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Chapter 14.18 - Stormwater Management Utility

14.18.010 Title
The ordinance codified in this chapter shall be known as the Stormwater Management Utility Ordinance of the City of Lakewood, Colorado. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.020 Purpose
A. Due to its general terrain and geographical location, property within the City of Lakewood is particularly subject to damage from stormwaters which from time to time overflow existing watercourses and drainage facilities. Therefore, the City of Lakewood hereby adopts this chapter in order to construct, operate and maintain stormwater facilities for its own use and for the use of public and private users within and without the territorial boundaries of the City, and to provide for a method whereby the City may prescribe, revise, and collect in advance or otherwise, from any owner of any real property receiving service therefrom, rates, fees, and charges or any combination thereof for the services furnished by stormwater facilities, including, without limiting the generality of the foregoing, minimum charges, charges for the availability of service, and reasonable penalties for any delinquencies, including but not necessarily limited to interest on delinquencies from any date due, reasonable attorneys' fees, and other costs of collection, and providing that the City Council of the City may modify, supervise, or regulate any such rates, fees or charges.
B. Furthermore, this chapter will promote the general public health, safety and welfare by reducing the potential for the movement of emergency vehicles to be impeded or inhibited during storm or flooding periods, and by minimizing storm and flood losses, inconvenience, and damage resulting from runoff in the City of Lakewood.
C. Notwithstanding the above, floods from runoff may occur which exceed the capacity of stormwater facilities constructed and maintained by funds made available pursuant to this chapter. This chapter does not imply that property subject to the fees and charges established herein will be free from stormwater flooding or flood damage. This chapter shall not create any liability on the part of the City or any officer or employee thereof for any flood damage. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.030 Definitions
For the purposes of this chapter, the following words and terms shall be defined as follows, unless the context in which they are used clearly indicates otherwise.
A. "Director" means the Director of the Department of Public Works of Lakewood, Colorado, or his/her designee.
B. "Development" means any manmade change to real property including, but not limited to, buildings or other structures, streets, parking lots, mining, dredging, filling, grading, paving, or excavating.
C. "Impervious surface" means surfaces on or in real property where the rate of infiltration of stormwater into the earth has been reduced by the works of man. For purposes of this chapter, buildings, manmade structures, driveways, patio areas, roofs, concrete or asphalt sidewalks, parking lots, or storage areas, and other bricked, oiled, macadam or hard-surfaced areas which impede passage of stormwaters into the earth's surface are deemed to be impervious.
D. "Person" means a natural person, corporation, partnership, or other entity.
E. "Project costs" means those costs of administration, management, planning, engineering, construction, reconstruction, right-of-way acquisition, replacement, contingencies, fiscal, legal, and all operation and maintenance costs of stormwater facilities including those costs to comply with federal, state or City laws regulating stormwater facilities or runoff.
F. "Runoff" means that part of snowfall, rainfall or other stormwater which is not absorbed, transpired, evaporated, or left in surface depressions, and which then flows controlled or uncontrolled into a watercourse or body of water.
G. "Service charge" means the Stormwater Management Utility Service Charge as created by this ordinance.
H. "Stormwater facilities" means any one or more of the various devices used in the collection, treatment, or disposition of storm, flood or surface drainage waters, including all manmade structures, or natural watercourses for the conveyance of runoff, such as: detention areas, berms, swales, improved watercourses, channels, bridges, gulches, streams, gullies, flumes, culverts, gutters, pumping stations, pipes, ditches, siphons, catch basins and street facilities; all inlets; collection, drainage or disposal lines; intercepting sewers, disposal plants; outfall sewers; all pumping, power, and other equipment and appurtenances; all extension, improvements, remodeling, additions, and alterations thereof; and any and all rights or interests in such stormwater facilities.
I. "Watercourse" means a stream having a body or banks and usually discharging into some other stream or body of water. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.040 Establishing Stormwater Management Utility
There is hereby established a Stormwater Management Utility. Through said utility the City shall construct, operate and maintain stormwater facilities and pay other project costs with the service charge and other funds available in the Stormwater Management Utility Fund. It is not the purpose of the Stormwater Management Utility to fund construction, operation, maintenance or other costs not directly associated with stormwater facilities. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.050 Establishing Stormwater Management Utility service charge
A. There is hereby imposed on the owner of each and every lot or parcel of land within the City containing an impervious surface, except as specifically hereinafter provided, a Stormwater Management Utility Service Charge. This service charge is deemed reasonable and is necessary to pay for: (1) the project costs of the existing City stormwater facilities; and (2) project costs of future City stormwater facilities. All of the proceeds of the service charge are for payment for use of the City's stormwater facilities by the owners of real property upon which the service charge is imposed.
B. All public and private highways, roadways, streets and alleys and associated sidewalks and bikepaths shall be a part of the stormwater facilities and, therefore, shall be exempt from all charges imposed by this chapter. Said exemption shall not apply to public or private parking lots, driveways, service drives, drive aisles or internal site roadways and sidewalks.
C. The basis for the amount of the charge is the extent to which each parcel of land within the City makes use of the stormwater facilities, such use to be defined as the runoff from the parcel's impervious surfaces. The charge is also based upon the cost of including the parcel in the property and billing records, plans and monitoring programs of the Stormwater Management Utility.
