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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language


  

                         Laws of Minnesota 1983 

                        CHAPTER 329--H.F.No. 722
           An act relating to cable communications; authorizing 
          cable communications companies to use public roads for 
          certain purposes; defining terms; requiring access by 
          cable communications companies; providing residences 
          with freedom of choice of cable communications 
          services; imposing conditions of access; limiting 
          certain actions of property owners; allowing appeal; 
          specifying the measure of damages under a subsequent 
          condemnation; specifying certain prohibitions; 
          authorizing cable communications companies to use 
          existing utility easements; amending Minnesota 
          Statutes 1982, sections 222.37, subdivision 1; and 
          238.02, subdivision 1; proposing new law coded in 
          Minnesota Statutes, chapter 238.  
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
    Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1982, section 222.37, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  Any water power, telegraph, telephone, 
pneumatic tube, community antenna television, cable 
communications or electric light, heat, or power company may use 
public roads for the purpose of constructing, using, operating, 
and maintaining lines, subways, canals, or conduits, for their 
business, but such lines shall be so located as in no way to 
interfere with the safety and convenience of ordinary travel 
along or over the same; and, in the construction and maintenance 
of such line, subway, canal, or conduit, the company shall be 
subject to all reasonable regulations imposed by the governing 
body of any county, town or city in which such public road may 
be.  Nothing herein shall be construed to grant to any person 
any rights for the maintenance of a telegraph, telephone, 
pneumatic tube, community antenna television system, cable 
communications system, or light, heat, or power system within 
the corporate limits of any city until such person shall have 
obtained the right to maintain such system within such city or 
for a period beyond that for which the right to operate such 
system is granted by such city. 
    Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1982, section 238.02, 
subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
    Subdivision 1.  The words and phrases used in sections 
238.01 to 238.17 this chapter have the following meanings unless 
a different meaning clearly appears in the text. 
    Sec. 3.  [238.22] [DEFINITIONS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [SCOPE.] The terms used in sections 3 to 8 
have the meanings given them in this section.  
    Subd. 2.  [DWELLING UNIT.] "Dwelling unit" means a single 
unit providing complete, independent, living facilities for one 
or more persons, including permanent provisions for living, 
sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.  
    Subd. 3.  [MULTIPLE DWELLING COMPLEX.] "Multiple dwelling 
complex" means a site, lot, field, or tract of land or water, 
other than a condominium, cooperative, or mobile home park, 
whether occupied or under construction, containing more than 
four dwelling units. 
    Subd. 4.  [PROPERTY OWNER.] "Property owner" means any 
person with a recorded interest in a multiple dwelling complex, 
or person known to the cable communications company to be an 
owner, or the authorized agent of the person.  
    Subd. 5.  [RESIDENT.] "Resident" means a person or entity 
paying rent to a property owner.  
    Subd. 6.  [ACCESS.] "Access" means entrance onto the 
premises of the property owner and an easement for purposes of 
surveying, designing, installing, inspecting, maintaining, 
operating, repairing, replacing, or removing equipment used in 
the construction and operation of a cable communications system. 
    Sec. 4.  [238.23] [ACCESS REQUIRED.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [PROVISION OF ACCESS.] A property owner or 
other person controlling access shall provide a cable 
communications company access to the property owner's multiple 
dwelling complex.  The access provided must be perpetual and 
freely transferable by one cable communications company to 
another.  A cable communications company granted access, and its 
successors in interest, must fully comply with sections 3 to 8.  
    Subd. 2.  [RESIDENT'S RIGHTS.] The intent of sections 3 to 
8 is to give residents the freedom to choose among competing 
cable communications services and nothing in sections 3 to 8 
shall be interpreted to require residents to hook up or 
subscribe to any services offered by any cable communications 
company or alternative provider of cable communications services.
    Sec. 5.  [238.24] [CONDITIONS FOR ACCESS.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [IN GENERAL.] An installation of cable 
communications facilities under sections 3 to 8 must conform to 
reasonable conditions necessary to protect the safety, 
functioning, and aesthetic appearance of the premises, and the 
convenience and well-being of the property owner and residents.  
    Subd. 2.  [OWNER APPROVAL.] A property owner may require 
from a cable communications company before installation or 
modification of cable communications facilities, diagrams 
showing plans for the placement and securing of the facilities. 
