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Chapter 5 B     Entire Code
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Chapter 5B  |  Article 5B - 2
WVC 5B- CHAPTER 5B. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT ACT OF 1985.
WVC -2- ARTICLE 2. WEST VIRGINIA DEVELOPMENT OFFICE.

WVC 5B-2-1 §5B-2-1. West Virginia development office; confidentiality.
The governor's office of community and industrial development is hereby continued but is hereafter designated and shall be known as the West Virginia development office. All references in this code to the office of community and industrial development or the governor's office of community and industrial development shall be construed as references to the West Virginia development office.

Any documentary material, data or other writing made or received by the West Virginia development office or other public body, whose primary responsibility is economic development, for the purpose of furnishing assistance to a new or existing business shall be exempt from the provisions of article one, chapter twenty-nine-b of this code: Provided, That any agreement entered into or signed by the development office or public body which obligates public funds shall be subject to inspection and copying pursuant to the provisions of said article as of the date the agreement is entered into, signed or otherwise made public.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 2 §5B-2-2. Appointment and compensation of the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office.

     (a) The Governor shall appoint the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office who is qualified for the position by reason of his or her extensive education and experience in the field of professional economic development. The executive director serves at the will and pleasure of the Governor. The executive director shall have overall management responsibility and administrative control and supervision within the West Virginia Development Office. It is the intention of the Legislature that the executive director provide professional and technical expertise in the field of professional economic and tourism development.. Subject to the provisions of the contract provided in section four of this article, the executive director may hire and fire economic development representatives employed pursuant to the provisions of section five of this article.

     (b) The Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office may promulgate rules to carry out the purposes and programs of the West Virginia Development Office to include generally the programs available and the procedure and eligibility of applications relating to assistance under the programs. These rules are not subject to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code, but shall be filed with the Secretary of State. The executive director may adopt any of the rules previously promulgated by the council for community and economic development.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 3 §5B-2-3. Powers and duties of the executive director.

     The executive director shall enhance economic growth and development through the development of a comprehensive economic development strategy for West Virginia. "Comprehensive economic development strategy" means a plan that outlines strategies and activities designed to continue, diversify or expand the economic base of the state as a whole; create jobs; develop a highly skilled workforce; facilitate business access to capital, including venture capital; advertise and market the resources offered by the state with respect to the needs of business and industry; facilitate cooperation among local, regional and private economic development enterprises; improve infrastructure on a state, regional and community level; improve the business climate generally; and leverage funding from sources other than the state, including federal and private sources.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 3 A §5B-2-3a.

     Repealed.

Acts, 2015 Reg. Sess., Ch. 40.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 3 B §5B-2-3b. Development office promotion fund.
There is hereby established in the state treasury a special revenue fund known as the "development office promotion fund." Moneys deposited in this fund shall be administered by the development office and used solely to promote business formation, expansion, recruitment and retention through aggressive marketing and international development and export assistance, which together lead to more and better jobs with higher wages for all geographic regions and communities of the state, including rural areas and urban core areas, and for all residents, including minorities.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 4 §5B-2-4. Public-private partnerships.

     The West Virginia Development Office is authorized to enter into contractual or joint venture agreements with a nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to the corporate laws of the state, organized to permit qualification pursuant to section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and for purposes of the economic development of West Virginia, and funded from sources other than the state. The contract shall include provisions relating to the employment of economic development representatives assigned to the West Virginia Development Office to be paid a base salary by the state and performance-based economic incentives from private funds of the nonprofit corporation. Provisions relating to hiring practices with respect to economic development representatives, job descriptions, accountability, public-private liaison and performance standards may be the subject of contract negotiations. The contract shall include provision for continuing education and certification in the field of economic or industrial development for persons employed as economic development representatives. Agreements providing for the payment of performance-based incentives to the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office are authorized. Agreements providing for the payment of travel and expenses to the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office or to economic development representatives from private funds by the nonprofit corporation are authorized. The prohibitions of subdivisions (b) and (d), section five, article two, chapter six-b of this code are not applicable to the receipt by economic development representatives or by the executive director of performance-based incentives and other payments made by the nonprofit corporation and specifically authorized pursuant to this section.

