall pay to the county road fund, upon request, the itemized costs and expenses detailed in SCC 13.80.030(4), also identified as the permit fee under SCC 13.110.010(2)(b). Payment shall be made prior to any franchise being effective, and prior to recording of any franchise in accordance with SCC 13.80.100.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 54, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.075 Accommodation of utilities on county roads.

Council Motion No. 92-417, Utility Accommodation Policy, comprises the council’s policy on accommodation of utilities on county rights-of-way. It is written to meet the requirements of WAC 136-40, and is known as the Snohomish County Utility Policy. This policy is hereby incorporated into this title.

It is the policy of the council to comply with the requirements of WAC 136-40 concerning the accommodation of utilities on Snohomish County roads. Policies and administrative procedures complying with the utility policy requirements as contained within WAC 136-40-020 and as incorporated into this motion, are contained within Title 13 S.C.C. (especially Chapters 13.01, 13.05, 13.10 and Development Standards (EDD Standards) (Chapter 10) as published by the department of public works.

A copy of any amendments to Title 13 or the EDD Standards affecting this utility policy shall be forwarded to the county road administration board (CRAB) within thirty days of such adoption in accordance with WAC 136-40-050.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 55, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.080 Conditions.

Franchises are subject to the following:

(1) The conditions contained in Chapter 36.55 RCW, including:

(a) Any person constructing or operating any utility on or along a county road shall be liable to the county for all necessary expense incurred in restoring the county road to a suitable condition for travel as determined by the engineer.

(b) No exclusive franchise or privilege shall be granted.

(c) The facilities of the holder of any such franchise shall be removed at the expense of the holder thereof, to some other location on such county road in the event said road is to be constructed, altered, or improved or becomes a primary state highway and such removal is reasonably necessary for the construction, alteration, or improvement thereof.

(2) The conditions contained in Snohomish County Charter, Section 9.20:

(a) No franchise shall be granted for a period of longer than twenty-five years.

(b) All franchises shall be subject to the power of eminent domain and the right of the council or the people acting for themselves through the initiative or referendum to repeal, amend or modify the franchise in the interest of the public; and every ordinance granting a franchise shall contain a reservation of these rights. In any proceeding under eminent domain the franchise itself shall have no value.

(3) Applicable sections of this title, including SCC 13.10.090, hold harmless, and the county utility policy per SCC 13.80.070.

(4) All construction or installation of poles, cables, or other improvements, or the service, repair or relocation of the same, performed along, over and/or under the county roads, rights-of-way, or other county property subject to said franchise shall be done in such manner so as to not interfere with the construction and maintenance of other facilities, public or private, drains, drainage ditches and structures located there, nor the maintenance or improvement of such county roads, rights-of-way, or other county properties.

(5) Such other conditions as the council deems to be in the public interest and appropriate to protect county property and the public and facilitate its use of the right-of-way for transportation. The council may determine that a franchise shall be granted for a period of less than the maximum referenced in SCC 13.80.080(2)(a).

(6) All terms and conditions of the franchise are burdens upon the successors and assigns of the grantee, and all privileges as well as all obligations and liabilities of the grantee inure to its successors and assigns equally as if they were specifically mentioned wherever the grantee is mentioned. Neither the franchise nor any interest therein shall be leased, sold, transferred, assigned, disposed of, or subject to a change of control, in whole or part, either by forced or involuntary action, or by voluntary action, without the prior written consent of the council.

(7) Applicable local, state, and federal laws, including applicable sections of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the Telecommunication Act of 1996, and any future amendments shall apply. Conditions contained within this chapter, as applicable to cable television, may also apply to the use of other television or voice, video, data communication devices, where consistent with applicable laws.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 56, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.090 Cable television--Channel capacity designated.

(1) If the council determines there is an identified need for designation of channel capacity for public, educational, and/or governmental use, the council may require the franchisee to designate such channel capacity and to provide such facilities, equipment, and services as are reasonably sufficient to meet community needs.

(2) The council specifically reserves authority to re-open contract negotiations for the purpose of negotiating the number of channels and the scope of facilities, equipment, and services to be provided by the franchisee for public, educational and government use.

(3) If, after negotiations between the franchisee and the county, the parties are unable to agree on the need for any particular form of access channels, the number and/or designation of access channels, and/or the amount of facilities or equipment and services to be provided by the franchise, the county and franchisee shall agree to submit these issued to binding arbitration. The county shall pick one arbitrator, the franchisee shall choose a second arbitrator, and these two arbitrators will choose a third arbitrator, to compose a three person arbitration panel. The cost of arbitration shall be paid by the franchisee.

