Chapter 14.31


14.31.010    General provisions.

14.31.020    Notification and coordination.

14.31.030    Pole attachment requirements.

14.31.040    Pole attachment fees.

14.31.050    Indemnification and hold harmless.

14.31.010 General provisions.

The purpose of this chapter is to ensure the safe and efficient use of overhead lines on city-owned poles within the city’s rights-of-way or public utilities easements and to pay for the use of the poles. This policy establishes provisions necessary to ensure compliance with WAC Titles 12 and 28 and the city’s standard construction practices and specifications. This chapter applies to all electric and telecommunication system entities, franchises, and service providers and nonservice providers as defined in RMC Title 28 that attach lines, equipment, or other devices to city-owned poles.

For the purpose of definitions, “joint pole users” shall mean all current or future utilities or entities with line, equipment or device attachments on a city-owned pole. [Ord. 8-98; Ord. 29-01].

14.31.020 Notification and coordination.

A. Each joint pole user shall submit a joint use application to the department for approval for each attachment project. The joint pole user shall obtain a construction permit per RMC 14.31.030 before attaching to city-owned poles.

B. Each joint pole user shall promptly respond to city notifications related to, but not limited to, maintenance, relocation, rearrangement, violations or abandonment of joint pole installations.

C. Whenever it is necessary to replace or relocate a joint-use pole, the city shall give notice thereof in writing at least 30 days prior to date on which it intends to change such pole (except in case of emergency, when verbal notice will be given and subsequently confirmed in writing) to the joint pole users. Each joint pole user shall relocate facilities to the new pole within 60 days at the expense of the joint pole user as provided below. When circumstances warrant additional time to relocate, the director or his authorized representative may grant such additional time as is reasonable under the circumstances.

1. Relocation of poles requiring overhead lines to be relocated overhead. If such relocation is reasonably necessary for construction, alteration or improvement of the right-of-way for purposes of public health, safety and welfare, as required by the city, grantees may not seek reimbursement for their relocation expenses from the city unless otherwise provided for by law. In the event the relocation is requested by a private third party, that third party shall pay the cost of relocation.

2. Relocation of facilities from overhead to underground. If such relocation is requested by the city when reasonably necessary for construction, alteration or improvement of the right-of-way for purposes of public welfare, health and safety, the grantee may not seek reimbursement for its relocation expenses from the city, unless otherwise provided by law. If requested by a private third party, the third party shall pay the cost of such relocation.

3. In the event of abandoned poles by the city, all joint pole users may be afforded an opportunity to purchase such poles at a fair market value, in accordance with city policy and state law.

D. The city, as pole owner, may deny access if the attachment project will result in safety, reliability, or generally accepted engineering standards not being met, and where the city retains future use of structure. Nothing herein contained shall be construed to compel the city to maintain any of its poles for a period longer than is necessary for its own service requirements. In the event the city wishes to discontinue use of any such pole or poles and to remove, relocate and/or retire it or them, it shall send a written notice to that effect to the joint pole users and the joint pole users shall remove their attachments from such pole or poles within 60 days after the sending of such notice, or within such shorter period of time as is required in case of emergency.

E. Sufficient coordination including submittal of project plans and exchange of information shall take place between joint pole users so that the attachment does not create a WAC violation or conflict. All joint users shall promptly share design specifications for their infrastructure with others upon request.

F. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this chapter, notification requirements and reimbursement for relocation of facilities of a service provider as defined under RMC Title 28 shall be in accordance with RCW 35.99.060. [Ord. 8-98; Ord. 21-99; Ord. 29-01; Ord. 2022-32 § 7].

14.31.030 Pole attachment requirements.

A. Construction Permit. Joint pole users shall obtain a construction permit in accordance with Chapter 12.08 RMC. Upon completion of an attachment project, the modifying entity shall give written certification to the pole owner that the attachment project is complete and complies with the construction permit.

