Chapter 15.16


15.16.010    Application authorized – Purpose.

15.16.020    Authority.

15.16.030    Application.

15.16.040    Rights and nonliability of county.

15.16.050    Contents of agreement.

15.16.060    Application requirements – Fee.

15.16.070    Eligibility of applicants.

15.16.080    Latecomer agreement benefit area.

15.16.090    Severability.

15.16.100    Effective date.

15.16.010 Application authorized – Purpose.

To allow for a process by which any person who pays the cost to install utilities within a public right-of-way may apply for an agreement with Cowlitz County to obtain reimbursement by other persons (latecomer) who benefit from those utilities at a later date. [Ord. 99-067, § 1, 4-19-99.]

15.16.020 Authority.

The authority to establish “latecomer” agreements and benefit areas shall be consistent with the powers and authorities provided by Chapter 36.94 RCW, Sewerage, Water and Drainage Systems; Chapter 35.91 RCW, Municipal Water and Sewer Facilities Act; and with Ordinance 84-213, codified as Chapter 15.14 CCC. The definitions of Chapter 15.14 CCC shall apply to this regulation. [Ord. 99-067, § 2, 4-19-99.]

15.16.030 Application.

Any person utilizing private funds to install water or sewer utilities, improvements or appurtenances costing more than $4,000 and within a public right-of-way may apply to the county for establishment of a latecomer agreement. The $4,000 minimum expenditure level shall be adjusted annually effective on the first day of the year through a percentage increase which shall not exceed the lesser of the percent change in the CPI for the 12 months ending the preceding September or six percent. “CPI” means the Consumer Price Index, All Cities, Urban Workers and Clerical Workers, as published by the U.S. Department of Labor. [Ord. 99-067, § 3, 4-19-99.]

15.16.040 Rights and nonliability of county.

Cowlitz County reserves the right to refuse to enter into any latecomer agreement or to reject any application therefor. All applications for latecomer agreements shall be made on the basis that the applicant releases and waives any claims for any liability of the county in establishment and enforcement of latecomer agreements. Cowlitz County shall not be responsible for locating any beneficiary or survivor entitled to benefits by or through latecomer agreements. Any collected funds unclaimed by developers after three years from the expiration of the agreement shall be returned to parties making payment to the county. Any remaining undeliverable funds shall inure to the benefit of the appropriate utility and/or fund approved by the Board of County Commissioners. [Ord. 99-067, § 4, 4-19-99.]

15.16.050 Contents of agreement.

Any latecomer agreement shall include at least the following:

A. Identification of area of potential benefit stating which parcels of land did and/or did not contribute to the original cost of the utility system;

B. The means by which all latecomer payments shall be calculated or a clear statement of what the latecomer payments shall be for each parcel of land benefitted;

C. The date upon which the latecomer agreement shall expire or conditions under which the latecomer agreement shall be terminated. As required in RCW 35.91.020, the maximum term of the agreement shall not exceed 15 years;

D. Identification of the recipient(s) of any latecomer payments and the time period by which payment must be made; the disposition of any unclaimed funds shall be stated;

E. Identification of ownership of utilities after installation and responsibility of maintenance and repairs;

F. Any other provisions, covenants or restrictions deemed appropriate by the county. [Ord. 99-067, § 5, 4-19-99.]

15.16.060 Application requirements – Fee.

All applications for latecomer agreements shall be on forms approved and established by the Director of Public Works and shall be accompanied by a nonrefundable application fee of $200.00 to cover the county’s expenses in processing the application. [Ord. 99-067, § 6, 4-19-99.]

15.16.070 Eligibility of applicants.

Applicants for latecomer agreements shall be in compliance with all county ordinances, rules and regulations to be eligible for processing of latecomer agreements. [Ord. 99-067, § 7, 4-19-99.]

15.16.080 Latecomer agreement benefit area.

The procedures to be followed to establish a latecomer agreement benefit area for utility system improvements shall be as follows:

A. The county will formulate a latecomer agreement benefit area based upon a determination of which parcels did and/or did not contribute to the original cost of such utility system improvement and which may subsequently benefit from those utilities by tapping onto, draining to, or using the same, including users connected to laterals or branches connecting thereto.

B. The preliminary determination of area boundaries and potential assessments, along with a description of the property owners’ rights and options, shall be given by registered mail to all affected property owners of record within the proposed benefit area. Owners of record shall be as shown on the records of the Cowlitz County assessor. If any property owner requests a hearing in writing within 20 days of mailing of the preliminary determination, a hearing shall be held before the Board of County Commissioners, notice of which shall be given to all affected property owners at least 10 days in advance of the Board meeting. The Board of County Commissioners’ ruling is determinative and final.

C. The latecomer agreements will be recorded by the county in the Cowlitz County Auditor’s office within 30 days of the final execution of the agreement. The agreements shall include notice of additional tap or connections charges, as required in RCW 65.08.170.

D. Once recorded, the latecomer agreement shall be binding on owners of record within the assessment area who are not party to the agreement. [Ord. 99-067, § 8, 4-19-99.]

15.16.090 Severability.

If any section, subsection or other portion of this chapter is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court of competent jurisdiction, such section, subsection or other portion thereof shall be deemed a separate provision of this chapter and such holding shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of this chapter. [Ord. 99-067, § 9, 4-19-99.]

15.16.100 Effective date.

The ordinance codified in this chapter shall be in full force and effect from the date of adoption. [Ord. 99-067, § 10, 4-19-99.]