(1) As used in this section “petitioner” means an owner and if the owner is a partnership or corporation it includes any person, partnership or corporation with 20% or more ownership interest in the petitioning partnership or corporation.
(2) The council may from time to time establish a policy regarding acceptance of petitions to construct local improvements to serve property. In establishing the policy, it shall consider:
(a) The city’s acknowledged land use designation for the area to be served and the impact of the development of the area on the goals of the community;
(b) The credit rating of the city and its ability to retire existing bond obligations using payments from the owners of previously assessed property;
(c) The level of petitioner’s investment in local improvements being constructed to serve the area;
(d) The availability of private capital or other means to finance local improvements to undeveloped property;
(e) The payment history of petitioners on other local improvement assessments;
(f) Any other factors the council deems significant.
(3) Except as directed to the contrary by council policy adopted pursuant to subsection 7.160(2), under this section the city engineer shall not approve a petition for construction of local improvements to serve residentially zoned undeveloped property until the petitioner:
(a) Is current on all obligations imposed by this chapter on the petitioner and on real property in which the petitioner holds legal title or an equitable interest; and
(b) Provides the city engineer with reasonable assurance that upon completion of the plans and specifications for the petitioned improvements, petitioner shall deposit with the city finance officer sufficient funds to keep the estimated assessments against petitioner’s real property equal to or less than the real property’s assessed value as determined by the Lane County Assessor.
(4) A person desiring to construct or to have a local improvement constructed shall first file a petition with the city engineer on forms provided by the city engineer.
(a) A petition for a local improvement to be constructed by the petitioner at the petitioner’s expense may be approved by the city engineer upon petitioner’s compliance with the applicable provisions of this chapter. The city engineer shall present to the council petitions for local improvements to be financed in any part by assessments against specially benefitted property. Such petitions may be presented singly or in a project group at the time requested by the petitioner, by the council or by the city engineer, whichever first occurs.
(b) Notwithstanding paragraph (a) of this subsection and subsection (8) of this section, the city engineer may reject a petition for a local improvement if, in the city engineer’s judgment, the cost to other properties that would be included in the local improvement district or the cost to the city for non-assessable components of the improvement is excessive in relation to the benefits to be conferred by constructing the improvement, if the city lacks funds or resources for the proposed improvement because they are committed to other improvement projects that have a higher priority, or if the proposed improvement would likely conflict with another improvement project that is in process. A person whose petition is rejected by the city engineer may submit to the council a written request that the council review the city engineer’s decision. If the council chooses to conduct such a review, it shall consider the petitioner’s written statement and the city engineer’s explanation of the reasons for the decision. The council may affirm the city engineer’s decision, request additional information, or direct the city engineer to accept the petition and present it to the council in accordance with subsection (6) of this section.
(5) The council, upon its own motion may initiate consideration of a proposed local improvement. Local improvement projects are also initiated for consideration under this section when the project is included in the council approved capital improvement plan.
(6) The city engineer, except when proceeding under subsection 7.160(8), following initiation of consideration shall furnish the council a report containing the following information and whatever additional information the council requires:
(a) A map showing the general nature, location, and extent of the proposed local improvement and the contemplated district within which land would be assessed for the cost of the proposed improvement.
(b) A list of all parcels of land in the district and of their owners.
(c) An estimate of the total cost of the proposed improvement with a breakdown showing the estimated amount and its percentage of the total estimate to be borne by any petitioner prior to assessment, by local improvement assessments against specially benefitted property, by the city and by any others.
(7) After considering a report furnished under subsection 7.160(6), the council may:
(a) Order the local improvement to be made and direct the city engineer to prepare plans and specifications for the improvement and to call for bids on the construction contract;
(b) Modify the improvement, order it to be made as modified, and direct the city engineer to prepare plans and specifications for the modified improvement and to call for bids on the construction contract;
(c) Require additional information about the improvement; or
(d) Decide not to make the improvement.
(8) Upon finding that the petitioner(s) own property that would bear more than half the estimated assessments for a petitioned local improvement, or that after polling property owners, the owners of property that would bear more than half the estimated assessments for an improvement are not opposed to the proposed improvement, or that sanitary sewer improvements are necessary for the public health and safety or for the economical and orderly development of public improvements, the city engineer shall initiate a proposed local improvement by:
(a) Preparing plans and specifications for the improvement as if the council had directed their preparation;
(b) Calling for bids on the improvement under section 7.165, and
(9) Parcels for which an equivalent assessment has been paid prior to construction of a street improvement pursuant to sections 7.180(5)(e) and 7.407 of this code shall be included in the local improvement district but shall not be assessed. A person who has previously paid such an equivalent assessment, or whose predecessor in interest or agent has done so, may petition for an improvement in the same manner as owners of property who have not paid an equivalent assessment, and the amount paid as an equivalent assessment shall be treated as the estimated assessment against the parcel for purposes of this subsection.