Unless excepted by the city, cabling and pole attachment designs, specifically relating to pole strength and clearances considering all pole attachment uses per Washington Administrative Code shall be certified by a professional electrical engineer registered in the state of Washington. Certification by a registered professional engineer will not be required for projects under $1,000, service drops by utility or telecommunication entities, routine maintenance in the rights-of-way, or if designed in accordance with the city’s guidelines for pole attachments.

When the application is satisfactory and approved, one copy of the plans, map, sketches, and application will be returned to the applicant along with written approval to proceed. Upon completion of an attachment project, the modifying entity shall give written certification to the pole owner that the attachment project is complete and complies with the construction permit.

B. Construction Requirements. In any instance where the joint pole user’s facilities are installed contrary to the Electrical Construction Code of the state of Washington or the city’s standard practices and specifications, the joint pole user shall at its sole expense and within 30 days following written notice from the city, change, improve, or renew its installed equipment in such manner as the city may direct. If violation of any conditions applicable to the said installation is observed, the city reserves the right to stop construction immediately, and correction of the violation will be made before any part of the construction is continued.

The joint pole user shall, at its expense, install guys necessary to support the strain imposed on any pole by the installation of their facilities. When existing anchors are adequate in size and strength to support the equipment of all joint pole users, a joint pole user may attach its guys thereto. When anchors are not of adequate size and strength, the party requiring additional anchors shall, at its own expense, install new anchors or request the owner to replace existing anchors with anchors adequate in size and strength.

The joint pole user shall bear all costs involved in contacting any pole owned by the city. If it is necessary for the city to do any work on poles to provide contact space, this work will be done only as crews are available to do so in their regular work schedule. Any other schedule will have to be on overtime rate at the expense of the company requiring the work.

C. Communications Space Available to Joint Pole Users. Where space is available to permit compliance with the State of Washington Electrical Construction Code and Safety Code, joint pole users engaged in the telecommunications utility business may be allotted contact space in the area occupied by other joint pole users. All joint pole users shall operate and maintain their communications facilities in such a condition as to avoid conflicts or interference with other joint pole users. Additions to or alterations by a joint pole user shall be coordinated with all joint pole users. A joint pole user may not limit the installation, alteration or maintenance of facilities of another joint pole user. Changes to communications facilities on a joint use pole shall be at the expense of the requesting party.

D. Maintenance and Emergency Repairs. Each party shall at all times maintain all of its attachments, and perform any necessary tree-trimming or cutting incidental thereto, and shall keep them in safe conditions and in thorough repair. In an emergency where it is necessary to clear lines and restore electric power to the city’s customers as the result of an accident, windstorm, earth slide, or other condition where power lines, poles, or other supporting structures are damaged, destroyed or are in serious danger thereof, the city’s employees may transfer the joint pole user’s facilities to new or other poles, or do any other work required in connection with the joint pole user’s equipment necessary to restore electric service to the city’s customers. The joint pole user shall reimburse the city for all costs incurred in connection with such emergency work done on the licensee’s facilities. [Ord. 8-98; Ord. 21-99; Ord. 29-01].

14.31.040 Pole attachment fees.

On or about July 1st of each year the city, acting in cooperation with joint pole users, shall determine the total number of pole contacts as of the preceding day. Said tabulation shall include the number of contacts on city-owned poles. The fee herein provided for shall be paid within 30 days after the bill has been submitted, and shall cover the calendar year in which the count is made.

The pole attachment fee will be as provided in the city’s posted fee schedule and based on market rates for pole attachment as determined by the energy services director. [Ord. 8-98; Ord. 21-99; Ord. 29-01; Ord. 63-19 § 2].

14.31.050 Indemnification and hold harmless.

The joint pole user shall defend, indemnify and hold harmless the city, its officers, officials, employees and volunteers from any and all claims, injuries, damages, losses or suits including attorney’s fees, arising or issuing out of the granting joint use of city poles under this chapter, except as may be caused by the negligence or willful conduct on the part of the city of Richland. [Ord. 8-98; Ord. 21-99].