153A-312. Definition of research and production service district.

(a) Standards. - The board of commissioners may by resolution establish a research and production service district for any area of the county that, at the time the resolution is adopted, meets the following standards:

(1) All (i) real property in the district is being used for or is subject to covenants that limit its use to research; or scientifically-oriented production, technology, education; or associated commercial, residential, or institutional purposes; or for other purposes specifically authorized pursuant to the terms and conditions of the covenants, or (ii) if all the real property in the district is part of a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h), all such real property in the district is subject to covenants that limit its use to research or scientifically oriented production, associated commercial or institutional purposes, or other industrial and associated commercial and institutional uses.

(2) The district (i) contains at least 4,000 acres or (ii) satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h).

(3) The district (i) includes research and production facilities that in combination employ at least 5,000 persons or (ii) satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h).

(4) Repealed by Session Laws 2012-73, s.1, effective June 26, 2012.

(5) A petition requesting creation of the district signed by at least fifty percent (50%) of the owners of real property in the district who own at least fifty percent (50%) of total area of the real property in the district has been presented to the board of commissioners. In determining the total area of real property in the district and the number of owners of real property, there shall be excluded (1) real property exempted from taxation and real property classified and excluded from taxation and (2) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property.

(6) Repealed by Session Laws 2012-73, s.1, effective June 26, 2012.

(7) There exists in the district an association of owners and tenants, to which at least seventy-five percent (75%) of the owners of nonresidential real property belong, which association can make the recommendations provided for in G.S. 153A-313. This subdivision shall not apply to a research and production service district that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h).

(8) There exist deed-imposed conditions, covenants, restrictions, and reservations that apply to all real property in the district, provided that the covenants, restrictions, and reservations shall not be effective against the United States as long as it owns or leases property in the district but shall apply to any subsequent owner or lessee of such property.

(9) No part of the district lies within the boundaries of any incorporated city or town.

The Board of Commissioners may establish a research and production service district if, upon the information and evidence it receives, the Board finds that:

(1) The proposed district meets the standards set forth in this subsection; and

(2) It is impossible or impracticable to provide on a countywide basis the additional or higher levels of services, facilities, or functions proposed for the district; and

(3) It is economically feasible to provide the proposed services, facilities, or functions to the district without unreasonable or burdensome tax levies.

(a1) Additional Uses. - A developer of a research and production service district established prior to June 1, 2012, may amend the covenants that limit the use of real property in the district to include any of the following uses: research; or scientifically-oriented production, technology, education; or associated commercial, residential, or institutional purposes; or for other purposes specifically authorized pursuant to the terms and conditions of the covenants. A research and production service district is presumed to be in compliance with the standards in subsection (a) of this section if the district met the standards in subsection (a) of this section, as that subsection was enacted at the time of the establishment of the district.

(b) Multi-County Districts. - If an area that meets the standards for creation of a research and production service district lies in more than one county, the boards of commissioners of those counties may adopt concurrent resolutions establishing a district, even if that portion of the district lying in any one of the counties does not by itself meet the standards. Each of the county boards of commissioners shall follow the procedure set out in this section for creation of a district.

If a multi-county district is established, as provided in this subsection, the boards of commissioners of the counties involved shall jointly determine whether the same appraisal and assessment standards apply uniformly throughout the district, or, in the case of a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h), whether there is a current need in each participating county to levy a tax, which determination shall be made by each participating county's board of commissioners. This determination shall be set out in concurrent resolutions of the boards. If the same appraisal and assessment standards apply uniformly throughout the district, the boards of commissioners of all the counties shall levy the same rate of tax for the district, so that a uniform rate of tax is levied for district purposes throughout the district. If the boards determine that the same standards do not apply uniformly throughout the district, the boards shall agree on the extent of divergence between the counties and on the resulting adjustments of tax rates that will be necessary in order that an effectively uniform rate of tax is levied for district purposes throughout the district. In the event that one or more of the boards of commissioners in one or more of the counties participating in a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h) determines that there is no current need to levy a tax for all or part of the property meeting said requirements within its jurisdictional boundaries, then that county or those counties shall be under no obligation to do so. That county or those counties participating in a multijurisdictional industrial park that satisfies the criteria of G.S. 143B-437.08(h) that choose to levy a tax for all or part of the property meeting said requirements within its jurisdictional boundaries may do so without setting an effectively uniform rate of tax as described above, provided such rate shall not exceed the rate allowed in G.S. 143B-317(b).

The boards of commissioners of the counties establishing a multi-county district pursuant to this subsection may, by concurrent resolution, provide for the administration of services within the district by one or more counties on behalf of all the establishing counties.

(c) Report. - Before the public hearing required by subsection (d), the board of commissioners shall cause to be prepared a report containing:

(1) A map of the proposed district, showing its proposed boundaries;

(2) A statement showing that the proposed district meets the standards set out in subsection (a); and

(3) A plan for providing one or more services, facilities, or functions to the district.

The report shall be available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board for at least four weeks before the date of the public hearing.

(d) Hearing and Notice. - The board of commissioners shall hold a public hearing before adopting any resolution defining a district under this section. Notice of the hearing shall state the date, hour, and place of the hearing and its subject, and shall include a map of the proposed district and a statement that the report required by subsection (c) is available for public inspection in the office of the clerk to the board. The notice shall be published at least once not less than one week before the date of the hearing. In addition, it shall be mailed at least four weeks before the date of the hearing by any class of U.S. mail which is fully prepaid to the owners as shown by the county tax records as of the preceding January 1 (and at the address shown thereon) of all property located within the proposed district. The person designated by the board to mail the notice shall certify to the board that the mailing has been completed and his certificate is conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(e) Effective Date. - The resolution defining a district shall take effect at the beginning of a fiscal year commencing after its passage, as determined by the board of commissioners. (1985, c. 435, s. 1; 2009-523, s. 3(a); 2012-73, s. 1.)