Chapter A268: Chester-Mendham Cable Television Inc., and Consolidated Cable Services Inc., Franchise
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Mayor and Council of the Borough of Chester by Ord. No. 85-13. Amendments noted where applicable.]
The municipality hereby grants to the companies its nonexclusive consent to place in, upon, along, across, above, over and under the highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, public ways, and public places in the municipality poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other television conductors and fixtures necessary for the maintenance and operation in the municipality of a cable television system and cable communications system. Construction pursuant to said consent is conditioned upon prior approval of the Board of Public Utilities. The privilege hereby granted is subject to the document rights and interest of the municipality and the public as well as the rights of any franchised public utility company and where applicable, the rights of the State of New Jersey and the County of Morris in any street in the municipality.
For the purpose of this chapter, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivation shall have the meaning given herein. Such meaning or definition of terms is supplemental to those definitions of the Federal Communications Commission, FCC Rules and Regulations, 76.1 et seq. 47 CFR 517 et seq. (1983) as amended, and the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq. and shall in no way be construed to broaden, alter or conflict with the federal or state definitions:
- ACT OR CABLE TELEVISION ACT
- Chapter 186 of the General Law of New Jersey, 1972, Section 48:5A-1 et seq.
- The Board of Public Utilities of the Department of Energy.
- The grantees of rights under this chapter and are known as Chester-Mendham Cable TV, Inc. and Consolidated Cable Services, Inc.
- The Borough of Chester, County of Morris in the State of New Jersey.
A public hearing concerning the consent herein granted to the companies was held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act. Said hearing having been held as above stated and said hearing having been fully open to the public, and the municipality having received at said hearing all comments regarding the qualifications of the companies to receive this consent the municipality hereby finds that the companies possess the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications and that the companies and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.
The consent herein granted shall expire 15 years from the date a certificate of approval is issued by the Board of Public Utilities.
The consent granted herein shall be subject to automatic renewal for a period of five years in accordance with the procedures set forth in N.J.S.A. 48:5A-19 and 25, and N.J.S.A. 14:18-11.1 et seq.
The companies shall be required to petition the Board for a certificate of approval authorizing continued operation during the period following expiration of the consent granted herein until such time that a decision is made by the municipal governing body relative to the renewal of said consent. Such petition shall be filed at least 60 days prior to the expiration of the consent granted herein.
[Amended by Ord. No. 96-06]
Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act, the companies shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, pay to the municipality as established in Chapter 127, Fees.
The companies shall complete significant construction within one year of the date upon which it receives a certificate of approval from the Board. The companies shall be required to complete all construction within the service area described herein within one year thereafter. The timetable as presented in the application incorporated herein has been determined to be reasonable by the municipality.
The companies shall be required to proffer service to any person's residence or business located in the franchise territory described herein, in accordance with the proposal for the provision of services as described in the application. Any additional extension of the system will be made in accordance with the companies respective proposals in their applications.
The consent granted herein to the companies shall apply to the entirety of the municipality and any property hereafter annexed thereto.
Restoration. In the event that the companies or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways, or other surfaces in the natural topography, the companies shall at their sole expense restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
If at any time during the period of this consent the municipality shall alter or change the grade of any street, alley or other way or place, the companies, upon reasonable notice by the municipality, shall remove, re-lay and relocate its equipment, at the expense of the companies.
The companies shall temporarily move or remove appropriate parts of their facilities to allow moving of buildings, machinery or in other similar circumstances. The expense shall be borne by the party requesting such action except when requested by the municipality when the companies shall bear the cost.
The removal or trimming of trees. During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this franchise the companies shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks, and public places of the municipality so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires and cables of the companies. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance for the companies' facilities.
During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the companies shall maintain a local business office or agent for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions and similar matters. Such local business office shall be open during normal business hours, and in no event less than 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
The Office of Cable Television, 1180 Raymond Boulevard, Newark, New Jersey is hereby designated as the complaint officer for the Borough of Chester, pursuant to N.J.S.A 48:5A 26(b). All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-7.1.
During the life of the franchise, each of the companies shall give a bond to the Borough of Chester which shall be in the amount of $25,000.
Such bonds shall be to insure the faithful performance of all undertakings of the companies as represented in their applications for municipal consent incorporated herein.
The municipality, having determined that the rates proposed in the respective companies' applications for cable television reception service are reasonable, approves them as presented, subject to review by the Board.
The companies shall not alter its basic service without first notifying the municipality and receiving approval of the office of cable television.
The basic service includes those channels which the companies is required to carry by F.C.C. rules and any channel which the companies has previously agreed to carry without a separate or additional charge.
The cable operator shall access time to noncommercial public, governmental and educational entities to the extent such access was promised to the municipality during the application and franchising process.
The cable companies shall provide the installation of one outlet and basic monthly service to each school (and/or library) in the municipality free of charge. Upon request, each additional outlet installation shall be paid for by the institution on a cost plus labor basis. Monthly service on such additional outlets shall be charged at the regular tariffed rates for additional outlets.
In the event that the municipality determines that it is necessary and feasible for it to contract with the companies for the purpose of providing additional equipment or specific services to the municipal government or its agencies, the companies shall be required to apply to the Board, and if necessary the F.C.C., for approval to enter into and establish the terms and conditions of such a contract. All costs related to such application to the Board and F.C.C. shall be allocated and paid in a manner agreeable to the companies and the municipality, subject to approval of the Board.