D. The service charge shall be paid upon billing by the City. The amount of the fee shall be in accordance with a schedule established by City Council resolution. Prior to consideration of a resolution to modify the fee, the City shall publicize the proposed fee modification and provide an opportunity for public input regarding the proposed fee.
E. The Director shall determine the number of square feet of impervious surface in or on the real property of each owner, using the definition of impervious surface set forth in this chapter. The impervious area for each single family detached property and for each duplex property shall be 2250 square feet unless modified by the Director pursuant to 14.18.070.
F. The service charge shall be subject to additional fees for delinquent payment, uncollectible checks, liens and any other penalties which are the same as those imposed with City water or sewer utility charges. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.060 Providing for the use of the service charge
A. All fees and charges paid and collected pursuant to this chapter shall be credited and deposited into a special enterprise fund, designated as the "Stormwater Management Utility Fund," and shall not be transferred to any other account of the City, except to pay for Project Costs.
B. The City may pledge all or any portion of the service charge, or any other fees and charges collected pursuant to this chapter, including those anticipated to be collected, to the payment of principal, interest, premium, if any, and reserves for general obligation bonds, revenue bonds or any other obligations lawfully issued or otherwise contracted for by the City for the payment or other financing of project costs, or for the purpose of refunding any obligations issued or otherwise contracted for such purpose.
C. The annual budget of the City shall include a proposed budget for project costs including the operation and maintenance of stormwater facilities for the ensuing budget year, and the construction of stormwater facilities during the same period. There shall also be included in the annual budget a statement of all amounts in the Stormwater Management Utility Fund, and an estimate of anticipated revenues for the ensuing budget year.
D. Any obligations issued or contracted for by the City pursuant to this chapter, or any other applicable provision of law, may be issued without the necessity of an election, unless such obligations shall be general obligation bonds of the City, in which event such obligations shall not be issued or contracted for without prior electoral approval. All such obligations shall be issuable in such form, shall mature at such time or times and in such amounts, shall be payable at such place, either within or without the State of Colorado, shall be subject to such terms of redemption and shall be secured in such manner as the City Council of the City shall determine. Such obligations may be sold at public or private sale under such terms and conditions as the City Council of the City shall determine. All other terms, provisions and other matters relating to such obligations shall be such as are approved by the City Council of the City.
E. A summary shall be prepared and distributed annually which describes the previous year's accomplishments, next year's proposed work plan, and issues associated with the Stormwater Management Utility. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.070 Administrative and Judicial Review
A. Any owner who disputes the amount of the service charge made against his property may petition the Director for a hearing on a revision or modification of such charge no later than thirty (30) days after having been billed for such charge. The Director may hold hearings himself, or may designate another as a hearing officer with authority to hold such hearing or hearings.
B. Such petition for a hearing shall be in writing, and the facts and figures submitted shall be submitted in writing as sworn statements, in a form acceptable to the Director, and at a hearing scheduled by the Director. The hearing shall take place within the City of Lakewood, and notice thereof and the proceedings shall otherwise be in accordance with rules and regulations issued by the Director.
C. The Director shall make a final decision and may confirm or modify such charge or determination in accordance with the facts submitted. Such decision by the Director shall be in writing and notice thereof shall be mailed to or served upon the petitioner within ten (10) days from the date of the Director's action. Service by certified mail, return receipt requested, shall be conclusive evidence of notice for the purpose of this chapter. Such action shall be considered a final order of the Director, and any review thereof shall be by the district court pursuant to Rule 106(a)(4) of the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedures. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.080 Penalty
A. It shall be unlawful for any person to violate any of the provisions of this chapter. Any person who violates the provisions of this chapter shall be subject to the penalties as set forth in Section 1.16.020.
B. In the event any owner or owners of any lot, parcel of land, or any real property within the legal boundaries of the City shall neglect, fail, or refuse to pay the charges or fees fixed by this chapter, the City may pursue any remedy available at law or equity to enforce and collect the service charge. The City may also recover, in addition to service charges due, all court costs, attorneys' fees and interest on the amount owing.
C. In addition to other civil collection procedures, all fees and charges, together with all interest and penalties for default in payment, and all costs in collecting the same, until paid, shall constitute a perpetual lien on the property, on a parity with the tax lien of general, state, county, city, town or school taxes, and no sale of such property to enforce any general, state, county, city, town or school tax or other liens shall extinguish the perpetual lien for such fees, charges, interest, penalties and costs.
D. Delinquent charges and fees may be collected as any other debt owed to the City at the option of the City.
E. Enforcement of this subsection shall be in the Municipal Court of the City or the District Court of Jefferson County. No remedy provided herein shall be exclusive, but the same shall be cumulative; and the taking of any action hereunder, including charge or conviction of violation of this chapter in the Municipal Court of the City, shall not preclude or prevent the taking of other action hereunder to enjoin any violation of that ordinance.  (Ord. O-2017-16 § 21, 2017; Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.090 Unusual circumstances
It is anticipated there will be situations which are not addressed by the procedures and criteria in this ordinance. In these cases the Director is delegated the authority to analyze and decide those cases. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).

14.18.100 Severability
In the event that any section, subsection, subdivision, paragraph, sentence, clause, or phrase of this chapter, or the application thereof, is for any reason held or decided to be unconstitutional or unlawful, such decision shall not affect the validity of the remaining portions or applications of this chapter. (Ord. O-98-28 § 1, 1998).