Electric transmission and distribution line right-of-way maintenance.
163.3209 Electric transmission and distribution line right-of-way maintenance.—After a right-of-way for any electric transmission or distribution line has been established and constructed, no local government shall require or apply any permits or other approvals or code provisions for or related to vegetation maintenance and tree pruning or trimming within the established right-of-way. The term “vegetation maintenance and tree pruning or trimming” means the mowing of vegetation within the right-of-way, removal of trees or brush within the right-of-way, and selective removal of tree branches that extend within the right-of-way. The provisions of this section do not include the removal of trees outside the right-of-way, which may be allowed in compliance with applicable local ordinances. Prior to conducting scheduled routine vegetation maintenance and tree pruning or trimming activities within an established right-of-way, the utility shall provide the official designated by the local government with a minimum of 5 business days’ advance notice. Such advance notice is not required for vegetation maintenance and tree pruning or trimming required to restore electric service or to avoid an imminent vegetation-caused outage or when performed at the request of the property owner adjacent to the right-of-way, provided that the owner has approval of the local government, if needed. Upon the request of the local government, the electric utility shall meet with the local government to discuss and submit the utility’s vegetation maintenance plan, including the utility’s trimming specifications and maintenance practices. Vegetation maintenance and tree pruning or trimming conducted by utilities shall conform to ANSI A300 (Part I)—2001 pruning standards and ANSI Z133.1-2000 Pruning, Repairing, Maintaining, and Removing Trees, and Cutting Brush—Safety Requirements. Vegetation maintenance and tree pruning or trimming conducted by utilities must be supervised by qualified electric utility personnel or licensed contractors trained to conduct vegetation maintenance and tree trimming or pruning consistent with this section or by Certified Arborists certified by the Certification Program of the International Society of Arboriculture. A local government shall not adopt an ordinance or land development regulation that requires the planting of a tree or other vegetation that will achieve a height greater than 14 feet in an established electric utility right-of-way or intrude from the side closer than the clearance distance specified in Table 2 of ANSI Z133.1-2000 for lines affected by the North American Electric Reliability Council Standard, FAC 003.1 requirement R1.2. This section does not supersede or nullify the terms of specific franchise agreements between an electric utility and a local government and shall not be construed to limit a local government’s franchising authority. This section does not supersede local government ordinances or regulations governing planting, pruning, trimming, or removal of specimen trees or historical trees, as defined in a local government’s ordinances or regulations, or trees within designated canopied protection areas. This section shall not apply if a local government develops, with input from the utility, and the local government adopts, a written plan specifically for vegetation maintenance, tree pruning, tree removal, and tree trimming by the utility within the local government’s established rights-of-way and the plan is not inconsistent with the minimum requirements of the National Electrical Safety Code as adopted by the Public Service Commission; provided, however, such a plan shall not require the planting of a tree or other vegetation that will achieve a height greater than 14 feet in an established electric right-of-way. Vegetation maintenance costs shall be considered recoverable costs.