Township of Washington, NJ
Burlington County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Township Committee of the Township of Washington as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 11-3-1966 by Ord. No. 37]

§ A500-1 Franchise granted.

Permission and consent be and the same is hereby granted to New Jersey Bell Telephone company, its successors and assigns, to erect, construct, reconstruct, lay, maintain and operate its underground conduits and subways, cables, wires, manholes, loading coil vaults, loading coils, including the necessary street openings and lateral connections to curb poles and property lines, and its other fixtures and appurtenances, in, through, upon, along, under and across all of the various streets, roads, avenue and highways and parts thereof, throughout their entire length, in this Township for its local and through lines and systems, in connection with the transaction of its business, and all of the various streets, roads, avenues and highways and parts thereof, throughout their entire length, in the Township, are hereby designated and prescribed for the uses and purposes of said company as aforementioned.

§ A500-2 Laying of conduits and other appurtenances of system.

Said company may construct, reconstruct, lay, maintain and operate in its subways or underground conduits, manholes and loading coil vaults the wires, cables, loading coils and other electrical conductors and appurtenances necessary in connection therewith, for its local and through lines and systems. It may also erect, construct, reconstruct, maintain and operate the necessary distributing poles or posts, fixtures and supports, and distribute therefrom upon, along, across, over and above the surface of said streets, roads, avenues and highways and parts thereof such wires, cables and other electrical conductors which it may find necessary to erect, construct, reconstruct, maintain and operate in connection with the system of subways, underground conduits and manholes aforementioned. With the exception of lateral branches to curb poles and property lines, said underground conduits shall be placed below the surface of said streets, roads, avenues and highways and parts thereof, and said conduits generally shall not be constructed more than 10 feet from the curbline, unless obstructions make it necessary to deviate from such course, and all underground conduits shall be placed at least 18 inches below the surface of the street.

§ A500-3 Construction requirements; filing of plans; permit for street opening.

A. 
All manholes and loading coil vaults shall be located beneath the surface of said streets, roads, avenues and highways and parts thereof at such points along the line of the subways or underground conduits as may be necessary or convenient for placing, maintaining and operating the cables and other electrical conductors which said company may from time to time place in said subways or underground conduits, and shall be so constructed as to conform to the cross-sectional and longitudinal grade of the pavement and so as not to interfere with the safety or convenience of persons or vehicles traveling on or over such streets, roads, avenues and highways and parts thereof.
B. 
Before proceeding with the work of constructing underground conduits and cables, manholes and/or loading coil vaults under the permission and consent herein contained, said company shall file with the Mayor and Committee of this Township a map or plan showing the location and size of any such proposed underground conduits, subways, manholes and loading coil vaults, which map or plan shall be first approved by said Mayor and Committee, or their authorized representative.
C. 
Prior to the opening or excavating of any streets, roads, avenues and highways and parts thereof for the purpose of laying, maintaining and operating its underground systems after the approval of the map and plan as aforementioned, said company shall first obtain a permit for such opening or excavation upon payment of such reasonable fee therefor as may be required by any ordinance regulating openings and excavations of streets.

§ A500-4 Restoration of streets.

The surface of the streets, roads, avenues and highways and any pavement or flagging taken up by said company in building its lines shall be restored to as good condition as it was before the commencement of work thereon. No highways shall be encumbered for a longer period than shall be necessary to execute the work. Such restoration shall be subject to the approval of the Township after an inspection by its authorized representative upon completion of the work and the payment of a reasonable fee therefor.

§ A500-5 Exemption from fees.

Except as herein expressly provided for, said company shall be exempt from any fee which may be required by any ordinance regulating the openings and excavations of streets within the said Township.

§ A500-6 Construal of provisions.

Nothing herein contained shall be construed to impose any obligation on the part of this Township to open any streets, roads, avenues or highways or parts thereof not heretofore dedicated or opened to the public use, and nothing herein contained shall be construed in any court or place as an acceptance of any unaccepted street, road, avenue or highway or any part thereof.

§ A500-7 Township, county and state use of company subways.

