[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Clayton as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-14-2016 by L.L. No. 2-2016]
This article may be cited as the "Historic District Utility Lines Installation" law of the Village of Clayton, New York.
The Village Board of the Village of Clayton adopts this article to regulate the placement and installation of utility lines to protect the public health, safety and welfare of its citizens and visitors; to minimize the adverse impacts on the character and economy of the shopping district of the Village's downtown Historic District; to minimize the adverse impacts on property values of nearby citizens; and to improve and preserve the aesthetics of the Village's Historic District shopping district.
The Village Board of the Village of Clayton enacts this article under the authority granted by Article IX of the New York State Constitution, the New York Municipal Home Rule Law, and the New York Village Law.
The Village Board of the Village of Clayton finds and declares that:
Article IX of the New York State Constitution allows local governments to protect the health, safety and well-being of the people.
The New York Municipal Home Rule Law grants local governments the power to adopt or amend local laws, not inconsistent with the New York State Constitution or any general law, relating to the protection and enhancement of their physical and local environments, as well as to the government, protection, order, conduct, safety, health, and well-being of persons or property therein.
Section 4-412 of the New York State Village Law allows the Village Board to grant rights and permission to utility companies to use the streets, highways, public places or any part thereof, as well as the space above or under them, subject to any legal regulations as the Village Board may deem proper.
The Village of Clayton's downtown Historic District is the Village's main commercial hub.
Regulation of the installation of utility lines and, in particular, requiring undergrounding of unsafe and unsightly overhead electrical lines, in the Historic District is necessary for protecting the health, safety, and well-being of property owners and the general public.
Regulation of the installation and requiring undergrounding of utility lines is further necessary for protecting and promoting the local economy and local aesthetics of the Village of Clayton's Historic District shopping district.
The possible negative impacts of relocating and reinstalling underground utility lines must be balanced against the positive benefits, including but not limited to benefits for the people, the local economy, and local character and aesthetics of the community.
The New York State High Voltage Proximity Act, New York Labor Law § 202-h, prohibits property owners or workers from being within 10 feet of high voltage power lines. Current placement of overhead electrical lines prevents property owners in the Historic District from being able to maintain their historic buildings and facades without violating the High Voltage Proximity Act and without posing a danger to property owners and workers.
The current placement of overhead electrical lines so close to the buildings increases the risk of loss of life and property. There have been three incidents of fires in the Historic District in the last 40 years. In the event of another fire in any of the buildings in the Historic District shopping district, firefighters would be delayed in responding. Firefighters would first need to call the utility companies to shut off power to a large portion of the Historic District before they could put water on the fire or use any aerial devices. This delay would increase the risk of the potential loss of life and property damage, as there is little or no fire separation between the buildings.
Overhead utility lines pose an additional threat to public safety and property because the utility lines are vulnerable to being downed by ice and wind storms. The North American ice storm of 1998 downed utility lines throughout New York State, which caused extensive and lengthy electricity and telephone outages in the Village of Clayton of more than three weeks. The outages left residents and visitors vulnerable to the extreme weather and caused significant property damage.
Overhead utility lines' vulnerability to being downed by ice and wind storms also poses a threat of economic loss and disruption to the businesses in the Historic District. The downed and damaged overhead lines caused by the North American ice storm of 1998 resulted in significant economic loss for the Historic District of the Village of Clayton, as this main commercial district was without power and unable to transact business for more than three weeks.
The Village of Clayton relies on tourism as a driver of economic development in the Village. The Historic District shopping district's unique aesthetics are a major draw and one of the bases of the tourism industry.
The Village of Clayton's Historic District shopping district has a distinct character which is negatively affected by unsightly overhead utility lines. The overhead utility lines detract from the culture and character of this community, and are in conflict with the Village's efforts to promote tourism.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated within the language of this article. Words not defined in this article shall be given their ordinary and common meaning:
- HISTORIC DISTRICT
- The properties adjoining the span of State Road 970L in the Village of Clayton running from the intersection of Hugunin Street and James Street, proceeding to Riverside Drive, continuing up Webb Street, and terminating at the intersection of Hugunin Street and Webb Street.
- UTILITY LINES
- Transmission and lateral distribution wires and cables used for providing electricity, cable, internet and other similar services to the residents of the Village and the Village of Clayton.
- Any natural or artificial person, including but not limited to any individual, trustee, executor, receiver, other fiduciary, corporation, firm, partnership, association, organization, or club.
- The replacement of existing equipment or infrastructure of any kind with substantially similar or the same equipment or infrastructure.
- At least two feet below the grade existing at the location of the utility lines and poles.
The requirements of this article shall apply to all existing and future utility lines and poles installed in the Historic District in the Village of Clayton.
