Chapter 12.16


12.16.010    Definitions.

12.16.020    Underground Utility Advisory Committee created – Purpose.

12.16.030    Public hearing – By Council.

12.16.040    Public hearing – Report of City Manager.

12.16.050    Districts – Designation – Reasons for establishment.

12.16.060    Unlawful acts.

12.16.070    Exception, emergency or unusual circumstances.

12.16.080    Other exceptions.

12.16.090    Notice to property owners and utility companies.

12.16.100    Responsibility of utility companies.

12.16.110    Responsibility of property owners.

12.16.120    Responsibility of City.

12.16.130    Extension of time.

12.16.010 Definitions.

Whenever in this chapter the words or phrases hereinafter in this section defined are used, they shall have the respective meanings assigned to them in the following definitions:

“Commission” means and includes the Public Utilities Commission of the State.

“Person” means and includes individuals, firms, corporations, partnerships, and their agents and employees.

“Poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures” means poles, towers, supports, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, crossarms, braces, transformers, insulators, cutouts, switches, communication circuits, appliances, attachments and appurtenances located above ground within a district and used or useful in supplying electric, communication or similar or associated service.

“Underground utility district” or “district” means 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 LEMC 12.16.050.

“Utility” includes all persons or entities supplying electric, communication or similar or associated service by means of electrical materials or devices. [Ord. 456 § 1, 1968].

12.16.020 Underground Utility Advisory Committee created – Purpose.

There is created an Underground Utility Advisory Committee consisting of the Mayor, City Manager and City Engineer and, in addition, a representative of the Southern California Edison Company, a representative of the General Telephone Company, and a representative from any other utility company that may have overhead utilities in the City. The Mayor shall act as chairman of this advisory committee. The purpose of this committee is to coordinate work and plans in connection with the purposes of this chapter and would resolve the problems in connection with the creation of long-range underground plans as well as questions concerning technical matters as well as exceptions to be included in any provisions of any ordinance or resolutions necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter. The Committee shall report to the City Council all of their findings and recommendations. [Ord. 456 § 2, 1968].

12.16.030 Public hearing – By Council.

The Council may, from time to time, call public hearings to ascertain whether the 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. 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 10 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 Council shall be final and conclusive. [Ord. 456 § 3, 1968].

12.16.040 Public hearing – Report of City Manager.

Prior to holding such public hearing, the City Manager 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 cost 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. [Ord. 456 § 4, 1968].

12.16.050 Districts – Designation – Reasons for establishment.

A. If, after any such public hearing, the Council finds that the public necessity, health, safety or welfare requires such removal and such underground installation within a designated area, the 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.

B. Districts shall be established for one of the following reasons:

1. The undergrounding to be accomplished pursuant to this chapter will avoid or eliminate an unusually heavy concentration of overhead distribution facilities.

2. The streets, roads, or rights-of-way in the district are extensively used by the general public and carry a heavy volume of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.

3. The said streets, roads, or rights-of-way join or pass through (use one or more of the following as appropriate):

a. A civic area;

b. A public recreation area;

c. An area of unusual scenic interest to the general public. [Ord. 456 § 5, 1968].

12.16.060 Unlawful acts.

Whenever the Council creates an underground utility district and orders the removal of poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures therein as provided in LEMC 12.16.050, it is unlawful for any person or utility to erect, construct, place, keep, maintain, continue, employ or operate poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures in the district after the date when said overhead facilities are required to be removed by such resolution, except as said 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 for such owner or occupant to continue to receive utility service as provided in LEMC 12.16.110, and for such reasonable time required to remove said facilities after said work has been performed, and except as otherwise provided in this chapter. [Ord. 456 § 6, 1968].

12.16.070 Exception, emergency or unusual circumstances.

Notwithstanding the provisions of this chapter, overhead facilities may be installed and maintained for a period not to exceed 10 days, without authority of the Council, in order to provide emergency service. The Council may grant special permission, on such terms as the 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. [Ord. 456 § 7, 1968].

12.16.080 Other exceptions.

In any resolution adopted pursuant to LEMC 12.16.050, the City may authorize any or all of the following exceptions:

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 building 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. Antennas, 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;

H. Temporary poles, overhead wires and associated overhead structures used or to be used in conjunction with construction projects. [Ord. 456 § 8, 1968].

12.16.090 Notice to property owners and utility companies.

Within 10 days after the effective date of a resolution adopted pursuant to LEMC 12.16.050, the City Clerk shall notify all affected utilities and all persons owning real property within the district created by said resolution of the adoption thereof. The 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.

Notification by the City Clerk shall be made by mailing a copy of the resolution adopted pursuant to LEMC 12.16.050, together with a copy of this chapter, to affected property owners as such are shown on the last equalized assessment roll and to the affected utilities. [Ord. 456 § 9, 1968].

12.16.100 Responsibility of utility companies.

If underground construction is necessary to provide utility service within a district created by a resolution adopted pursuant to LEMC 12.16.050, 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. [Ord. 456 § 10, 1968].

12.16.110 Responsibility of property owners.

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 LEMC 12.16.100 and the termination facility on or within said 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 LEMC 12.16.050, 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 10 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 U.S. 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 Lake Elsinore; 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 10 inches in size, to be posted in a conspicuous place on such premises.

C. The notice given by the City Engineer will provide such required underground facilities, in which case the cost and expense thereof will be assessed against the property benefited and become a lien upon such property.

D. If upon the expiration of the 30-day period, the said 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 shall, in lieu of providing the required underground facilities, have the authority to order the disconnection and removal of any and all overhead service wires and associated facilities supplying utility service to said property. Upon completion of the work by the City Engineer, he 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. The Council shall thereupon fix a time and place for hearing protests against the assessment of the cost of such work upon such premises, which time shall not be less than 10 days thereafter.

E. The City Engineer shall forthwith, upon the time for hearing such protests having been fixed, give a notice in writing thereof to the owner thereof, in the manner herein-above provided for the giving of the notice to provide the required underground facilities, of the time and place that the 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 Council shall hear and consider the report and all protests, if there are any, and then proceed to affirm, modify or reject the assessment.

G. If any assessment is not paid within five days after its confirmation by the Council, the amount of the assessment shall become a lien upon the property against which the assessment is made by the City Engineer, and the City Engineer is directed to turn over to the assessor and Tax Collector a notice of lien on each of said properties on which the assessment has not been paid, and said assessor and Tax Collector shall add the amount of said assessment to the next regular bill for taxes levied against the premises upon which said assessment was not paid. Said assessment shall be due and payable at the same time as said property taxes are due and payable, and if not paid when due and payable shall bear interest at the rate of six percent per year. [Ord. 456 § 11(g), 1968].

12.16.120 Responsibility of City.

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 LEMC 12.16.050. [Ord. 456 § 12, 1968].

12.16.130 Extension of time.

In the event that any act required by this chapter or by a resolution adopted pursuant to LEMC 12.16.050 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. [Ord. 456 § 13, 1968].


For statutory provisions on conversion of electrical and communication facilities to underground locations, see Streets and Highways Code § 5896.1 et seq.; for provisions on assessments for the same, see Government Code § 38793.