Division II. Other Improvements

Chapter 12.60
UNDERGROUND UTILITY DISTRICTS*

*    Editor’s Note: As originally adopted, this chapter was designated as Chapter 12.44. It was renumbered to be Chapter 12.60 at the direction of the city clerk at the time of the 1995 republication.

Sections:

12.60.010    Definitions.

12.60.020    Council may designate underground utility districts by resolution.

12.60.030    Overhead wires – Unlawful to maintain poles.

12.60.040    Overhead wires – Exception by special permission.

12.60.050    Exceptions.

12.60.060    Overhead wires – Notification of affected property owners and utilities.

12.60.070    Overhead wires – Underground construction.

12.60.080    Overhead wires – Property owner’s responsibility.

12.60.090    Service of notice.

12.60.100    Contents of notice.

12.60.110    Performance of work by city – Assessment.

12.60.120    Notice of assessment.

12.60.130    Hearing and confirmation of assessment.

12.60.140    Assessment as lien.

12.60.150    Overhead wires – Obligation of city.

12.60.160    Overhead wires – Force majeure.

12.60.010 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:

(1)    “City” means the city of Santa Cruz, a municipal corporation of the state of California.

(2)    “Commission” means the Public Utilities Commission of the state of California.

(3)    “Council” means the city council of the city.

(4)    “Underground utility district” or “district” means an area in the city within which poles and overhead wires and associated overhead structures are prohibited by a resolution adopted pursuant to the provisions of Section 12.60.020.

(5)    “Person” means and includes individuals, firms, corporations, copartnerships, and their agents and employees.

(6)    “Poles and overhead wires and associated overhead structures” mean poles, towers, supports, wires, conductors, guys, stubs, platforms, cross-arms, braces, transformers, insulators, cut-outs, switches, communication circuits, appliances, attachments and appurtenances located above ground upon, along, across or over the streets, alleys and ways of the city and used or useful in supplying electric, communication or similar or associated service.

(7)    “Utility” includes all persons or entities supplying electric, communication or similar or associated service by means of electrical materials or devices.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7910).

12.60.020 COUNCIL MAY DESIGNATE UNDERGROUND UTILITY DISTRICTS BY RESOLUTION.

The council may, from time to time, call public hearings to ascertain whether the public necessity, health or safety requires the removal of poles and overhead wires and associated overhead structures from the streets, alleys and ways within designated areas of the city. The city clerk shall notify all affected property owners and utilities by mail of the time and place of such hearings at least ten days prior to the date thereof. If, after any such public hearing, the council finds that the public necessity, health or safety requires such removal, the council shall, by resolution, declare such area an underground utility district. Such resolution shall include a description of the area comprising such district and shall fix the time within which such poles and overhead wires and associated overhead structures shall be removed and within which affected property owners must be ready to receive underground service. The council shall allow a reasonable time for such removal, having due regard for the availability of necessary labor, materials, and equipment for such removal and for the installation of such underground facilities as may be occasioned thereby

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7911).

12.60.030 OVERHEAD WIRES – UNLAWFUL TO MAINTAIN POLES.

Whenever the council by resolution declares an area of city an underground utility district as provided in Section 12.60.020, it shall be unlawful for any person or utility to maintain any pole, overhead wire or associated overhead structure on any street, alley or way within the district after the date when the facilities are required to be removed.

Any person or utility who shall erect, construct, place, keep, maintain, continue, employ or operate any such pole or overhead wire or associated overhead structure on any street, alley or way within the district, or who shall neglect to take down and remove any such pole, overhead wire or associated overhead structure within the time designated in said resolution, or who shall otherwise fail to comply with the provisions of this chapter, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punishable by a fine not to exceed five hundred dollars. Each consecutive fifteen-day period during which the failure to comply with the provisions hereof shall continue shall constitute a separate offense.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7912).

12.60.040 OVERHEAD WIRES – EXCEPTION BY SPECIAL PERMISSION.

The council may grant special permission, on such terms as the council may deem appropriate, in cases of emergency or unusual circumstances, without discrimination as to any person or utility, to erect, construct, install, maintain, use or operate poles and overhead wires and associated overhead structures, notwithstanding any other provisions of this part.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7912.1).

12.60.050 EXCEPTIONS.

This part and any resolution enacted pursuant to Section 12.60.020 shall not apply to the following types of facilities:

(1)    Poles used exclusively for police and fire alarm boxes or any similar municipal equipment installed under the supervision and to the satisfaction of the city engineer;

(2)    Poles and overhead wires and associated overhead structures used exclusively for street lighting;

(3)    Overhead wires attached to the exterior surface of a building by means of a bracket or other fixture and extended from one location on the building to another location on the same building or to an adjacent building on the same lot or parcel without crossing any street;

(4)    Radio antennae, their associated equipment and supporting structures, used by a utility for furnishing communication services; or

(5)    Service terminals, in pedestals above ground, used to distribute communication service in underground systems.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7912.2).