All utility lines located in the Historic District in the Village of Clayton, including existing utility lines, shall be installed underground. Existing utility lines shall be moved or replaced within 48 months of the effective date of this article. Any owner of any utility line that is existing at the time of the effective date of this article shall file with the Village Clerk, within 12 months of the effective date of this article, a written plan and confirmation describing the intended actions of the owner of the utility line(s) in complying with the requirements of this chapter to move existing utility lines underground. Future installation or replacements of utility lines in the Historic District within the Village of Clayton shall be underground.
The Village Board shall appoint such Village staff or outside consultants as it sees fit to enforce and implement this article.
Any person owning utility lines shall be legally and financially responsible for any and all violations of this article. Any person who violates this article shall be guilty of a misdemeanor offense and subject to a fine of not more than $1,000 per incident, in addition to any other penalties provided by local, state, or federal law. Each day of violation shall constitute a separate offense.
The Village may institute a civil proceeding to collect civil penalties in the amount of $1,000 for each violation, and such other remedies as may be appropriate, together with costs, expenses and reasonable attorneys' fees to be fixed by the court. Each day said violation continues shall be deemed a separate violation.
In addition to other remedies and penalties herein provided, and in addition to any other penalties provided by local, state, or federal law, the Village may institute any appropriate legal action or proceeding for injunctive relief to prevent or cure any violation, along with such other remedies as may be appropriate, including costs, expenses, and reasonable attorneys' fees to be fixed by the court.
Should any provision of this article be declared by any Court, administrative body, or board, or any other government body or board, to be unconstitutional, invalid, preempted, void, or otherwise inapplicable for any reason, such decision shall not affect the validity of this article as a whole or any part thereof other than the part so decided to be unconstitutional, invalid, preempted, void, or otherwise inapplicable.
[Adopted 6-10-2019 by L.L. No. 3-2019]
The Village Board of the Village of Clayton enacts this article to require property owners within the Historic District to be serviced by undergrounded utilities to make the necessary improvements to their properties to provide for the service connection of the utilities to be made; to provide for the Village to contract for such improvements to better facilitate the connection in order to minimize service interruption; to levy the cost of such improvements against the individual properties; and to provide for special assessments to recover the cost associated therewith together with debt service.
This article is enacted pursuant to the authority granted by Article IX the New York State Constitution, § 10 of the New York Municipal Home Rule Law and §§ 4-412, 4-414, and 5-516 of the New York Village Law.
The Village Board of the Village of Clayton finds and declares that:
By enacting Local Law Number 2 of the year 2016, the Village Board of the Village of Clayton determined that the undergrounding of utilities within the Village of Clayton Historic District is necessary for the protection of the order, conduct, safety, health and well-being of the personnel and property located therein, as well as enhancing the physical and local environment, and promoting the local economy and local aesthetics of the Village's Historic District Shopping District.
Pursuant to the requirements of Local Law Number 2 of the year 2016, the Village Board of the Village of Clayton has heretofore entered into contracts with the public utilities furnishing services within the Village of Clayton to complete the undergrounding of the utilities within the Historic District.
In order for the undergrounded utilities to be connected to the individual properties within the Historic District, certain improvements must be made to those properties pursuant to the utilities' specifications.
Section 10 of the Municipal Home Rule Law and §§ 4-412 and 4-414 of the Village Law authorize the Village Board to make improvements to private properties in the interest of public safety, health, comfort and general welfare where the owner is required to make such improvements and fails to do so, and the cost of such improvements may be levied, assessed, and collected as provided by local law.
Each property owner within the Historic District that is to be serviced by undergrounded utilities is required to perform the necessary work to their properties to permit the service connection of the utility to their buildings pursuant to the specifications of the individual utility companies.
It is hereby determined that in order to facilitate the connection of the individual properties, minimize service interruption, and coordinate with the individual utilities, it is in the overall public interest for the Village to contract for the improvements with a single contractor in order to install utility service to the private properties at the property owner's expense for those property owners that have acquiesced to such work by providing access easements to the Village.
The Village Board of the Village of Clayton is hereby authorized to enter into a contract to perform the installation of the service connections to individual properties within the Historic District whose owners have provided the Village with access easements for such purpose.
The cost of the service connection installation and any other work required or requested to be performed on the individual properties shall be levied against such properties and collected as provided in this article.
In the event a property owner fails to remit full payment to the Village for the cost levied against its property, at the time of levy, the cost attributable to such property together with the pro rata share of any debt service on any borrowing by the Village to pay therefor shall be paid in annual installments and placed on the Village's tax bill for such property, and shall be collected in the manner in which Village taxes are collected.
Should any provision of this article be declared by any court, administrative body, or board, or any other government body or board having jurisdiction thereof, to be unconstitutional, invalid, preempted, void or otherwise applicable, for any reason, such determination shall not affect the validity of this article as a whole or any part thereof other than the part so declared to be unconstitutional, invalid, preempted, void, or otherwise applicable.