153A-317.12. Definition of economic development and training district.

(a) Standards. - The board of commissioners may by resolution establish an economic development and training district for an area or areas of the county that, at the time the resolution is adopted, meet the following standards:

(1) All of the real property in the district primarily is being used for, or is subject to, a declaration of covenants, conditions, and restrictions that limits its use primarily to biotech processing, chemical manufacturing, pharmaceutical manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, telecommunications manufacturing, and any allied, ancillary, or subordinate uses including, without limitation, any research and development facility, headquarters or office, temporary lodging facility, restaurant, warehouse, or transportation or distribution facility.

(2) The district includes at least two pharmaceuticals manufacturing or bioprocessing facilities occupying sites in the district containing in the aggregate at least 425 acres owned by publicly held corporations.

(3) The bioprocessing and pharmaceuticals manufacturing facilities in the district employ in the aggregate at least 1,600 persons.

(4) The district includes an industrial park consisting of at least 60 acres within a noncontiguous parcel of at least 625 acres now or formerly owned by an airport authority.

(5) The district's zoning classifications permit the uses listed in this section.

(6) All real property in the district is either zoned for or is being used primarily for pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, chemical, telecommunications, or electronics manufacturing or processing or allied, ancillary, or subordinate uses.

(7) The district shall include a skills training center situated on a tract containing not less than eight acres, which facility shall be designed and staffed to provide relevant training to prepare existing or prospective employees of targeted industries for jobs in one or more of the pharmaceutical, biotech, life sciences, chemical, telecommunications, and electronics industries and allied, ancillary, or subordinate industries. The training center shall be completed within a reasonable period after the creation of the district.

(8) At the date of creation, no part of the district lies within the boundaries of any incorporated city or town.

(9) There exists a uniform set of covenants, conditions, restrictions, and reservations that applies to all real property in the district other than property owned by the federal, State, or local government.

(10) There exists in the district an association of owners and tenants to which owners of real property representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the assessed value of real property in the district belong, which association can make the recommendations provided for in G.S. 153A-317.13.

(11) A petition requesting creation of the district signed by owners of real property in the district who own real and personal property representing at least fifty percent (50%) of the total assessed value of the real and personal property in the district has been presented to the board of commissioners. In determining the assessed value of real and personal property in the district and the owners of real property, there shall be excluded: (i) real property exempted from taxation and real property classified and excluded from taxation and (ii) the owners of such exempted or classified and excluded property. Assessed value shall mean the most recent values determined by the county for the imposition of taxes on real and personal property.

(b) Findings. - The board of commissioners may establish an economic development and training district if, upon the information and evidence it receives, the board determines that:

(1) The proposed district meets the standards set forth in subsection (a) of this section;

(2) Economic development of the county will be served by providing selected skills training in a facility designed specifically to address the needs of targeted industries such as pharmaceuticals, biotech processing, telecommunications, electronics, and allied, ancillary, or subordinate supplies or services to induce existing industries and targeted industries to improve and expand their facilities and new industries to locate facilities in the district, thereby providing employment opportunities for the residents of the county;

(3) It is impossible or impractical to provide training facilities and services on a countywide basis to all existing and future employers in the county to the same extent as such training services are intended to be furnished within the district; and

(4) It is economically feasible to provide the proposed training facilities and services in the district without unreasonable or burdensome tax levies.

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

(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) of this section.

(3) A plan for providing the skills training center and training services 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) of this section 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 the certificate shall be conclusive in the absence of fraud.

(e) Effective Date. - The resolution creating a district shall take effect at the beginning of the fiscal year commencing after its passage or such other date as shall be determined by the board of commissioners. (2003-418, s. 1.)