A property owner may approve or disapprove installation plans. 
Approval of plans may not be unreasonably withheld.  
    Subd. 3.  [INSTALLATION; BOND.] The facilities must be 
installed in an expeditious and workmanlike manner, must comply 
with applicable codes, and must be installed parallel to utility 
lines when economically feasible.  A property owner may require 
a cable communications company to post a bond or equivalent 
security in an amount not exceeding the estimated cost of 
installation of the cable communications facilities on the 
premises.  Any bond filed by a cable communications company with 
a municipality which would provide coverage to the property 
owner as provided under this subdivision shall be considered to 
fulfill the requirements of this subdivision.  
    Subd. 4.  [INDEMNIFY FOR DAMAGE.] A cable communications 
company shall indemnify a property owner for damage caused by 
the company in the installation, operation, maintenance, or 
removal of its facilities.  
    Subd. 5.  [RELOCATION.] A property owner may require a 
cable communications company, after reasonable written notice, 
to promptly relocate cable communications facilities on or 
within the premises of the property owner for the purpose of 
rehabilitation, redecoration, or necessary maintenance of the 
premises by the property owner.  
     Subd. 6.  [MASTER ANTENNA TELEVISION SYSTEM.] Nothing in 
sections 3 to 8 precludes a property owner from entering into an 
agreement for use of a master antenna television system by a 
cable communications company or other television communications 
service.  
    Subd. 7.  [COST ALLOCATED.] A cable communications company 
shall bear the entire cost of the installation, operation, 
maintenance, and removal of a cable communications facility 
within the initial franchise service area.  
    Subd. 8.  [COMPENSATION FOR ACCESS.] (a) A cable 
communications company shall:  
    (1) compensate the property owner for the diminution in 
fair market value of the premises resulting directly from the 
installation of the nonexclusive cable communications system; 
and 
    (2) reimburse the property owner in an amount not to exceed 
$100 for premises containing less than ten dwelling units, and 
$200 for other premises, for actual costs incurred by the 
property owner with respect to the professional review of the 
plans and drawings regarding installation or modification of the 
cable communications system, associated contractual materials, 
and other documentation.  
    (b) With respect to paragraph (a), clause (1), any party 
appearing in a proceeding as provided under section 6 may 
introduce evidence of damages, if any, and special benefits, if 
any, to the property occurring by reason of the installation of 
the cable communications system.  
    Subd. 9.  [NOT RETROACTIVE.] Nothing in sections 3 to 8 
affects the validity of an agreement effective before the 
effective date of this act between a property owner, a cable 
communications company, or any other person providing cable 
communications services on or within the premises of the 
property owner.  
    Subd. 10.  [CHANNEL CAPACITY.] (a) A property owner must 
provide access by a franchised cable communications company, as 
required under section 4, only if that cable company installs 
equipment with channel capacity sufficient to provide access to 
other providers of television programming or cable 
communications services so that residents or association members 
have a choice of alternative providers of those services.  If 
the equipment is installed, the cable communications company 
shall allow alternative providers to use the equipment.  If some 
of the residents or association members choose to subscribe to 
the services of an alternative provider, the cable company that 
installed the equipment shall be reimbursed by the other 
providers for the cost of equipment and installation on the 
property on a pro rata basis which reflects the number of 
subscribers of each provider on that property to the total 
number of subscribers on that property.  In determining the pro 
rata amount of reimbursement by any alternative provider, the 
cost of equipment and installation shall be reduced to the 
extent of cumulative depreciation of that equipment at the time 
the alternative provider begins providing service.  
    (b) If equipment is already installed as of the effective 
date of this section with channel capacity sufficient to allow 
access to alternative providers, the access and pro rata 
reimbursement provisions of paragraph (a) apply.  
    (c) The board shall promulgate rules by January 1, 1984 to 
implement the provisions of this subdivision.  
     (d) Paragraphs (a) and (b) come into effect after rules 
have been promulgated and adopted in accordance with paragraph 
(c).  
    Sec. 6.  [238.25] [PROCEDURE.] 