Said telephone company shall provide free of charge to this Township, as long as this ordinance continues in effect, space in its main subways (not exceeding one clear duct of standard size) to accommodate the wires or electrical conductors required for signal control in connection with its police patrol, fire alarm, telegraph signal systems and traffic signal control systems, but not to include circuits for the supply of electrical energy for the traffic or other signals; provided, however, that such wires or electrical conductors shall not be installed, used or maintained in such manner as to interfere with the wires or electrical conductors which said company, its successors and assigns may then have or may thereafter from time to time place in its main subways, and said Township shall indemnity and save harmless said telephone company from all claims or suits for damages arising from the location in its main subways of any such wires or electrical conductors used by this Township. Before proceeding with the placing of its said electrical conductors in the main subways or manholes of said company, either on the part of itself or on the part of a person, firm or corporations engaged to perform such work, this Township shall give to the said company 30 days' notice in writing in order that the work may be performed under the supervision of said company. If any or all of the said streets or highways be later taken over by the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the County of Burlington or the New Jersey State Highway Department, then such Board of Chosen Freeholders or the State Highway Department may use the same clear duct of standard size referred to for their respective police patrol, fire alarm, telegraph and traffic signal control systems in conjunction with the Township's use thereof for similar purposes, but only after making such satisfactory arrangements as may be necessary with the Township and the telephone company for the full protection of each other's interests.

§ A500-8 Term of franchise.

The permission and consent given and granted by this ordinance shall continue and be in force for a period of 50 years from the date of the final passage thereof, provided that its provisions are accepted by the company as hereinafter provided to § A500-13, and throughout the full time of this ordinance, said company, its successors and assigns shall furnish safe, adequate and proper service within this Township and keep and maintain its property and equipment in such conditions as to enable it to do so.

§ A500-9 Nonexclusive right.

Nothing herein contained shall be construed to grant unto said New Jersey Bell Telephone company, its successors and assigns an exclusive right or to prevent the granting of permission and consent to other companies for like purposes on any of the streets, roads, avenues or highways of this Township.

§ A500-10 Terms defined.

The term "Township" as used in this ordinance in its application to the Township of Washington, shall be held to apply to and include any form of municipality or government into which this Township or any part thereof may at any time hereafter be changed, annexed or merged, and the term "Township Committee" or any other term herein used in referring to the governing body of this Township shall be held to apply to and include the governing body of such other form of municipality.

§ A500-11 Applicability.

The permission and consent hereby granted shall apply to and cover the wires, cables, underground conduits and subways, manholes, loading coil vaults, loading coils, fixtures and appurtenances heretofore erected, constructed, reconstructed, maintained and operated by New Jersey Bell Telephone company or its predecessors.

§ A500-12 Responsibility for ordinance adoption costs.

Said company shall pay the expenses incurred for advertising done in connection with the passage of this ordinance within 30 days after the date of its going into effect.

§ A500-13 When effective.

Said company shall file with the Township Clerk of this Township its written acceptance of this ordinance within 30 days after the date of receipt by it from the Township Clerk of notice of passage, approval, and publication thereof, as provided by law, and said ordinance shall, upon filing of such acceptance, become effective.
[Adopted 12-8-2009 by Ord. No. 2009-3]

§ A500-14 Renewal of municipal consent.

The municipality hereby grants to Comcast renewal of its nonexclusive municipal consent to place in, upon, across, above, over and under highways, streets, alleys, sidewalks, easements, public ways and public places in the municipality poles, wires, cables, underground conduits, manholes and other television conductors, fixtures, apparatus and equipment as may be necessary for the construction, operation and maintenance in the municipality of a cable television and communications system.

§ A500-15 Definitions.