(4) After hearing evidence and reviewing documents submitted by both the franchisee and the county, the vote of the majority of the panel will be binding on both parties.

(5) Any designation of channel capacity for public, educational, or governmental use shall be in accordance with applicable local, state, and federal laws, including applicable sections of the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992, the Telecommunication Act of 1996, and any future amendments.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 57, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.092 Cable television--Annual fee.

(1) Cable television (CATV) companies shall as a condition of operation, pay to the county an annual fee consisting of five percent (5%) of the gross revenue, less bad debts received annually by the CATV company for services rendered to customers within the areas of the county roads covered by their franchise.

(2) The council shall retain the authority to modify, by ordinance, the five percent (5%) gross revenue fee at any time during the life of the franchise. This annual fee shall be remitted by the forty-fifth (45th) day from the first day of January of each year the CATV company is in operation in Snohomish County, and shall be accompanied by an annual report in a form approved by the department.

(3) The CATV company shall provide all necessary records so that the county may determine this fee and the county, or its authorized agents, shall have the right to inspect the books and records of the CATV company at reasonable times for the purpose of ascertaining accurately the CATV company’s actual gross receipts per annum.

(4) All financial books and records of the CATV company shall be retained in their original form for this purpose, for a minimum of six (6) years from the date of such records for each year the franchise is in effect, in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 40.14 RCW as they apply to any agency of the state of Washington.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 58, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.095 Cable television--Other conditions.

(1) All cable television franchises shall be subject to all federal laws and regulations, which shall control over sections of this chapter.

(2) A cable television franchisee shall ensure that:

(a) Its cable television system operates safely and effectively;

(b) The cost of the installation, construction, operation, or removal of such facilities is borne by the franchisee or, to the extent permitted by law, its subscribers;

(c) It provides just compensation to the owner of any property damaged by the franchisee’s installation, construction, operation, or removal its facilities; and

(d) Access to cable service is not denied to any group of potential residential cable subscribers because of the income of the residents of the local area in which such group resides.

(3) All cable television franchises shall be subject to all applicable fees under Section 13.110 SCC.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 59, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996; Amended by Ord. 08-103, Aug. 27, 2008, Eff date Sept. 6, 2008).

13.80.100 Acceptance, recording.

No franchise shall be effective until accepted by the franchisee, acceptance evidenced by the franchisee so indicating on a copy of such franchise and returning it to the council. The council shall submit the franchise to the county auditor for recording as required by RCW 36.55.080.

(Added Ord. 85-051, § 3, July 3, 1985; Amended Ord. 96-028, § 60, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.110 Inspections.

In order to insure that franchisees restore and repair county rights-of-way and county property thereon, the following examinations and inspections will be performed by the department of planning and development services and/or other affected county departments:

(1) Examinations, inspection and approval of plans and specifications submitted by the franchisee;

(2) Examination, inspection and approval of construction and restoration work consequent to breaking of soil of the county roads or rights-of-way for the purpose of laying, relaying, connecting, disconnecting and repairing utilities transmission lines, conduits and other facilities;

(3) Permits may be issued in accordance with chapter 13.10 SCC for the franchisee’s activities within the right-of-way and a reasonable fee may be charged for the performance of necessary examinations and inspections in accordance with chapter 13.110 SCC.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 61, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996).

13.80.120 Violations.

(1) It shall be unlawful for any utility purveyor, single user utility purveyor, or other person, to make, or use any unauthorized connection, whether physically, electrically, acoustically, inductively, or otherwise, with a part of a franchise system within this county for the purpose of enabling such utility purveyor, single user purveyor, or other person to receive or use any service without payment to the owner of said system.

(2) It shall be unlawful for any utility purveyor, single user purveyor, or other person, without the consent of the owner, to willfully tamper with, remove or injure any equipment or facilities used for the distribution of the franchisee’s services.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 62, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996; Amended by Amended Ord. 12-001, Feb. 15, 2012, Eff date Feb. 26, 2012).

13.80.130 Default.

Repealed by Ordinance No. 08-103, adopted on Aug. 27, 2008; Effective September 6, 2008.

(Added Ord. 96-028, § 63, June 12, 1996, Eff date June 29, 1996; Repealed by Ord. 08-103, Aug. 27, 2008, Eff date Sept. 6, 2008).