[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of Trustees of the Village of Spencerport as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES304a App A Rel and Indemnity Agreement
Electric service — See Ch. 142.
Sewers — See Ch. 250.
Streets and sidewalks — See Ch. 280.
Zoning — See Ch. 340.
[Adopted 6-6-2007 by L.L. No. 1-2007 (Ch. 127, Art. I, of the 1988 Code)]
For many years, property owners have constructed obstructions (such as wooden fences, small accessory structures and landscaping) upon land which has public utility easements. When the public utility needs to gain access to the property, sometimes in emergency situations, access is impaired, resulting in the delay in repairs and maintenance to the utility installed in the easement area. If the Village or other utility provider removes the encroachment, then the private property owner demands that the fence, accessory building or landscaping be restored at no cost to the property owner. Additionally, property owners who choose to leave their utility easement area open and unfenced often do not maintain the utility easement on their lot and allow an overgrowth of vegetation or, at the other extreme, elaborate landscaping which also prevents access to the easement by the Village or other utility provider. All of these actions have increased the costs either to the Village or other utility provider to maintain, repair and restore services.
The purpose of this article is to protect the use of public utility easements and rights-of-way for their intended purposes and to maintain, repair and replace utilities located in public utility easements at the lowest cost to the consumer.
This article is intended to address existing and future fences, landscaping and structures.
Fences, landscaping and structures in existence at the time of the adoption of this article.
To reduce the maintenance, repair and installation costs of utilities to all consumers, the Village shall not restore nor pay any restoration or replacement costs for any encroachment placed upon a public utility easement or right-of-way that is removed in an emergency situation or, in nonemergency situations, after notice has been given to the property owner to remove the encroachment and grant access for utility service.
The Village also encourages all private utility company service providers not to restore any encroachment nor pay any restoration costs after notice has been given to the property owners to remove the encroachment and grant access to the public easement or right-of-way for utility service.
Notice for nonemergency service of utilities shall be at least 48 hours and be delivered in written form to the affected property owner. Should the property owner not be on the premises, said notice shall be affixed to the premises and mailed to the address for mailing of real property tax bills. Where immediate access is required, an attempt should be made to notify the property owner and occupant, but if circumstances require, the service may proceed without such notice.
If the property owner fails to remove the encroachment after notice from the Village or other utility provider, the service provider shall remove the encroachment and complete the utility service. The area excavated shall be filled or backfilled. It shall be the property owner's responsibility to restore any structure, fencing or landscaping. Additionally, any accessory removed from the public easement or right-of-way shall not be restored upon the easement or right-of-way unless the property owner obtains a revocable permit from the Village prior to construction or reconstruction. Upon presentation of a copy of the notice to remove the encroachment for utility service, the cost of the building permit shall be waived. Under no circumstances shall restoration or replacement of a fence or other structure upon the public easement or right-of-way include any concrete footing or masonry or concrete foundation, unless authorized by the issuance of a revocable permit.
Fences or structures which were constructed without a permit shall be considered to have been constructed after the effective date of this article. Further, nothing contained herein shall be construed to grant or imply approval to fences or structures preexisting this article which were constructed without a permit.
Fences, landscaping and structures constructed or created after the time of the adoption of this article.
The official policy of the Village Board is to discourage the placement of fences, landscaping and structures within utility easements. It is recognized that, in some circumstances, it is necessary that, for the reasonable use and enjoyment of the premises, fences, landscaping or other structures be placed within easement areas.
The following standards shall govern the placement of fences, landscaping and structures within easements:
Any fence constructed in an easement shall be constructed to have the minimum impact on the free exercise and use of the rights in the easement by the Village or other utility.
Every fence which crosses an easement so that access to the easement cannot be gained without crossing the fence shall be constructed in such a manner so that it can be easily removed or shall be constructed with gates which can be opened to gain unimpeded access to the full width of the easement.
Only chain link fences will be permitted.
Every fence which crosses a surface drainage easement shall be constructed so that it will not trap debris on or under the fence by providing a minimum clearance between the bottom of the fence and the ground surface of at least four inches and shall be no more than four feet high.
Trees or other landscaping capable of blocking access shall not be planted in the easement area so that free access to the utility easement is possible.
Permanent structures other than fences shall not be placed in easement areas.
An application for a building permit to construct a fence in an easement shall be submitted to the Building Inspector together with:
A copy of the instrument survey of the property showing the location of the easement. Tape location maps are not acceptable.
A complete copy of the easements which impact the property. Complete copies may be obtained from the Monroe County Clerk's office either in person or online.
An instrument survey map of the parcel of land showing the proposed fence, removable panels, gates and related improvements with all proposed dimensions, proposed locations of improvements and their measured distances from boundary lines and existing improvements. The instrument survey map shall show the location of the proposed improvements, existing improvements on the parcel of land, and the boundary lines of the parcel of land. Said instrument survey map shall be accompanied by an elevation of the proposed fence, gates, and related improvements. The elevation shall also show the proposed method for anchoring the fence in the ground, the amount of clearance from the ground, the dimensions of all proposed improvements and demonstrate that the removable panels are no wider than 10 feet wide.
[Added 3-5-2008 by L.L. No. 2-2008]
Cut sheets from the manufacturer of the fence and gates showing the design details of the proposed fence and gates.
[Added 3-5-2008 by L.L. No. 2-2008]
Should the committee unanimously agree that the construction of a fence will not be a significant detriment to the purposes of the easement, the committee shall recommend that the construction be permitted and shall impose such conditions as are consistent with this article.
Should the committee fail to agree to grant the permit, the permit shall be denied.
Upon denial, the applicant may request that the Village Board of Trustees review the denial considering the following:
The standards set forth in this article.
The Village Board shall solicit and consider comments from the Superintendent of Public Works, Electrical Superintendent and the Building Inspector prior to approving or denying the application.
The Village Board may solicit input from the Village Engineer or other experts, including that of the applicant's engineer or design professional.
As a condition of a permit being finally issued, the approving committee or the Village Board shall require the property owner, prior to construction, to execute and record in the Monroe County Clerk's Office, at the property owner's expense, a waiver and indemnity agreement in substantial compliance with Appendix A to this article.
Editor's Note: Appendix A is included as an attachment to this chapter.
Any approval granted hereunder shall be subject to revocation after a public hearing upon receipt of written notice from the Superintendent of Public Works, Electrical Superintendent or Building Inspector that the fence, structure or landscaping, as constructed, interferes in the reasonable access and use of the easement.
Nothing contained herein is to be construed to allow the Village Board to approve a fence, landscaping or other structure in an easement area where such use is specifically prohibited by the terms of the easement.
Nothing contained herein is intended to alter or modify any easements not involving the Village of Spencerport or public utilities.
Failure to comply with any of the provisions of this article shall be a violation and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $250 or imprisonment for a period of not more than 15 days or both, for the first offense. Any subsequent offense shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 or imprisonment for a period of not more than 365 days or both. In addition, any permit issued pursuant to this article shall be revoked upon conviction of a second offense and the subject fence, structure or landscaping shall not be eligible for another permit. Each day that a violation occurs shall constitute a separate offense. The owners of premises upon which prohibited acts occur shall be jointly and severally liable for violations of this article.
In the event that this article conflicts with any other law, rule or regulation, the one which is the most restrictive shall govern.