Effective date: December 4, 2019
WHEREAS, Randolph County supports commerce, safety, and the public health by maintaining order of all roads, bridges and crossing within the county under Sec. 49.650 RSMo; and
WHERAS, after studying various alternatives for regulation of safety and efficiency for public utilities crossing through counties; and
WHEREAS, Randolph County recognizes legitimate concerns raised by the construction and easements for construction under Sec. 229.100 RSMo that cross roads and property in the county; and
WHEREAS, Randolph County desires to control locations and regular planned maintenance for the crossings such that safety concerns are better managed; and
WHEREAS; the county has exclusive authority over roads, bridges, and crossings and zoning decisions within the county, and multiple court precedents protect the ability of counties to regulate such activities that take place within County land boundaries; and
WHEREAS, lines and easements crossing county roads are part of a planned, structured, services system that is operated across the country; and
WHEREAS, State and Local Governments have historically been able to regulate the operation of the entities desiring to cross county roads within their boundaries; and
WHEREAS, public safety professionals have expressed significant concerns regarding the risks posed by crossings not constructed properly; and
NOW THEREFORE BE IT ORDAINED by the Randolph County Commission;
That the Randolph County Commission acting under the authority of Section 49.650 RSMO does adopt and order implementation of this Ordinance; and that this ordinance does ordain, adopt, and implement the following:
Section 1 – Purpose
Randolph County encourages the safe and responsible construction and operation of utility lines for energy and commerce and other crossings of county roads. This ordinance is designed to empower the county to provide regulations and penalties for misuse that blocks or endangers roads and crossings and public safety, while protecting and promoting the health, safety, and welfare of its citizens.
Section 2 – Definition.
A “Utility”, shall mean an electrical line that is overhead or underground or pipe line used for the transmission and distribution of a controlled utility product where the owner of the line is declared a ‘public utility’ by the Missouri Public Service Commission
A “utility crossing” is defined as a person seeking county road crossing approvals pursuant to Sec. 229.100 RSMo.
Section 3 – Development of Rules.
1.In addition to the specific requirements set forth below, the county directs and delegates the authority to the development of rules for the road crossings within the boundaries of the county, consistent with this ordinance. The county must publish such rules on the county website, or through other equivalent internet accessible systems, and must periodically report to the County Commission at least once per year on the implementation or changes of such rules, including information regarding enforcement actions and the costs associated with implementing and enforcing such rules. The rules developed by the County Commission must be consistent with the following:
- The County Commission may adopt reasonable restrictions on the time, place, and manner in which a crossing may be maintained, or be constructed such as to not interfere with the health, safety, and welfare of individuals within the county. Such restrictions may not place an undue burden on commercial operations of the utility services. To ensure that restrictions are easily accessible by utilities, such restrictions should be published on the county’s website or through other equivalent internet accessible systems.
- The County Commission may require certain conditions be fulfilled prior to the operation, maintenance, and construction of Utility lines within the boundaries of the county.
Section 4. – Notice of intended operation.
- It is unlawful for any utility officer or the maintenance/construction operator of a utility line to direct the operation, maintenance, or construction of, or to operate the same in such a manner as to prevent the use of any road, bridge, or crossing for the purposes of travel without the expressed consent of the County Engineer and the County Commission, provided that this section shall not apply to a public utility line where an emergency exists for repairs necessary such that the line can operate and proceed safely.
- Emergency / repairs that inhibit regular motor and pedestrian traffic from crossing roads, bridges, and crossings for over five (5) minutes shall contact the Randolph County Sheriff’s office within 10 minutes of the assessment of the line and inform the County Sheriff’s office of the emergency or repair issue, the location of the crossing being obstructed or closed, and the anticipated amount of time that the crossing will be closed. Failure to do so can result in a fine(s) to either or both the directing utility officer and/or Chief maintenance/construction operator of the utility line.
- The county has established a permit for construction of utilities that must be completed and approved before any new construction can begin or assent across the county be granted. Failure to operate without an approved permit can result in daily fines.
Section 5 – No Reckless Operation
No Person may operate a utility line in a reckless manner so as to create (a) a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another or (b) a substantial risk of damage to the property of another.
Section 6 – Penalties.
- Any person who operates a utility line in a manner that closes or inhibits the crossing of any road or bridge in the county beyond 5 minutes with the exception(s) of an emergency, safety precautions, or safety repairs, without consent from the county engineer or county commission may be punished by a fine, not to exceed $500.
- Any person who directs a utility line in a manner that closes or inhibits the crossing of any road or bridge in the county beyond 5 minutes with the exception(s) of an emergency, safety precautions, or safety repairs, without the consent from the county engineer or county commission may be punished by a fine, not to exceed $500.
- Any person(s) found guilty of reckless operation or an operation out of compliance with this ordinance, such as construction on a utility line without the proper permit or consent of the county engineer or county commission, are in violation of rules developed by the County Commission and may be punished by a fine not to exceed $1000.
- A person found guilty of directing reckless operation or directing any public utility line out of compliance with this ordinance, such as construction on a utility line without the proper permit or consent of the county engineer or county commission, are in violation of rules developed by the County Commission and may be punished by a fine not to exceed $1000.
- A person found guilty of directing operation of a utility line out of compliance with this ordinance for multiple or repeat offense to this ordinance will be punished by a fine no less than $5000.
Section 7 – Exceptions.
This ordinance does not apply to public utility lines in emergency where directed by law enforcement, Emergency Management Director, a government or public agency related to purposes in compliance with federal, state, county, and city safety laws and regulations operated in compliance with this county ordinance.
Section 8. – Repealer.
All ordinances or parts of ordinances in conflict herewith are, to the extent of such conflict hereby repealed. If any clause, word, paragraph, section or other part or portion of this ordinance is held to be invalid, illegal, unlawful, or unconstitutional for any reason, the Randolph County Commission hereby declares it would nevertheless have enacted the remaining portions thereof; and such remaining portions shall remain in full force and effect.
Section 9. Effective Date.
This ordinance shall be in full force and effect from and after the date of December, 2019 and the Randolph County Commission directs the Randolph County Clerk to publish this ordinance.