For the purpose of this ordinance, the following terms, phrases, words and their derivations 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, 47 CFR Subsection 76.1 et seq., and the Cable Communications Policy Act, 47 U.S.C. § 521 et seq., 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 and state definitions:
ACT or CABLE TELEVISION ACT
Chapter 186 of the General Laws of New Jersey, and subsequent amendments thereto, N.J.S.A. 48:5A-1 et seq.
APPLICATION
The company's application for renewal of municipal consent.
BASIC CABLE SERVICE
Any service tier, which includes the retransmission of local television broadcast signals as defined by the FCC.
BOARD or BPU
The Board of Public Utilities, State of New Jersey.
COMPANY
The grantee of rights under this ordinance and is known as "Comcast of South Jersey, L.L.C."
FCC
The Federal Communications Commission.
OFFICE or OCTV
The Office of Cable Television of the Board.
PRIMARY SERVICE AREA or PSA
Consists of the area of the municipality currently served with existing plant as set forth in the map annexed to the company's application for municipal consent.
TOWNSHIP or MUNICIPALITY
The Township of Washington, County of Burlington, State of New Jersey.

§ A500-16 Statement of findings.

Public hearings conducted by the municipality, concerning the renewal of municipal consent herein granted to the company were held after proper public notice pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act and the regulations of the Board adopted pursuant thereto. Said hearings, having been fully open to the public, and the municipality, having received at said public hearings all comments regarding the qualifications of the company to receive this renewal of municipal consent, the municipality hereby finds that the company possesses the necessary legal, technical, character, financial and other qualifications and that the company's operating and construction arrangements are adequate and feasible.

§ A500-17 Duration of franchise.

A. 
The nonexclusive municipal consent granted herein shall expire 15 years from the date of expiration of the previous certificate of approval issued by the Board.
B. 
In the event that the municipality shall find that the company has not substantially complied with the material terms and conditions of this ordinance, the municipality shall have the right to petition the OCTV, pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-47, for appropriate action, including modification and/or termination of the certificate of approval; provided, however, that the municipality shall first have given the company written notice of all alleged instances of noncompliance and an opportunity to cure same within 90 days of that notification.

§ A500-18 Franchise fee.

Pursuant to the terms and conditions of the Act, the company shall, during each year of operation under the consent granted herein, pay to the municipality 2% of the gross revenues from all recurring charges in the nature of subscription fees paid by subscribers for cable television reception service in the municipality or any higher amount permitted by the Act or otherwise allowable by law, whichever is greater.

§ A500-19 Franchise territory.

The consent granted under this ordinance to the renewal of the franchise shall apply to the entirety of the municipality and any property subsequently annexed hereto.

§ A500-20 Extension of service.

The company shall be required to proffer service to any residence or business along any public right-of-way in the primary service area, as set forth in the company's application. Any extension of plant beyond the primary service area shall be governed by the company's line extension policy, as set forth in the company's application.

§ A500-21 Construction requirements.

A. 
Restoration. In the event that the company or its agents shall disturb any pavement, street surfaces, sidewalks, driveways, or other surface in the natural topography, the company shall, at its sole expense, restore and replace such places or things so disturbed in as good a condition as existed prior to the commencement of said work.
B. 
Relocation. 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 company, upon reasonable notice by the municipality, shall remove, re-lay or relocate its equipment, at the expense of the company.
C. 
Removal or trimming of trees. During the exercise of its rights and privileges under this franchise, the company shall have the authority to trim trees upon and overhanging streets, alleys, sidewalks or other public places of the municipality so as to prevent the branches of such trees from coming in contact with the wires and cable of the company. Such trimming shall be only to the extent necessary to maintain proper clearance of the company's wires and cables.

§ A500-22 Customer service.

In providing services to its customers, the company shall comply with N.J.A.C. 14:18 et seq. and all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations. The company shall strive to meet or exceed all voluntary company and industry standards in the delivery of customer service and shall be prepared to report on it to the municipality upon written request of the municipality Administrator or Clerk.
A. 
The company shall continue to comply fully with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding credit for outages, the reporting of same to regulatory agencies and notification of same to customers.
B. 
The company shall continue to fully comply with all applicable state and federal statutes and regulations regarding the availability of devices for the hearing impaired and the notification of same to customers.
C. 
The company shall use every reasonable effort to meet or exceed voluntary standards for telephone accessibility developed by the National Cable Television Association (NCTA).
D. 
Nothing herein shall impair the right of any subscriber or the municipality to express any comment with respect to telephone accessibility to the complaint officer, or impair the right of the complaint officer to take any action that is permitted under law.

§ A500-23 Municipal complaint officer.