    Subdivision 1.  [APPLICABLE PROVISIONS.] The procedure for 
acquiring access under sections 3 to 8 must be as provided under 
this section, notwithstanding any provisions of chapter 117.  
    Subd. 2.  [NOTICE AND OFFER; MANNER OF SERVICE.] (a) To 
obtain access to property under sections 3 to 8, a cable 
communications company shall serve written notice on all 
property owners.  The notice shall contain the following:  
     (1) the name and address of the cable communications 
company; 
     (2) the name of the property owners and address of the 
premises to which access is sought;  
    (3) the date of the franchise and city granting the 
franchise;  
    (4) the amount of compensation offered by the cable 
communications company to the property owner or owners; and 
    (5) the anticipated date on which access is to commence.  
    (b) If a property owner does not accept the offer made by 
the cable communications company, the property owner shall, 
within 45 days of the service of the notice and offer, notify 
the cable communications company of the refusal.  Failure to 
notify the cable communications company within 45 days as 
provided under this paragraph constitutes a refusal of the offer 
and a denial of access.  
    (c) The notice and offer must be served on the property 
owner or owners by certified mail or in the same manner as a 
summons in a civil action.  
    Subd. 3.  [INITIATION.] (a) A cable communications company 
which has been denied access to a multiple-dwelling complex may 
initiate proceedings under this section to obtain access.  
    (b) The cable communications company shall pay all costs of 
the proceedings including compensation to the property owner.  
    Subd. 4.  [PETITION FOR ACCESS.] (a) To obtain access to 
the property owner's premises, as required under section 4, the 
cable communications company shall file with the district court 
in the county in which the premises is located, a petition:  
    (1) stating that the cable communications company has 
served the property owners with the notice and offer required 
under subdivision 2 and that the offer has not been accepted;  
    (2) requesting a determination of the damages, if any, 
which may result from the access; and 
    (3) stating the legal description of the property owner's 
premises to which access is sought.  
    (b) Upon filing the petition with the district court, the 
cable communications company shall pay the property owner or 
deposit with the district court an amount equal to the company's 
offer of compensation as provided under subdivision 2, paragraph 
(a), clause (4).  
    (c) Upon filing of the petition with the district court, 
the cable communications company may file for record with the 
county recorder a notice of the pendency of the proceeding, 
describing with reasonable certainty the premises affected and 
the purposes of the petition.  
    Subd. 5.  [SERVICE OF PETITION.] The petition must be 
served upon all persons named in the petition as property owners 
in the same manner as a summons in a civil action; except that, 
service may be made upon a property owner by three weeks 
published notice if the cable communications company, its agent 
or attorney, files an affidavit stating on belief that the 
property owner is not a resident of the state and that the 
company has mailed a copy of the notice to the property owner at 
the property owner's place of residence, or that after diligent 
inquiry the property owner's place of residence cannot be 
ascertained by the company.  If the state is a property owner, 
the notice must be served upon the attorney general.  Any 
property owner not served as provided under this paragraph is 
not bound by the proceeding unless the property owner 
voluntarily appears therein.  
     Subd. 6.  [ORDER GRANTING ACCESS.] Upon the filing of the 
petition and proof of service as provided under this section, 
and prior to making a determination of damages under this 
section, the court shall enter an order granting access 30 days 
after the filing of the petition.  
    Subd. 7.  [ENTRY FOR SURVEYS AND ACCESS.] For the purpose 
of making surveys and examinations to accomplish all necessary 
preliminary purposes or for other purposes relative to any 
proceedings under this section, the cable communications company 
may lawfully enter a property owner's premises, doing no 
unnecessary damage and being liable only for actual damage done. 
    Subd. 8.  [JUDGMENT; DISMISSAL OF ACTION.] (a) The court 
shall enter judgment no sooner than ten days after it has filed 
its determination of damages.  (b) The cable communications 
company may at any time up to ten days after the filing of the 
court's determination of the damages dismiss any proceeding 
under this section against any property owner's premises by 
notifying the property owner and the court.  When the proceeding 
is dismissed, the property owner may recover from the cable 
communications company reasonable costs and expenses and 
temporary damages, if any.  
    Subd. 9.  [APPEAL.] Either party to the district court 
proceeding may appeal the court's determination within 90 days 
after the filing of that determination.  
