Senate Bill No. 88

(Senators Oliverio and Unger, original sponsors)


[Passed March 6, 2008; in effect ninety days from passage.]


AN ACT to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §5B-2-6a, relating to the creation of brownfield economic development districts; providing eligibility criteria; exempting brownfield economic development districts from land-use planning provisions; and requiring the development office to promulgate emergency rules by the first day of July, two thousand eight, to implement this new section.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §5B-2-6a, to read as follows:
§5B-2-6a. Brownfield economic development districts; applications; fees; rules.

(a) Any property owner of a tract of land that is a brownfield or voluntary remediated site pursuant to article twenty-two, chapter twenty-two of this code may, if the site and surrounding area were involved in the extraction and processing of coal, limestone or other natural resources, apply to the development office to become a brownfield economic development district.
(1) Applicants for a brownfield economic development district must demonstrate that the district when designated will create significant economic development activity;
(2) Applicants shall submit a development plan that provides specific details on proposed financial investment, direct and indirect jobs to be created and the viability of the district;
(3) Brownfield economic development districts:
(A) May not contain single-family housing;
(B) Shall provide all the infrastructure within the district without cost to the state, county, public service district or local municipal government;
(4) Applicants shall demonstrate that were it not for this designation, the contemplated development would not be possible and that the development is in the best interest of the state;
(5) The applicant shall own or control the property within the district ;
(6) All costs for the application process shall be borne by the applicant;
(7) An applicant shall demonstrate that the applicant has attempted to work in good faith with local officials in regard to land-use issues;
(8) Brownfield economic development districts are not subject to the provisions of chapter eight-a of this code;
(9) Prior to granting a designation of brownfield economic development district, the applicant shall provide documentation that the applicant has met all the requirements set forth in article twenty-two, chapter twenty-two of this code to be designated as a brownfield site or voluntary remediated site and is in compliance with the remediation plan;
(10) Nothing may be construed by this section to exempt brownfield economic districts from environmental regulation that would pertain to the development;
(11) The decision of the development office in regard to an application is final; and
(12) Once designated, the district shall work in conjunction with the regional brownfield assistance centers of Marshall University and West Virginia University as specified in section seven, article eleven, chapter eighteen-b of this code.
(b) The development office shall propose rules for legislative approval in accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to implement this section and the rules shall include, but not be limited to, the application and time line process, notice provisions, additional application consideration criteria and application fees sufficient to cover the costs of the consideration of an application. The development office shall promulgate emergency rules pursuant to the provisions of section fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code by the first day of October, two thousand eight, to facilitate the initial implementation of this section.