Chapter 12.40


12.40.010    Undergrounding – Policy.

12.40.020    Undergrounding – Purpose.

12.40.030    Undergrounding – Scope.

12.40.040    Facilities excepted.

12.40.050    Cost.

12.40.060    Permits and fees.

12.40.070    Undergrounding requirements.

12.40.080    Service connection requirements.

12.40.090    Street lighting.

12.40.100    Connections and disconnections of affected service.

12.40.110    Site screening.

12.40.120    As-built drawings.

12.40.130    Joint trenches.

12.40.140    Request for waiver.

12.40.010 Undergrounding – Policy.

It is the policy of the city to require the underground installation of all new electrical and communication facilities, with certain exceptions noted in this chapter. The city council finds that the convenience, health, safety, and general welfare of the residents of the community require that all new facilities specified in this chapter be installed underground. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.020 Undergrounding – Purpose.

The purpose of utility conversion policy is to establish minimum requirements and procedures for the underground installation and relocation of electric and communication facilities within the city. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.030 Undergrounding – Scope.

This chapter shall apply to anyone who owns electrical or communication facilities, and to all new electrical and communication systems, including but not limited to electric power, telephone, telecommunication, and cable television facilities within the corporate city limits. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.040 Facilities excepted.

(1) The following facilities are excepted from the undergrounding requirements of this chapter:

(a) Electric utility substations, pad-mounted transformers, and switching facilities not located on the public right-of-way where site screening is or will be provided in accordance with Chapter 19.25 BMC, Tree Retention and Landscaping.

(b) Electric transmission systems of a voltage of 115 kV or more (including poles and wires) and equivalent communication facilities.

(c) Ornamental street lighting standards, as defined by the public works director.

(d) Telephone pedestals, cross connect terminals, repeaters, cable warning signs, and other equivalent communication facilities.

(e) Municipal equipment, including but not limited to traffic control equipment and police and fire sirens.

(f) Temporary services for construction.

(g) Replacement of existing overhead facilities due to damage by natural or manmade causes.

(h) Secondary wiring for street lighting.

(i) Cable television cables to the extent that such cables are to be hung on existing utility poles in areas of the city where electrical facilities under 115 kV or other distribution facilities are primarily overhead.

(2) The director shall decide if a facility qualifies for an exception. The decision is determinative and final. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.050 Cost.

(1) The cost of constructing new facilities underground or relocating existing aerial facilities underground shall be borne by the serving utilities, the owners of the real property to be served, or others in accordance with the applicable valid tariffs on file with the Washington State Utilities and Transportation Commission, or other rules and regulations, or the published policies of the respective utilities furnishing such service, or as may be contractually agreed upon between the utility and such owner or applicant. The cost of constructing new facilities underground or relocating existing aerial facilities underground to be borne by the serving utilities or the owners to be served shall include the cost of acquisition of private property for such construction or relocation necessitated by a city construction project.

(2) In the absence of filed tariffs, rules or regulations, published policies, or contractual agreement, the cost of constructing new facilities underground or relocating existing aerial facilities underground may be financed by a local improvement district or any other method authorized by state law. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.060 Permits and fees.

(1) Unless as otherwise provided in any existing franchise agreement, a permit for underground construction shall be obtained from the department prior to construction of facilities in the public right-of-way.

(2) An appropriate fee shall be charged for this permit, consistent with the schedule on file with the department. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.070 Undergrounding requirements.

(1) New Facilities.

(a) New electrical or communication service to a building where no service previously existed shall be constructed underground. Does not include restorations and/or repairs.

(b) All major additions of new facilities (three or more spans and/or 500 feet or more) shall be underground.

(c) Minor additions of new facilities may be constructed aerially where existing services are aerial.

(2) Rebuilds, Replacements and Additions.

(a) A relocation necessitated by a public works project, including, but not limited to, road realignment or widening, sewer and water main projects, a major rebuild or replacement of existing aerial facilities (three or more spans and/or 500 feet or more) shall be underground, and a permit from the department shall be required; except undergrounding shall not be required in those cases where the director finds that undergrounding will not be in the best interest of the public.

(b) A minor rebuild, replacement or relocation of existing aerial facilities that does not alter the essential system configuration may be constructed aerially.

(c) When there is casualty damage to an overhead service system or other major service outage, the facilities may be restored aerially.

(d) Installation of additional conductors to provide one three-phase circuit is allowed on existing aerial facilities.

(e) Reconductoring for routine maintenance that does not constitute a major rebuild is allowed on existing aerial facilities. Routine maintenance is also allowed on existing facilities for pole replacements and replacement of miscellaneous hardware.

(f) No work permitted by this subsection shall result in an increase in the number of utility poles, except an additional pole may be installed if an existing pole that is suitable as a termination for underground installation is not available within 300 feet of the closest property line of the development site. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.080 Service connection requirements.

(1) Single-Family Residential Areas. All electrical or communication service lines from either existing overhead or underground facilities to the service connection of new structures shall be installed underground.

(2) Non-Single-Family Residential Areas. All new electrical or communication service lines from either existing overhead or underground facilities to the service connection of new and existing structures shall be installed underground. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.090 Street lighting.

Street lighting facilities or systems, conforming to the city public works department standards in effect, shall be installed as an integral part of all underground projects constructed after the effective date of the ordinance from which this section was derived. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.100 Connections and disconnections of affected service.

The owner of real property abutting an underground project shall be responsible, at his or her expense, for converting to underground service and disconnecting his or her aerial services within 30 days following notice in writing of availability of such underground service. Time in consummating such connection and disconnection is of the essence, and such notice to the property owner, customer or subscriber may be mailed, postage prepaid, or delivered in person. In the event that such conversion and disconnection is not accomplished within 30 days of receipt of notice, the city may order the work done and the actual cost shall constitute a lien against the real property, subject to enforcement as provided by law. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.110 Site screening.

Where a permit for the underground project is required by this chapter, plans for all above-ground facilities shall be submitted to the department of community development for approval of site screening and setbacks, prior to issuance of a permit by the public works department. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.120 As-built drawings.

A drawing of a completed underground project in a form acceptable to the department and conforming to generally accepted engineering practices shall be submitted in duplicate to the public works department within 30 days of the completion of any underground project within the city. No bond money, deposit or fee shall be released to the developer until the department receives the drawings. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.130 Joint trenches.

Where several utilities are planned or required in the same corridor, every effort shall be made by the utilities to use joint trenches for such facilities. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]

12.40.140 Request for waiver.

(1) All applications for waivers from the foregoing underground requirements shall be first filed with the director.

(2) A waiver shall not be granted by the director unless the director finds that the utility owner or user or other affected parties can demonstrate that it would be an undue hardship to place the facilities concerned underground. For purposes of this chapter, undue hardship is intended to mean:

(a) A technological or environmental difficulty associated with the particular facility or with the particular real property involved that would render the installation unfeasible; or

(b) The cost of the underground construction outweighs the general welfare consideration in requiring underground construction.

(3) The director may grant a deferral of the requirement for undergrounding if the current underground construction would not be in the best interests and welfare of the public. A deferral is predicated upon the applicant’s willingness to sign a no-protest LID agreement for future installation. The director’s decision is determinative and final. [Ord. 416 § 1, 2004]