     From time to time the executive director may enter into joint ventures wherein the West Virginia Development Office and the nonprofit corporation share in the development and funding of economic development programs.

     All contracts and joint venture agreements must be approved by the executive director. Contracts entered into pursuant to this section for longer than one fiscal year shall contain, in substance, a provision that the contract shall be considered cancelled without further obligation on the part of the state if the State Legislature or, where appropriate, the federal government, shall fail to appropriate sufficient funds therefor or shall act to impair the contract or cause it to be cancelled.

WVC 5B-2-4A §5B-2-4a. State allocation to regional councils.
The West Virginia development office may enter into contractual agreements with the regional councils formed under the provisions of section five, article twenty-five, chapter eight of this code to provide funding to the regional councils to be used to obtain federal matching grants and for other purposes determined to be appropriate by the development office. The maximum state allocation to each eligible regional council shall be forty thousand dollars: Provided, That the amount of the allocation shall be determined by dividing the number of eligible regional councils into the total amount of funds made available for allocation by the Legislature. The West Virginia development office shall develop criteria to determine a regional council's eligibility for the state allocation.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 5 §5B-2-5. Economic development representatives.

     (a) The executive director may employ economic development representatives to be paid a base salary within legislative appropriations to the West Virginia Development Office, subject to applicable contract provisions pursuant to section four of this article. Economic development representatives may receive performance-based incentives and expenses paid from private funds from a nonprofit corporation contracting with the West Virginia Development Office pursuant to the provisions of section four of this article. The executive director shall establish job descriptions and responsibilities of economic development representatives, subject to the provisions of any contract with a nonprofit corporation entered into pursuant to section four of this article.

     (b) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, economic development representatives employed within the West Virginia Development Office are not subject to the procedures and protections provided by articles six and six-a, chapter twenty-nine of this code. Any employee of the West Virginia Development Office on the effective date of this article who applies for employment as an economic development representative is not entitled to the protections of article six, chapter twenty-nine with respect to hiring procedures and qualifications; and upon accepting employment as an economic development representative, the employee relinquishes the protections provided for in article two, chapter six-c and article six, chapter twenty-nine of this code.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 6 §5B-2-6. Transition; savings provision.

     All programs, orders, determinations, rules, permits, grants, contracts, certificates, bonds, authorizations and privileges which have been issued, made, granted or allowed to become effective pursuant to any prior enactments of this article or by the Governor, the Governor's Office of Community and Industrial Development or its director, or by a court of competent jurisdiction, and which are in effect on February 1, 1992, shall continue in effect according to their terms until modified, terminated, superseded, set aside or revoked by the Governor or the Executive Director of the West Virginia Development Office pursuant to this article, by a court of competent jurisdiction or by operation of law.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 6 A §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.

WVC 5B-2-6b §5B-2-6b.
Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

WVC 5B-2-6c §5B-2-6c.
Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

WVC 5B-2-6d §5B-2-6d.
Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

WVC 5B-2-6e §5B-2-6e.
Repealed.

Acts, 1992 Reg. Sess., Ch. 55.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 7 §5B-2-7.

     Repealed.

Acts, 2015 Reg. Sess., Ch. 40.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 8 §5B-2-8. Division of Tourism and Tourism Commission continued; members, appointment and expenses.

     (a) There is hereby continued within the Department of Commerce the Division of Tourism and an independent Tourism Commission, which is a body corporate and politic, constituting a public corporation and government instrumentality.

     (b) Prior to July 1, 2011, the Governor, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, shall appoint to the Tourism Commission three members from the private sector to represent participants in the state's tourism industry, one for a term of four years, one for a term of three years and one for a term of two years.