The companies shall be required to have the capability at the head end to override the audio portion of the system in order to permit the broadcasting of emergency messages by the municipality. The municipality shall provide such facilities, or if such facilities are provided by the companies, it shall be the responsibility of the municipality to pay for their use. The companies shall in no way be held liable for any injury suffered by the municipality or any other person, during an emergency, if for any reason the municipality is unable to make full use of the cable television system as contemplated herein. The municipality shall also establish reasonable procedures for such uses.
The companies agree to maintain and keep in full force and effect as their sole expense at all times during the term of this consent, sufficient liability insurance naming the Borough of Chester as an insured and insuring against loss by any such claim, suit, judgment, execution or demand in the minimum amounts of $1,000,000 for bodily injury or death to one person, $1,000,000 for property damage resulting from any one accident, and more specifically, as set forth in the respective companies' applications.
The companies shall not hinder or in any way unreasonably or unnecessarily obstruct the public use of any and all parts of the streets, and where necessary to temporarily obstruct some part of a street for the purpose of installation, inspection, maintenance or repair of its facilities, the companies shall schedule such work at such times as pedestrian and vehicular traffic is normally light, and at all times shall provide adequate guards, barriers and warning devices to safeguard the public from injury to persons and property.
Wherever practicable, the companies shall employ the use of existing poles heretofore or hereafter installed and maintained by franchised utility companies, under pole lease agreements with the owners of such poles. No new poles, cables, guys or other equipment will be permitted at any point or place where the same will or may interfere with any sidewalk, crosswalk, driveway, building, shade tree, street intersection, utility pole, electrical power, telephone or telegraph line; gas, water storm or sanitary sewer main, catch basin or any other existing public or private facility, or with any contemplated municipal improvement. No new poles shall be installed without the approval of the Mayor and Council as to the location thereof.
The companies' transmission and distribution system poles, wires and appurtenances shall be located, erected and maintained so as not to endanger or interfere with the lives of persons, or to interfere with new improvements the borough may deem proper to make, or to unnecessarily hinder or obstruct the free use of the streets, alleys, bridges or other public property. Removal of poles to avoid such interference shall be at the companies' expense.
In the maintenance and operation of its television transmission and distribution system in the streets, alleys and other public places, and in the course of any new construction or addition to its facilities, the companies shall proceed so as to cause the least possible inconvenience to the general public. Any opening or obstruction in the streets or other public places made by the company in the course of its operation shall be granted and protected at all times by the placement of adequate barriers, fences or boardings, the bounds of which, during periods of dusk and darkness, shall be clearly designated by red warning lights. All openings in public streets or places shall, nevertheless, be subject to and governed by the regulations and provisions of borough ordinances pertaining to excavation and construction in public streets, roads or highways.
It is the stated intention of the municipality that all other holders of public licenses and franchises within the limits of the municipality shall cooperate with the companies to allow the companies' joint usage of their poles and pole-line facilities wherever such usage does not interfere with the normal operation of said poles and pole lines so that a number of new or additional poles constructed by the companies within the municipality may be minimized. Such cooperation shall include the rights of joint usage at reasonable rates and on reasonable terms.
The companies shall grant to the municipality, free of expense, joint use of any and all poles owned by it for any proper municipal purpose acceptable to the companies, insofar as it may be done without interfering with the free use and enjoyment of the companies' own wires and fixtures. Proper regard shall be given to all existing safety rules governing construction and maintenance in effect at the time of construction.
All equipment shall be properly installed and shielded so as to prevent interference with television and radio reception.
The companies, at its own expense, promptly and in a workmanlike manner, will repair any damage to streets as herein defined or to any drains, sewers, lawns, shrubs or in any other public or private property, caused by any act of the companies, its officers, agents, servants, contractors, or subcontractors; any third person; or by act of God, and upon the municipality's request, will temporarily, remove, at its own expense, any wire, cable, pole, or other equipment within any street as herein defined, at any time such removal may be considered by the municipality to be necessary to accomplish a municipal purpose; and whenever requested by the municipality, the companies, at its own expense, will permanently remove and relocate such of its facilities as may interfere or tend to interfere with municipal improvement.
The companies, during the period it exercises privilege herein granted, shall maintain and operate its system according to the highest current prevailing operating standards promulgated by the Federal Communications Commission and/or the office of Cable Television, in such manner as to provide its subscribers the highest possible level of quality and reliability. The companies shall exercise its best effort to provide its subscribers with all the advantages resulting from time to time from advances and improvements in the Community Antenna Television Industry.
Upon 20 days advance notice, the companies shall appear at a public hearing before the Mayor and Council for the purpose of public review of the performance of the companies in accordance with the terms of the section and the regulations of the office of cable television.
The privilege herein granted to the companies is made upon the express condition that within 10 days after the final adoption of this chapter, the companies shall file with the Municipal Clerk, a written acceptance of the same, and all of its conditions; and bind itself to provide the necessary television antenna service within the municipality to all persons subscribing for such service; and to provide, maintain and continuously operate the system contemplated in this chapter without interruption, except for causes beyond the companies reasonable control. In the event the companies fail to file such written acceptance within such period, this chapter shall be void as it applies to either company which fails to file such written acceptance.
All of the written commitments contained in the written applications of the companies and their representations at the public meeting except as modified herein, are to be considered to be binding upon the applicant as the terms and conditions of this consent, and the applications shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference, provided that any provisions of the applications in conflict with the provisions of the Cable Television Act, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq., and/or FCC Rules and Regulations shall not be construed as effective under the terms of this grant and such provisions in the application which exceed the FCC Rules and Regulations are considered unenforceable.