Any municipality or county or any two or more municipalities or counties, or any combination thereof, may cooperate with the political subdivisions of other states bordering on this state for the purpose of creating, by an agreement, an interstate regional planning commission, whenever such political subdivisions comprise a region which would benefit from cooperative planning. The agreement entered into by the several political subdivisions shall specify the extent of the region included within the jurisdiction of the interstate regional planning commission; and shall fix the membership comprising the commission, the terms of office and method of appointment of the members thereof, the duration of the commission, the method for terminating the commission, the method of disposal of all property belonging to the commission, the distribution of the proceeds, and the apportionment of the costs of maintaining the planning commission to be borne respectively by the various political subdivisions included within the agreement, such apportionment to be based on the population of the various participating political subdivisions. Any such agreement shall be executed on behalf of any municipality by the governing body thereof and on behalf of a county by the county commission.
The state of West Virginia may be an ex officio member of any such interstate regional planning commission formed under the provisions of this article. The Governor or a representative designated by him shall represent the state in the deliberations of any interstate regional planning commission or its agencies or instrumentalities but this state shall not be a voting member of any interstate regional planning commission or any agency or instrumentality thereof.
The term "region," as used in this article, shall mean a specific metropolitan interstate area designated by the proper federal agency pursuant to the "Demonstration Cities and Metropolitan Development Act of 1966" and any amendments thereto, as well as all other interstate areas which would benefit from cooperative planning. Before any area in this state is included within an interstate region for interstate planning, it shall be approved by the Governor: Provided, That no territory within any municipality or county not having a planning commission shall be included in an interstate area.
Any member of an interstate regional planning commission may hold any other public office, appointive or elective, if not prohibited by some other statute or Constitutional provision, and a member thereof may also serve as a member of a municipal, county or regional planning commission. The members of the commission shall serve without compensation but may be reimbursed for all reasonable and necessary expenses actually incurred in the discharge of their commission duties. The commission shall elect its own chairman or other officers from among its members and shall establish its own rules and regulations and bylaws, schedule of meetings and such committees with such powers as it may deem necessary to carry on its work.
Any such commission shall make a quarterly report to the governing body of each municipality and to the county court of each county contributing to the financial support of such commission, containing an itemized account of its receipts and disbursements during the preceding quarter. Such report shall be made within thirty days after the end of each quarter. At the end of each fiscal year, any such commission shall arrange for an independent audit of its financial affairs and within thirty days after the end of such fiscal year, such commission shall furnish a copy of the report of such audit to any such governing body or county court and shall cause a copy thereof to be published as a Class I legal advertisement in compliance with the provisions of article three, chapter fifty-nine of this code, and the publication area for such publication shall be each municipality and county which contributed to the financial support of such commission.
(a) An interstate regional planning commission may make studies, maps, plans and reports relative to the region and shall recommend procedures and policies to the appropriate authorities, based on physical, social, economic and governmental conditions and trends, to promote the coordinated development of the region and the general health, welfare, convenience and prosperity of the people of the region. Such planning and coordination may reflect the following planning criteria:
(1) Goals, objectives, standards and principles for the development of the region;
(2) The distribution and intensity of general land use and open space;
(3) The general circulation pattern for the region, including land, water and air transportation and communication facilities, and continuing comprehensive transportation planning;
(4) The general location, character and extent of public and private works and facilities which are of area-wide or regional, as distinguished from purely local, concern; and
(5) Long-range programming and financing of capital projects and facilities.
(b) The commission shall:
(1) Review plans and proposals for projects and programs of interstate or regional significance which may be proposed by others;
(2) Review and make recommendations concerning administrative and regulatory measures to implement area-wide or regional plans;
(3) Review and make recommendations concerning effective utilization of such federal and state assistance as may be available on a regional basis or as may have a regional impact;
(4) Collect, analyze and report on statistics and other information concerning traffic, housing, population and social, economic and physical conditions of the region;
(5) Make recommendations to governmental bodies within such region for such actions as are necessary and proper to further the coordinated development of the region; and
(6) Conduct necessary investigations and research and cooperate with other public and private agencies or persons to conduct such investigations and research on planning problems affecting the region.
(a) Any political subdivision which becomes a member of any interstate regional planning commission may contract each fiscal year with said interstate regional planning commission to pay a proportionate part of the expenses properly chargeable to the planning services rendered to such political subdivision, and any funds budgeted for interstate planning may be paid over by the political subdivision to the interstate regional planning commission.
(b) An interstate regional planning commission may accept and use funds, grants and services from the federal government or its agencies, from departments, agencies and instrumentalities of any adjoining state, and from any municipality, county or other political subdivision of this or any adjoining state, including municipal, county, regional or other planning commissions of this or any adjoining state, or from private sources, or services from departments, agencies or instrumentalities of this state, and may contract with respect thereto and provide such information and reports as may be necessary to secure such financial or other aid. Within the amounts thus agreed upon and appropriated or otherwise received, any commission may employ such engineers, planners, consultants and other employees as are necessary and may rent or own such space and make such purchases as it deems necessary to its use.