Chapter 18.05


18.05.000    Scope.

18.05.010    Underground requirements.

18.05.020    Cost.

18.05.030    Design standards.

18.05.040    Variances.

18.05.050    Existing city franchises not affected.

18.05.060    Coordination of facility replacement.

18.05.000 Scope.

A. This chapter shall be interpreted to require all new or extended utilities to be underground, except when exempted by this section.

1. “Utilities” shall mean all equipment used to deliver services by a utility such as electricity, telephone or cable television.

2. “Common utilities” shall mean utilities which serve more than one lot or commercial development.

3. “Private utility services” shall mean the utilities which connect a lot or commercial development with common utilities.

4. “Utility” shall mean the person, agency, corporation or other organization providing utility service.

5. “Existing utility use” shall mean the existing utility service as judged in three categories: number of poles, number of lines and height of poles within the project area for which the permit is sought.

6. “New or extended utilities” shall mean only utilities which are being built or extended to serve a new commercial, industrial, or multifamily residential development which has not had that type of utility service, or to serve a new single-family residential subdivision.

a. This definition shall not include:

i. Temporary extensions of service for construction purposes;

ii. Additions to any existing aboveground utility system where such additions are not for the purpose of serving new commercial development or a single-family residential subdivision; nor

iii. Rebuilding or replacing existing common utilities; provided, that the rebuilt or replaced structures do not expand the existing utility’s use within the project area by 10 percent, except as provided in Chapter 20.50 ECDC for wireless facilities. “Expansion” shall include the number and height of poles, as well as the number of wires or cable carried thereon.

b. All utility services sought to be constructed as temporary services, additions or rebuilt or replaced service shall be reviewed prior to issuance of a permit by the community services director. Any utility service found to be a “new or extended” service or an “expanded” service shall be reviewed as herein provided.

7. “Multifamily residential” shall mean development intended for use as apartments, duplexes, condominiums, or planned residential development.

8. “Project area” shall mean the actual area in which the project is proposed and shall include all structures or facilities actually, physically impacted by the improvement as well as any necessary appurtenant or accessory structures.

B. Exemptions. The following are exempt from the underground requirement of ECDC 18.05.010, but are still subject to the design standards of ECDC 18.05.030:

1. Electric utility substations, padmounted transformers and switching facilities;

2. Electrical utilities of more than 55 kilovolts;

3. Communication utilities not located on or along a public street right-of-way or private access easement;

4. Street light poles;

5. Telephone pedestals and similar devices;

6. Police and fire sirens, traffic-control devices and other similar municipal equipment;

7. Communication antennas which meet current FCC requirements, if any. [Ord. 3845 § 3, 2011; Ord. 3580 § 1, 2006; Ord. 2491, 1985].

18.05.010 Underground requirements.

A. City-Wide Requirements.

1. All new or extended utilities shall be undergrounded.

2. Whenever an existing aboveground private utility service connecting to underground common utilities is rebuilt or relocated, it shall be put underground. All private utility services installed after the effective date of this ordinance shall be underground.

B. Business and Commercial Areas – Additional Requirements.

1. Business and Commercial areas include all land in the BN, BC, CW and CG zone districts.

2. Whenever a building or commercial development in a business and commercial area has additions, alterations or repairs which exceed 50 percent of its value in a one-year period, its private utility service shall be put underground.

C. Publicly Owned Facilities. Publicly owned facilities shall meet the requirements applicable to business and commercial areas. [Ord. 2498, 1985; Ord. 2491, 1985].

18.05.020 Cost.

The city shall not pay any of the cost of installing underground utilities, unless there is a contractual agreement between the city, the utility and/or the owners of the property to be served. If there is no contractual agreement, and the utility has no filed tariffs, rules or regulations, or published policies, any financing method not prohibited by state law may be used, including but not limited to the local improvement district and/or ULID methods. [Ord. 2491, 1985].

18.05.030 Design standards.

A. Underground Utilities.

1. All utilities shall be installed in accordance with all applicable national, state and city standards.

2. Where different utilities are planned or required in the same corridor, each utility shall make every effort to locate all the utilities in common joint trenches.

B. Aboveground Utilities.

1. All aboveground utilities except poles, appurtenances, and overhead pole lines shall be enclosed within a building or shall be completely screened year round with a combination of landscaping or walls, fences, etc.; provided, that adequate access for use and maintenance through said screening may be reserved by the utility.

a. Landscape screening shall be visually solid, and at least as high as the equipment to be screened, within five years of the installation of the equipment.

b. The owner of the property on which the aboveground utilities are located or the owner of the property abutting the right-of-way in which the aboveground utilities are located shall permanently maintain the enclosure and screening. Aboveground facilities needed for underground utilities serving one single-family dwelling and low profile mini-pad transformers are exempt from this screening requirement.

c. Space frames and structures and conductors holding aboveground utilities shall have a neat and uncluttered appearance. [Ord. 3845 § 4, 2011; Ord. 3701 § 1, 2008; Ord. 3580 § 2, 2006; Ord. 2491, 1985].

18.05.040 Variances.*

Applications for variances from the underground requirements of this chapter shall be reviewed by the community services director as a Type II development project permit application (see Chapter 20.01 ECDC). For the purposes of this chapter, the special circumstances necessary to justify a variance from the undergrounding provisions of this chapter shall be limited to technological impracticability of any required underground installation or to a finding that the cost of the underground installation is excessive in light of the benefits derived and outweighs the benefits to be gained by the public. [Ord. 3736 § 25, 2009; Ord. 2498, 1985; Ord. 2491, 1985].

*Code reviser’s note: Variance fee for underground wiring shall be as set in Chapter 15.00 ECDC.

18.05.050 Existing city franchises not affected.

The provisions of this chapter do not and shall not be interpreted to waive any right enjoyed by the city with respect to any franchisee, nor to waive the obligations created by any franchise. In the event that any provision of this chapter conflicts with any provision of a franchising agreement or ordinance, said franchise provision shall control. [Ord. 2640 § 1, 1987].

18.05.060 Coordination of facility replacement.

When a pole, tower or other facility is replaced, the owner of the facility shall have a reasonable amount of time, not to exceed 30 days, to coordinate transfer of all existing utility lines, transformers, and equipment to the new pole. The owner of the facility shall provide written notice to transfer such utility lines, transformers and equipment to the new pole to other utilities using the pole. Written notice shall be provided to each utility utilizing the pole by placement in the U.S. mail, postage prepaid, on or before the date the pole is to be replaced. The notice shall include the date of pole replacement and the city’s requirement that transfer of facilities be completed within 30 days. Failure to relocate a utility line, transformer or other equipment to the new facility within 30 days shall be a civil infraction punishable by a fine of up to $200.00 per day. Each and every day which the utility fails to relocate its utility lines, transformers and/or equipment to the new pole shall be a separate violation. Failure to provide written notice as provided above shall be a civil violation punishable by a fine of up to $200.00. Each day on which notice is not given after pole replacement shall be a separate violation. [Ord. 3701 § 2, 2008].