515.16 Petition to relocate overhead wires, cables, and equipment.

Any person may file a petition with the township fiscal officer requesting the board of township trustees to relocate underground any overhead cables, wires, and appurtenant equipment on streets or rights-of-way and designated private streets in an unincorporated area of the township. The petition shall specify the metes and bounds of the area to be included in the underground relocation project and any designated properties served by private streets as designated in the petition and shall be signed by at least seventy-five per cent of the landowners in the specified area whose land either abuts the streets or rights-of-way, including any designated properties served by private streets, or otherwise would be specially benefited by the project.

The township fiscal officer shall give notice of the petition and a copy of it to the board of township trustees, schedule a hearing on the petition, and provide notice in the manner set forth in section 515.04 of the Revised Code. The board shall hear the petition in the manner set forth in section 515.05 of the Revised Code.

If the board of township trustees decides in favor of the petition, it shall contract only with the corporation, company, partnership, association, municipal corporation, or person that owns the overhead cables, wires, and appurtenant equipment that are to be relocated. Nothing in this section requires the owner of the overhead cables, wires, and appurtenant equipment to agree to a contract that contains terms or conditions that are not acceptable to the owner. Unless a pre-existing arrangement provides otherwise or the parties to the contract agree otherwise, the township shall pay the cost of the relocation project as provided in the contract. Any part of the costs of the relocation project to be paid by the township pursuant to the contract shall be assessed upon abutting or specially benefited property.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, the costs and expenses of the underground relocation project and related proceedings ultimately shall be paid by special assessments against the properties located in the project area that abut the streets or rights-of-way in question, including any designated properties served by private streets, or that otherwise are specially benefited by the project. The assessments shall be made and levied in one of the following methods:

(A) As a percentage of the tax value of the property.

(B) In proportion to the special benefit resulting from the relocation project.

(C) By the foot frontage of the property abutting the streets or rights-of-way.

(D) In an equal amount against each property.

The board of township trustees, by resolution, shall assess all lands abutting the streets or rights-of-way in the project area, including any designated properties served by private streets, and lands otherwise specially benefited by the project. The resolution may allow the assessments to be paid over a number of years, but not more than ten years.

The board of township trustees, by resolution, may provide for the payment of interest on unpaid assessments, which shall be treated as part of the costs and expenses of the underground relocation project. The resolution shall specify the rate of interest, which shall be based on the current prime rate.

If the board of township trustees finds that the underground relocation project will result in general as well as special benefits, the board may pay from the township general fund a portion of the costs and expenses of the project, except for any accrued interest on unpaid assessments, that represents the value of the general benefits. In no case shall the total assessments exceed the special benefits to the entire project area resulting from the project.

The board of township trustees shall certify the assessments and interest on unpaid assessments, when applicable, to the county auditor. The auditor shall place the assessments and interest on unpaid assessments, when applicable, upon the tax duplicate and collect the assessments and interest in the same manner and at the same time that taxes are paid and collected. The collected assessments and collected interest shall be deposited into the township general fund.

During any year in which installment payments of the assessments are due, the board of township trustees, by resolution, may waive the payments for all the assessed lands and pay the aggregate amount of the assessments for that year minus any accrued interest on unpaid assessments out of the township general fund.

The township is not liable for any service outages or other damage caused by the underground relocation project. The owner of the overhead cables, wires, and appurtenant equipment is not liable for any service outages or other damage caused by the underground relocation project, unless the outage or other damage was caused by the owner's negligence. Nothing in this section otherwise alters township liability under Chapter 2744. of the Revised Code.

The provisions of section 515.15 of the Revised Code govern relocation projects requested by petition under this section.

Cite as R.C. § 515.16

History. Effective Date: 2008 HB244 08-14-2008