The Office of Cable Television is hereby designed as the complaint officer for the municipality pursuant to N.J.S.A. 48:5A-26b. All complaints shall be received and processed in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.5. The municipality shall have the right to request copies of records and reports pertaining to complaints by municipality customers from the OCTV.

§ A500-24 Local office.

During the term of this franchise, and any renewal thereof, the company shall maintain a business office or agent in accordance with N.J.A.C. 14:18-5.1 for the purpose of receiving, investigating and resolving all local complaints regarding the quality of service, equipment malfunctions, and similar matters. Such a business office shall have a publicly listed toll-free telephone number and be open during standard business hours, and in no event (excepting emergent circumstances) less than 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.

§ A500-25 Performance bonds.

During the life of the franchise the company shall give to the municipality a bond in the amount of $25,000. Such bond shall be to insure the faithful performance of all undertakings of the company as represented in its application for municipal consent incorporated herein.

§ A500-26 Subscriber rates.

The rates of the company shall be subject to regulation as permitted by federal and state law.

§ A500-27 Commitments by company.

A. 
The company shall provide total preferred cable television service on one outlet at no cost to each school in the municipality, public and private, elementary, intermediate and secondary, provided that the school is within 175 feet of an active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis by the school requesting service. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
B. 
The company shall provide total preferred cable television service at no cost on one outlet to each emergency medical service, fire, emergency management facility and public library in the municipality, provided that the facility is located within 175 feet of an active cable distribution plant. Each additional outlet installed, if any, shall be paid for on a materials-plus-labor basis by the municipality. Monthly service charges shall be waived on all additional outlets.
C. 
The company shall provide free basic Internet service, via high-speed cable modem, to one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future public school in the Township, elementary, intermediate and secondary, at no charge, provided that the facility is located within 175 feet of an active cable distribution plant. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to the students and not for administrative use only.
D. 
The company shall provide free basic Internet access via high-speed cable modem on one nonnetworked personal computer in each qualified existing and future public library at no charge, provided that the facility is located within 175 feet of an active cable distribution plant. The Internet service shall be installed on a personal computer that is accessible to library patrons and not for administrative use only.
E. 
Within six months of the issuance of a renewal certificate of approval the company shall provide the municipality with a one-time technology grant in the amount of $3,500 for any purpose the Township deems appropriate.

§ A500-28 Emergency uses.

A. 
The company will comply with the Emergency Alert System (EAS) rules in accordance with applicable state and federal statues and regulations.
B. 
The company 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.

§ A500-29 Liability insurance.

The company shall at all times maintain a comprehensive general liability insurance policy with a single limit amount of $1,000,000 covering liability for any death, personal injury, property damages or other liability arising out of its construction and operation of the cable television system, and an excess liability (or "umbrella") policy in the amount of $5,000,000.

§ A500-30 Incorporation of application.

All of the statements and commitments contained in the application or annexed thereto and incorporated therein, and any amendment thereto, except as modified herein, are binding upon the company as terms and conditions of this consent. The application and other relevant writings submitted by the company shall be annexed hereto and made a part hereof by reference, provided that same do not conflict with applicable state or federal law.

§ A500-31 Competitive equity clause.

Should the municipality grant a franchise to construct, operate and maintain a cable television system to any other person, corporation or entity on terms materially less burdensome or more favorable than the terms contained herein, the company may substitute such language that is more favorable or less burdensome for the comparable provision of this ordinance subject to the provisions of N.J.A.C. 14:17-6.7.

§ A500-32 Severability.

If any section, subsection, sentence, clause, phrase or portion of this ordinance is for any reason held invalid or unconstitutional by any court or federal or state agency of competent jurisdiction, such portion shall be deemed a separate, distinct and independent provision, and its validity or unconstitutionality shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions of the ordinance.

§ A500-33 Third-party beneficiaries.

Nothing in this franchise or in any prior agreement is or was intended to confer third-party beneficiary status on any member of the public to enforce the terms of such agreements or franchise.

§ A500-34 When effective.

This ordinance shall take effect immediately upon issuance of a renewal certificate of approval from the BPU.