    Subd. 10.  [FINAL CERTIFICATE.] Upon completion of the 
proceedings, the attorney for the cable communications company 
shall make a certificate describing the access acquired and the 
purpose or purposes for which acquired, and reciting the fact of 
final payment of all awards or judgments in relation thereto. 
The certificate must be filed with the clerk of court and a 
certified copy thereof filed for record with the county recorder.
The record is notice to all parties of the access to the 
premises described in the petition.  
    Subd. 11.  [NO RELOCATION BENEFITS.] Neither sections 
117.50 to 117.56 nor the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real 
Property Acquisition Policies Act of 1970 may be construed as 
applying to any persons affected by these proceedings.  
    Sec. 7.  [238.26] [SUBSEQUENT TAKING.] 
    In the event the premises upon which cable communications 
equipment has been installed is subsequently condemned by the 
state or by another entity empowered under state law to condemn 
by exercise of the power of eminent domain, the cable 
communications company's measure of damages for the taking shall 
be limited to the actual compensation originally paid by the 
cable communications company to the property owner under 
sections 3 to 8.  
    Sec. 8.  [238.27] [INTERFERENCE WITH FACILITIES.] 
     No person may interfere with the installation, operation, 
inspection, maintenance, or removal of cable communications 
facilities or activities of a cable communications company under 
sections 3 to 8 of this act.  
    Sec. 9.  [238.35] [USE OF EXISTING EASMENTS; RESTRICTIONS.] 
     Subdivision 1.  [LEGISLATIVE FINDINGS.] There is a 
long-standing legislative policy in the state of Minnesota to 
provide for the dedication or other provision of easements 
required by public utilities and cable communications 
companies.  Except for applicable governmental regulations, 
these easements do not include any limitation on the type, 
number, or size of cables or related cable communication system 
components.  There is a public understanding and acceptance of 
the need of public utilities and cable communications companies 
to have the ability to use existing utility easements in order 
to provide new and improved cable communications services made 
possible by technological developments and to make changes to 
the cables or related cable communication systems components. 
Changing technology has caused and will continue to cause over 
time the development of new cable communications services 
requiring changing uses of existing utility easements.  Cable 
communications companies have a need to use existing utility 
easements in order to deliver their services to the public.  The 
addition of cable communications system components does not 
constitute an unanticipated or added burden on the real estate 
subject to the easements.  
    Subd. 2.  [UTILITY EASEMENT DEFINED.] For purposes of this 
section, the term "utility easement" includes all utility 
easements or general purpose easements dedicated on a recorded 
plat to the public or to the state or to any political 
subdivision thereof; all deeded easements to the public or to 
the state or to any political subdivision thereof which are for 
general or utility purposes; all easements acquired by 
condemnation or prescription by the state or any political 
subdivision thereof which are for general or utility purposes; 
and all easements in favor of any public service corporation for 
telephone or electric transmission purposes.  
    Subd. 3.  [AUTHORIZATION TO USE EXISTING UTILITY 
EASEMENTS.] The state or any county, city, township, agency, or 
political subdivision thereof, or any individual, partnership, 
venture, or corporation which is licensed, franchised, or 
authorized thereby to establish and operate a cable 
communications company may utilize any existing utility easement 
in accordance with the provisions of this section to install, 
maintain, and remove cable communications system components 
without the payment of additional compensation to the owners or 
occupants of the real estate subject to the easement, other than 
the owner of the utility easement or its successors or assigns.  
    Subd. 4.  [RESTRICTIONS ON USE.] (a) As a condition of 
using any utility easement, a cable communications company shall 
be subject to any burdens, duties, or obligations specified in 
the easement of the grantee of the easement.  
    (b) A cable communications company shall restore the real 
estate, and any landscaping or improvements thereon, to the 
condition they were in prior to entry within 30 days of 
completing the installation of the cables and related cable 
communications system components upon that real estate and to 
make changes to the cables or related cable communication 
systems components.  Changing technology has caused and will 
continue to cause over time the development of new cable 
communications services requiring changing uses of existing 
utility easements.  Restoration which cannot be completed during 
the winter months must be accomplished as promptly as weather 
conditions permit.  
    Sec. 10.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
    This act is effective the day following final enactment.  
    Approved June 14, 1983