12.60.060 OVERHEAD WIRES – NOTIFICATION OF AFFECTED PROPERTY OWNERS AND UTILITIES.

Within ten days after the passage of a resolution pursuant to Section 12.60.020, the city clerk shall notify all affected utilities and all persons owning real property within the district described in said resolution of the adoption thereof. The city clerk shall further notify the property owners of the necessity that if they or any person occupying such property desire to continue to receive electric, communication or other 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, subject to applicable rules, regulations and tariffs of the respective utility or utilities on file with the commission and to the requirements of state laws and city ordinances.

Notification shall be made by mailing a copy of said resolution, together with a copy of this chapter, to the affected utilities and to affected property owners as such are shown on the last equalized assessment roll of the city.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7913).

12.60.070 OVERHEAD WIRES UNDERGROUND CONSTRUCTION.

If underground construction is necessary to provide utility service within the area affected by any resolution adopted pursuant to Section 12.60.020, 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. Underground construction by the utility shall be accomplished in accordance with the rules and regulations authorized by the commission, and shall be completed within the time for removal of overhead facilities specified in the resolution enacted pursuant to Section 12.60.020.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964 prior code § 7914).

12.60.080 OVERHEAD WIRES – PROPERTY OWNERS’ RESPONSIBILITY.

(a)    All conduits, conductors and associated equipment necessary to receive utility service between service conductors or underground pipe or conduit of the supplying utility and the service facilities in the building or structure being served shall be provided by the person owning, operating, leasing or renting said property, subject to applicable rules, regulations and tariffs of the respective utility or utilities on file with the commission and to the lawful requirements of state laws and city ordinances.

(b)    In the event the person owning, operating, leasing or renting said property does not comply with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section within the time provided for in the resolution enacted pursuant to Section 12.60.020, the city engineer shall give notice in writing to the owner thereof, to provide the required underground facilities within ten days after receipt of such notice.

(c)    Noncompliance by any person owning, operating, leasing or renting said property with the provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor under Section 12.60.030. Until the expiration of the ten days specified in the notice to the property owner, as provided in subsection (b) of this section, the supplying utility shall not be in violation of this part or the resolution enacted pursuant to Section 12.60.020 in continuing to maintain overhead facilities necessary to serve such person during the period of such noncompliance and such reasonable time thereafter as may be necessary to remove the same.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7915).

12.60.090 SERVICE OF NOTICE.

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 United States 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 for the city of Santa Cruz, and when no address appears, to General Delivery, city of Santa Cruz. 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 forty-eight 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 forty-eight hours after the mailing thereof, cause a copy thereof, printed on a card not less than eight inches by ten inches in size, to be posted in a conspicuous place on the premises.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7915.1).

12.60.100 CONTENTS OF NOTICE.

The notice given by the city engineer to provide the required underground facilities shall particularly specify what work is required to be done, and shall state that if said work is not completed within ten days after receipt of such notice, 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.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7915.2).

12.60.110 PERFORMANCE OF WORK BY CITY – ASSESSMENT.

If upon the expiration of the ten-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 electricity is being furnished thereto, the city engineer may in lieu of providing the required underground facilities cause to be disconnected all existing electrical connections used for furnishing electricity to such premises. Upon completion of the work by the city engineer, he shall file a written report with the 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 said time shall be not less than ten days thereafter.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7916).

12.60.120 NOTICE OF ASSESSMENT.

The city engineer shall forthwith, upon the time for hearing such protests having been fixed, give a notice in writing to the person in possession of such premises, and a notice in writing thereof to the owner thereof, in the manner hereinabove 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.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7917).

12.60.130 HEARING AND CONFIRMATION OF ASSESSMENT.

Upon the date and hour set for the hearing of protests, the council shall hear and consider the report and all protests, if there be any, and then proceed to affirm, modify or reject the assessment.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7917.1).

12.60.140 ASSESSMENT AS LIEN.

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 county auditor, county assessor, and tax collector acting for the city of Santa Cruz a notice of lien on each of said properties on which the assessment has not been paid, and the county auditor, county assessor and tax collector shall add the amount of the 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. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7917.2).

12.60.150 OVERHEAD WIRES – OBLIGATION OF CITY.

City shall remove its police and fire alarm circuits or any similar municipal equipment at its own expense 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 Section 12.60.020.

(Ord. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7918).

12.60.160 OVERHEAD WIRES – FORCE MAJEURE.

In the event that any act required by this chapter or by a resolution enacted pursuant to Section 12.60.020 cannot be performed within the time provided on account of shortage of materials, war, restraint by public authorities, strikes, labor disturbances, 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. NS 602, 1964: prior code § 7919).