(a) The Mayor is authorized to require that the use of a vault occupied or used under the authority of this subchapter shall be subject to the condition that the District shall have the right at any time to install or construct under, over, or through said vault any water pipe, gas pipe, sewer, conduit, other pipe, or other public or public utility underground construction that the Mayor may consider it necessary in the public interest to place in the space occupied by such vault, without compensation to the owner of the private property abutting the space in which such vault is located or to the person occupying or using such vault. Each person using or occupying a vault, upon notice from the Mayor that a water pipe, gas pipe, sewer, conduit, other pipe, or other public or public utility underground construction is to be introduced in the space occupied by such vault, shall commence to move, and forthwith remove, if necessary, any boiler, pipe, wall, beam, machinery, or construction in or pertaining to said vault, or any fixture or other thing therein, without cost to the District, so as to leave a space clear and sufficient in the judgment of the Mayor for the introduction and maintenance of any such underground construction or installation. The Mayor is further authorized to require each applicant for a permit to construct a vault in public space, as a condition precedent to the issuance of the permit, to agree for himself and his heirs and assigns that the Mayor shall have the right to enter upon the premises at any time for the inspection and proper maintenance or repair of any public underground construction or installation in such vault, and that in case there is any change in the street, roadway, or sidewalk above such vault, the vault shall be subject to a corresponding change, as directed by the Mayor, without expense to the District of Columbia.
(b) In the event a person occupying or using a vault under the authority of this subchapter shall fail or refuse to perform or to permit the performance of any work required by the Mayor under the authority of subsection (a) of this section, the Mayor is authorized to apply to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for, and said Court is hereby authorized to issue, an order empowering the Mayor to enter upon the private property abutting the public space in which such vault is located for the purpose of performing such work as may be necessary in connection with the construction or installation in such public space of any water pipe, gas pipe, sewer, conduit, other pipe, or other underground construction or installation that the Mayor may consider it necessary or desirable to place in such space, and the District and its officers and employees shall not be liable for any damage to real or personal property which may result from the performance of any such work, other than such damage as may be caused by the gross negligence of the District or of any of its officers or employees. Process in connection with the application for such order shall be served on the owner in accordance with the rules of said Court relating to the service of process in civil actions. In the event such owner is not to be found in the District after reasonable search and an affidavit to this effect is made on behalf of the District, such process may be served by publication for 1 day each week for 3 consecutive weeks in a newspaper of general circulation in the District, and, if service of process is by publication, a copy of such process and publication shall be sent to such owner by certified mail at his last known address as recorded in the real estate assessment records of the District. The cost to the District of performing such work, including, without limitation, the reasonable cost to the District of securing the court order authorized by this subsection and any advertising in connection therewith, shall be a charge which may be levied by the Mayor as a tax against the property abutting the public space in which a vault is located, to be collected in the manner authorized by § 10-1103.07.
1981 Ed., § 7-1014.
1973 Ed., § 7-915.
Change in Government
This section originated at a time when local government powers were delegated to the District of Columbia Council and to a Commissioner of the District of Columbia. The District of Columbia Self-Government and Governmental Reorganization Act, 87 Stat. 818, § 711 ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.11), abolished the District of Columbia Council and the Office of Commissioner of the District of Columbia. These branches of government were replaced by the Council of the District of Columbia and the Office of Mayor of the District of Columbia, respectively. Accordingly, and also pursuant to § 714(a) of such Act ( D.C. Code, § 1-207.14(a)), appropriate changes in terminology were made in this section.