Chapter 12.16


12.16.010    Definitions.

12.16.020    Permit required to perform work in right-of-way.

12.16.030    Timing and continuing responsibility.

12.16.040    Permit terms and conditions.

12.16.050    Revocation notice and removal of work.

12.16.060    Failure to comply.

12.16.070    Emergency.

12.16.080    Bond.

12.16.090    Permit – Term – Fee.

12.16.100    Violations – Penalties.

12.16.110    Failure to remove work.

12.16.010 Definitions.

The term “work,” as used in this chapter, shall include actions or attempts designed to use, open, alter, excavate, cut, fill, disturb, repair, replace, grade, or break the surface of any county right-of-way including construction, installation of improvements, appurtenances, utilities and services-related hardware. The placing of new wire on existing poles and the routine maintenance and repair of all existing overhead wires, including the existing poles supporting these wires, is not included in this term. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 1).

12.16.020 Permit required to perform work in right-of-way.

Any person or persons, corporation, district, municipality, city, town or utility who shall desire to work within or temporarily use the county right-of-way, easement or county-owned land shall first procure from the department of public works a revocable encroachment permit. The director of public works or the county engineer shall grant such permit subject upon the terms and conditions set forth herein. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 2).

12.16.030 Timing and continuing responsibility.

A. The person, corporation, district, municipality, city, town or utility which will perform the work must obtain the permit before beginning unless the emergency exemption applies. The engineer’s office must be notified as to street address and permit number 24 hours in advance of construction if underground utilities are ready to be covered, and again when all work is completed. The permittee must remedy and correct any and all discrepancies cited by the inspecting authority immediately upon written notice of correction furnished to the address of record listed on the permit unless waived by the department.

B. The county engineer, or his designee, under the direction of the department of public works shall be the inspecting authority responsible to investigate and inspect all work undertaken within the county right-of-way to determine that a permit has been obtained, that the work is in full compliance with the terms of the permit, county development standards, buildings and code administration requirements, other laws and regulations and that all corrections and remedies are made within the period of time required in the notice of correction or within a reasonable time if none is stated. The county engineer shall keep a record of all inspections made, instructions and directions issued and respond to each notice of correction for each permit. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 3).

12.16.040 Permit terms and conditions.

A. The party requesting such a permit shall apply at the department of public works engineering by completing and signing an application request and by furnishing additional information regarding such work as requested by the division, including, but not limited to:

1. A map or plan showing the location of the work and a full description of the work desired to be done along with adequate exhibits to illustrate its size, type, nature and extent;

2. A summarization of the effects of the work on the safety, aesthetics and natural features of the right-of-way;

3. An estimate of the time required to complete the work.

B. All work shall be performed in accordance with county development standards, the plans and specifications submitted with the application, as specified in permit conditions or notice of correction.

C. When a street closure is required, a diagram of the proposed traffic control and/or detours complete with all signing required must be submitted prior to issuance of a permit. In no case shall any permit allow or permit the obstruction of more than one-half of any road right-of-way nor shall such obstruction be less than three feet from any railroad track along or over such road right-of-way, nor as to close up any roadway against the passage of vehicles; provided, however, that when it is the determination of the director of public works and/or the county engineer that such closure is necessary for the safety of the traveling public, the director of public works and/or the county engineer shall at all times have the authority to regulate the use of the road right-of-way.

D. These permits shall become null and void if work pursuant to the permit is not commenced within 180 days of the date of approval, or if the work is suspended or abandoned for a period of 180 days at any time after work is commenced. The director of public works and/or the county engineer shall have the authority to extend any permit up to 180 days for good cause.

E. A permit may be denied or revoked if the proposed use is inconsistent with the county’s present or future right to utilize the right-of-way for street purposes, or is not in the county’s or the public’s best interest, is unsafe, or in any way would be detrimental to either the county or public. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 4).

12.16.050 Revocation notice and removal of work.

The granting of the permit is subject to revocation by a written notice of revocation delivered to the last address of record with the department. Following revocation, the permittee shall remove the work at their own expense. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 5).

12.16.060 Failure to comply.

If the permittee fails, neglects or refuses to comply with any of the terms or conditions of the permit, or orders and directions of the director of public works or county engineer’s office or designee, then the director or engineer shall have full authority to suspend pending correction or cancel and revoke the permit following which it shall be the duty of the permittee and property owner to remove all work from the right-of-way to its original condition. On failure to do so within the time specified in the correction notice required under WCC 12.16.030(B), the county may remove and repair at the expense of the permittee and owner. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 6).

12.16.070 Emergency.

It is unlawful to work until a valid permit has been issued and paid for except in case of emergency. When regard for health or safety and the circumstances do not permit compliance with this process prior to or simultaneous with the work, the work may be performed on an emergency basis, provided the engineer or director of public works is notified at the earliest possible time, in no case later than the next working day, which notice shall give full details of the work done and work yet to be performed. A permit shall be obtained the first working day following the emergency work. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 7).

12.16.080 Bond.

Prior to issuance of a revocable encroachment permit to work within a county right-of-way easement or other county permit, the director of public works or county engineer may require the posting of a bond in an amount sufficient to secure completion and restoration. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 8).

12.16.090 Permit – Term – Fee.

Before any revocable encroachment permit may be granted under the provisions of this chapter, the applicant applying for such permit must pay to the department of public works the applicable fees as hereinafter set forth in the Whatcom County unified fee schedule for each calendar year, or any part thereof.

Fees for temporary occupancy or encroachment on county roads or county rights-of-way for purposes not identified in the above schedule shall be determined by the director of public works and/or the county engineer. Fee schedule may be waived or adjusted in the discretion of the director of public works and/or the county engineer based upon an estimate of the service offered in review of the proposed work. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 9).

12.16.100 Violations – Penalties.

A. Any person or entity who enters upon any county right-of-way, easement or county property for the purpose of performing any work therein without first securing and holding a valid revocable encroachment permit required for such work is guilty of a misdemeanor and subject upon conviction to a fine of up to $500.00 for each offense and any agent of such who participates in or in any manner directs or aids in the conduct of such work without such permit shall also, upon conviction, be held to be in violation of this chapter, guilty of a misdemeanor, and subject to the penalties prescribed above. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.

B. In addition, unless the work is removed and the property restored, the offending party shall comply with this chapter by obtaining a permit, the fee for which shall be doubled. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 10).

12.16.110 Failure to remove work.

It is also a misdemeanor for any person or entity to fail to remove such work which was performed and restore the property to original condition following revocation or to fail to correct such defects as are cited in the notice of correction when demand is made by the director of public works or the county engineer. (Ord. 2006-046 (Exh. A); Ord. 88-79 § 11).