Chapter 9.74
UNDERGROUND UTILITY DISTRICTS

Sections:

9.74.010    Title for citation.

9.74.020    Definitions.

9.74.030    Districts designated by resolution.

9.74.040    Undergrounding required—Exceptions.

9.74.050    Emergency installations.

9.74.060    Exceptions—Permit requirements.

9.74.070    Exceptions—Existing lines.

9.74.080    Temporary aboveground installations.

9.74.090    Undergrounding—Notice to property owners.

9.74.100    Undergrounding—Property owner responsibilities.

9.74.110    Violation—Penalty.

9.74.010 Title for citation.

This chapter shall be known as the “underground utilities district ordinance of the County of Santa Cruz.” [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.010].

9.74.020 Definitions.

As used in this chapter:

(A)    “Board of Supervisors” means the Board of Supervisors of the County of Santa Cruz.

(B)    “Director of Public Works” means the Director of Public Works of the County of Santa Cruz.

(C)    “Person” means and includes any individual, firm or corporation, public or private, the State of California and its agencies and political subdivisions, the United States of America and its agencies and instrumentalities, and any agent, servant or employee of the foregoing.

(D)    “Planning Commission” means the Planning Commission of the County of Santa Cruz.

(E)    “Utilities” means and includes all gas, electric transmission, electric distribution, drainage, water, sewer, telephone, telegraph and television lines, cable, wires, pipes, pipelines, conduits, ducts, poles, towers and similar devices used in conjunction with any of the foregoing purposes or similar purposes, and shall also include all structures and appurtenances used therewith. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.020].

9.74.030 Districts designated by resolution.

The Board of Supervisors may, from time to time, call public hearings to ascertain whether the public necessity, health, safety or general welfare requires the installation of all utilities underground within a particular area within the unincorporated section of the County of Santa Cruz. The County Clerk shall publish a notice of intention to establish an underground utilities district twice, pursuant to Government Code Section 6062(a), except that if the Board of Supervisors requires the undergrounding of existing facilities, the County Clerk shall notify all affected property owners and utility companies by mail of the time and date of such hearings at least 15 days prior to the date thereof. If, after any such public hearing, the Board finds that the public necessity, health, safety or general welfare requires underground installation of utilities within the particular area, the Board shall, by resolution, declare the area to be an underground utilities district. [Ord. 3620 § 8, 1985; Ord. 2203, 1975; Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.030].

9.74.040 Undergrounding required—Exceptions.

In any underground utilities district, all utilities, except as provided in SCCC 9.74.060, shall be installed underground. There shall be no poles, overhead lines or associated aboveground structures, except:

(A)    Poles without overhead lines used exclusively for fire alarm boxes, lighting purposes, or traffic control;

(B)    Pedestal-mounted terminal boxes and associated appurtenances used for telephone or electric services, provided such boxes shall be no more than three feet in height and shall be of no greater diameter than 20 inches. Such dimensions may be exceeded with the approval of the Planning Commission;

(C)    Water tanks, transformers and associated appurtenances, provided they are screened and landscaped to the satisfaction of the Planning Commission;

(D)    Utilities may be placed on a structure which exists for a purpose other than as a support for the utility and may be extended to another such structure or structures on the same lot or parcel; provided, that such placement and extension do not interfere with the primary functions of the structure, and do not, in the opinion of the Planning Commission, unduly detract from the appearance of the structure or structures;

(E)    Radio antennas, their associated equipment, and supporting structures used by a utility or government agency for furnishing communications services. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.040].

9.74.050 Emergency installations.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the aboveground installation of utilities in any underground utilities district in case of emergency, such as fire, flood, earthquake and similar disasters; provided, that such utilities shall be removed or placed underground as soon as the emergency ceases to exist. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.060].

9.74.060 Exceptions—Permit requirements.

In an underground utilities district, the Board of Supervisors may grant a special permit, after hearing with notice to all interested persons, upon such terms as it deems appropriate, to erect, construct, install, maintain, use or operate poles and overhead lines and associated aboveground structures in cases of emergency, or where undergrounding is not technically possible, or where topographical, soil or any other conditions make underground installations unreasonable or impractical. Applications for such special permits shall be filed with the Director of Public Works, who shall, within 30 days of the filing of the application, transmit to the Board of Supervisors the application and any recommendation which he may have regarding the granting or denial of such application. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.050].

9.74.070 Exceptions—Existing lines.

The provisions of this chapter shall not require the undergrounding of utilities which are in operation in an underground utilities district on the date when that area is declared to be an underground utilities district, except when the Board of Supervisors finds that the public interest, health, safety or general welfare requires that such utilities be placed underground. Where the Board of Supervisors so finds, the provisions of SCCC 9.74.090 and 9.74.100 shall apply. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.070].

9.74.080 Temporary aboveground installations.

Nothing in this chapter shall be construed to prevent the aboveground installation of utilities in any underground utilities district on a temporary basis when such utilities are required for a construction project; provided, however, that such utilities shall be removed or placed underground within 60 days after completion of the project. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.065].

9.74.090 Undergrounding—Notice to property owners.

(A)    Within 10 days after the passage of a resolution in which the Board has made the finding prescribed in SCCC 9.74.030 or 9.74.070, the County Clerk shall publish the resolution in a newspaper of general circulation, except that in those cases where the Board of Supervisors has required the undergrounding of existing facilities, then the County Clerk shall, within 10 days after the passage of the resolution, notify all affected utility companies and all persons owning real property within the underground district, or that portion thereof with respect to which the Board of Supervisors has made such finding, of the adoption of the resolution. In the event the Board of Supervisors requires the undergrounding of existing facilities, the Clerk shall further notify such property owners of the necessity that, if they or any person occupying such property desire to continue to receive utility 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 company or companies at a new location.

(B)    Notification shall be made by mailing a copy of the resolution, together with a copy of this chapter, to the affected utility companies and to affected property owners, as such are shown on the last equalized tax roll of the County. [Ord. 2203, 1975; Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.071].

9.74.100 Undergrounding—Property owner responsibilities.

(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 structures being served shall be provided by the person owning, operating, leasing or renting such property.

(B)    In the event the person owning, operating, leasing or renting the property does not comply with the provisions of subsection (A) of this section, the Director of Public Works shall have the authority to order the disconnection and removal of any and all overhead service wires and associated facilities supplying utility service to the property.

(C)    Noncompliance by any person owning, operating, leasing or renting the property with the provisions of this section shall constitute a misdemeanor under SCCC 9.74.110.

(D)    Until such time as an order is issued pursuant to subsection (B) of this section, the supplying utility company shall not be in violation of this chapter or the resolution adopted pursuant to SCCC 9.74.030 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. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.073].

9.74.110 Violation—Penalty.

Any person violating or causing or permitting the violation of any of the provisions of this chapter shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and shall be punishable therefor by a fine of not more than $500.00, or by imprisonment in the County jail for a period of not more than six months, or by both such fine and imprisonment. Each consecutive 15-day period during which the failure to comply with the provisions of this chapter shall continue shall constitute a separate offense. [Ord. 1067, 1965; prior code § 8.90.080].