Chapter 12.20
UNDERGROUNDING OF OVERHEAD ELECTRIC WIRES

Sections:

12.20.010    Purpose and scope.

12.20.020    Undergrounding requirement.

12.20.030    Responsibility for cost.

12.20.040    Delay of installation.

12.20.050    Design standards – As-built plans – Maintenance.

12.20.060    Permits.

12.20.070    Definitions.

12.20.080    Existing city franchises not affected.

12.20.010 Purpose and scope.

Overhead wires carrying electrical energy, including but not limited to telephone, cable television and electrical service wires, are a source of possible danger to persons using streets in high density urban areas, including but not limited to the streets of the city center subarea. Therefore, public necessity, convenience, safety and general welfare require that all such overhead wires be relocated underground as soon as possible in accordance with the requirements of this chapter, and that all new electric wires be installed underground. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.020 Undergrounding requirement.

For rights-of-way in the city center use districts as established and described in LMC 21.60.200 (“city center subarea”):

A. All new electric wires shall be placed underground.

B. Upon development or redevelopment of real property in the city center subarea, all existing overhead wires in the right-of-way abutting the real property shall be relocated underground.

C. In conjunction with a street-widening project that requires reinstallation of supporting overhead wires, all existing overhead wires shall be relocated underground. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.030 Responsibility for cost.

For a city-initiated and -sponsored street-widening project pursuant to LMC 12.20.020(C), the city shall be responsible for the cost and expense of placing overhead wires underground. For a combined city-initiated and -sponsored and property owner-initiated and -sponsored street-widening project pursuant to LMC 12.20.020(C), the city and the property owner shall be responsible for their respective cost and expense of placing overhead wires underground, as agreed to between the city and the property owner. For all other undergrounding of electric wires pursuant to LMC 12.20.020, the owners of such wires, to the extent authorized by state statute and regulations, and the owners of the real property abutting the right-of-way, shall be responsible for the cost and expense of placing such wires underground, as agreed to between the owners of such wires and the owners of such real property. The placement of overhead wires underground shall include but not be limited to the installation of electric wires, the removal of poles and the restoring of any road or sidewalk surface. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.040 Delay of installation.

The public works director may authorize a delay in the placement of electric wires underground where such placement, in the opinion of the public works director, could in the foreseeable future be accomplished more efficiently and cost effectively in conjunction with development of contiguous real property or as part of a city financing mechanism, including but not limited to a local improvement district or a city bond issue. In such event, the persons responsible for the cost and expense of such placement shall enter into an agreement with the city regarding the delay in performance. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.050 Design standards – As-built plans – Maintenance.

All underground electric wires shall be installed in accordance with applicable federal, state and city standards, and pursuant to a schedule approved by the public works director. Where possible, the underground electric wires shall be included in a common trench with other utilities in order to preserve the remainder of the right-of-way for other uses. As-built project drawings in a form and scale approved by the public works director shall be submitted in duplicate to the public works director within 30 days of the completion of the underground project. Following installation, the person who placed the electric wires underground shall be responsible for maintaining and replacing such wires in accordance with this code or applicable federal, state and city laws and regulations. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.060 Permits.

The installation, removal or replacement of electric wires underground shall require a permit pursuant to Chapter 12.04 LMC. Except for street- widening projects in which the city is a participant, the property owner and the electric wire owner shall be responsible for obtaining any applicable federal and state permits, and any additional city permits, for the installation, maintenance, removal or replacement of electric wires underground. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.070 Definitions.

The following terms shall have the following meanings in this chapter:

“Development” means:

1. Subdivisions, short subdivisions, planned unit developments, binding site plans and design review approvals; and

2. Development, use and mitigation of real property pursuant to a development agreement authorized by Chapter 21.29 LMC.

“Electric wires” means wires used for the carrying and distribution of electrical energy, including but not limited to telephone, telegraph, cable television and electrical power.

“Overhead wires” means electric wires placed above the ground, including but not limited to electric wires hung on poles. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)

12.20.080 Existing city franchises not affected.

This chapter shall not affect or waive any right or obligation of a city franchise for use of the city right-of-way, and shall be applied consistent with any applicable tariffs and regulations of the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission. If a provision of this chapter conflicts with a provision of a franchise agreement or ordinance, the provision of the franchise agreement or ordinance shall control. (Ord. 2630 § 1, 2006)