CHAPTER 8. MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS.
ARTICLE 31. INTERGOVERNMENTAL RELATIONS -- FRANCHISE OBLIGATIONS.
PART I. GRANTING OF FRANCHISE.
§8-31-1. Conditions to granting of franchise by governing body or
county court; term of franchise; public service
commission power and authority not affected.
Every municipality and every county court are hereby empowered
and authorized to grant an exclusive or nonexclusive franchise to
any person. No franchise, however, shall hereafter be granted by
the governing body of any municipality or by the county court of
any county where the application for such franchise has not been
filed, with the recorder of such municipality or the clerk of such
county court, at least thirty days prior to the time when it is to
be acted upon by such governing body or county court, and where
notice of such application, stating the object of such franchise,
has not been given by publication thereof as a Class II legal
advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three,
chapter fifty-nine of this code, for which publication the
publication area shall be the municipality or the county, as the
case may be, wherein such franchise is to be granted. No such
franchise shall be granted within thirty days after the application
has been filed, nor until an opportunity has been given any person
interested in the granting or refusing of such franchise to be
heard. No such franchise shall hereafter be granted by any
municipality or county court for a longer term than fifty years:
That nothing in this section shall prevent the renewal of
any such franchise for a term not exceeding fifty years, when the same shall have expired. No such franchise hereafter granted for
any longer term than fifty years shall be of any force or validity.
Notwithstanding the provisions of this article or any other
provisions of this chapter, other general law or any charter, the
failure or inability of any person to obtain from any municipality
or county court a franchise for the rendering of a public service
shall in no way whatever affect the power and authority granted to,
and the duties and obligations imposed upon, such person under the
provisions of chapter twenty-four of this code or by the public
PART II. COMPELLING COMPLIANCE WITH FRANCHISE.
§8-31-2. Compelling compliance with franchise obligations;
When any person has obtained or shall hereafter obtain any
franchise, and the terms, conditions or manner of exercising such
franchise are embodied in the ordinance of the municipality or the
order of the county court granting such franchise, or are otherwise
either voluntarily assumed, or by law imposed upon such person,
then and in each of such cases the circuit court of the county
(except so far as the powers herein conferred upon the circuit
court are, by chapter twenty-four of this code, conferred upon the
public service commission) in which the municipality or the major
portion of the territory thereof is located or for which the county
court acted shall have power by mandamus to compel such person, and
the successors and assigns of such person, to use and exercise such
franchise in accordance with the lawful terms and conditions and in
the manner so prescribed in such ordinance or order or otherwise
lawfully so defined or assumed, and to do and perform each and
every lawful obligation or duty attached to such franchise, whether
such obligation or duty be voluntarily assumed or imposed by law.
Such mandamus may be awarded at the instance of such
municipality or county, and this section shall not be construed to
deprive such municipality or county, or any inhabitant thereof, of
any other remedy to compel such person to comply with the terms,
conditions and agreements of such franchise, or of the right to recover damages for noncompliance therewith or to affect, remove or
lessen the liability of such person to forfeiture of such franchise
for failure so to use and exercise such franchise.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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