113A-115. Designation of areas of environmental concern.

(a) Prior to adopting any rule permanently designating any area of environmental concern the Secretary and the Commission shall hold a public hearing in each county in which lands to be affected are located, at which public and private parties shall have the opportunity to present comments and views. Hearings required by this section are in addition to the hearing required by Article 2A of Chapter 150B of the General Statutes. The following provisions shall apply for all such hearings:

(1) Notice of any such hearing shall be given not less than 30 days before the date of such hearing and shall state the date, time and place of the hearing, the subject of the hearing, and the action to be taken. The notice shall specify that a copy of the description of the area or areas of environmental concern proposed by the Secretary is available for public inspection at the county courthouse of each county affected.

(2) Any such notice shall be published at least once in one newspaper of general circulation in the county or counties affected at least 30 days before the date on which the public hearing is scheduled to begin.

(3) Any person who desires to be heard at such public hearing shall give notice thereof in writing to the Secretary on or before the first date set for the hearing. The Secretary is authorized to set reasonable time limits for the oral presentation of views by any one person at any such hearing. The Secretary shall permit anyone who so desires to file a written argument or other statement with him in relation to any proposed plan any time within 30 days following the conclusion of any public hearing or within such additional time as he may allow by notice given as prescribed in this section.

(4) Upon completion of the hearing and consideration of submitted evidence and arguments with respect to any proposed action pursuant to this section, the Commission shall adopt its final action with respect thereto and shall file a duly certified copy thereof with the Attorney General and with the board of commissioners of each county affected thereby.

(b) In addition to the notice required by G.S. 113A-115(a)(2) notice shall be given to any interested State agency and to any citizen or group that has filed a request to be notified of a public hearing to be held under this section.

(c) The Commission shall review the designated areas of environmental concern at least biennially. New areas may be designated and designated areas may be deleted, in accordance with the same procedures as apply to the original designations of areas under this section. Areas shall not be deleted unless it is found that the conditions upon which the original designation was based shall have been found to be substantially altered. (1973, c. 1284, s. 1; 1975, c. 452, s. 5; 1975, 2nd Sess., c. 983, s. 78; 1981, c. 932, s. 2.1; 1987, c. 827, s. 135; 2000-189, s. 11.)