     (c) Commencing July 1, 2011, the Tourism Commission shall consist of the following fifteen members with staggered terms:

     (1) Twelve members appointed by the Governor, with the advice and consent of the Senate, representing participants in the state's tourism industry. Ten of the members shall be from the private sector, one shall be a director employed by a convention and visitors bureau and one shall be a member of a convention and visitors bureau. In making the appointments the Governor may select from a list provided by the West Virginia Hospitality and Travel Association of qualified applicants. Of the twelve members so appointed, no less than three shall be from each congressional district within the state and shall be appointed to provide the broadest geographic distribution which is feasible;

          (2) One member to be appointed by the Governor to represent public sector nonstate participants in the tourism industry within the state;

     (3) The Secretary of Transportation or his or her designee, ex officio; and

     (4) The Director of the Division of Natural Resources or his or her designee, ex officio.

     (d) Each member appointed by the Governor shall serve staggered terms of four years. Any member whose term has expired shall serve until his or her successor has been appointed. Any person appointed to fill a vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired term. Any member shall be eligible for reappointment. In cases of vacancy in the office of member, such vacancy shall be filled by the Governor in the same manner as the original appointment.

     (e) Members of the commission shall not be entitled to compensation for services performed as members. A majority of these members shall constitute a quorum for the purpose of conducting business. The Governor shall appoint a chair of the commission for a term to run concurrent with the term of the office of the member appointed to be the chair. The chair is eligible for successive terms in that position. WVC 5 B- 2 - 9 §5B-2-9. Powers and duties of tourism commission.

     (a) The commission shall develop a comprehensive tourism promotion and development strategy for West Virginia. "Comprehensive tourism promotion and development strategy" means a plan that outlines strategies and activities designed to continue, diversify or expand the tourism base of the state as a whole; create tourism jobs; develop a highly skilled tourism work force; facilitate business access to capital for tourism; advertise and market the resources offered by the state with respect to tourism promotion and development; facilitate cooperation among local, regional and private tourism enterprises; improve infrastructure on a state, regional and community level in order to facilitate tourism development; improve the tourism business climate generally; and leverage funding from sources other than the state, including local, federal and private sources.

     (b) In developing its strategies, the commission shall consider the following:

     (1) Improvement and expansion of existing tourism marketing and promotion activities;

     (2) Promotion of cooperation among municipalities, counties, and the West Virginia Infrastructure and Jobs Development Council in funding physical infrastructure to enhance the potential for tourism development.

     (c) The tourism commission shall have the power and duty:

     (1) To acquire for the state in the name of the commission by purchase, lease or agreement, or accept or reject for the state, in the name of the commission, gifts, donations, contributions, bequests or devises of money, security or property, both real and personal, and any interest in such property, to effectuate or support the purposes of this article;

     (2) To make recommendations to the Governor and the Legislature of any legislation deemed necessary to facilitate the carrying out of any of the foregoing powers and duties and to exercise any other power that may be necessary or proper for the orderly conduct of the business of the commission and the effective discharge of the duties of the commission;

     (3) To cooperate and assist in the production of motion pictures and television and other communications;

     (4) To purchase advertising time or space in or upon any medium generally engaged or employed for said purpose to advertise and market the resources of the state or to inform the public at large or any specifically targeted group or industry about the benefits of living in, investing in, producing in, buying from, contracting with, or in any other way related to, the state of West Virginia or any business, industry, agency, institution or other entity therein: Provided, That of any funds appropriated and allocated for purposes of advertising and marketing expenses for the promotion and development of tourism, not less than twenty percent of the funds shall be expended with the approval of the Director of the Division of Natural Resources to advertise, promote and market state parks, state forests, state recreation areas and wildlife recreational resources;

     (5) To promote and disseminate information related to the attractions of the state through the operation of the state's telemarketing initiative, which telemarketing initiative shall include a centralized reservation and information system for state parks and recreational facilities; and

     (6) To take such additional actions as may be necessary to carry out the duties and programs described in this article.

     (d) The commission shall submit a report annually to the Secretary of Commerce, the Governor and the Legislature about the development of the tourism industry in the state and the necessary funding required by the state to continue the development of the tourism industry.

     (e) The Commissioner of the Division of Tourism shall assist the commission in the performance of its powers and duties and the commissioner is hereby authorized in providing this assistance to employ necessary personnel, contract with professional or technical experts or consultants and to purchase or contract for the necessary equipment or supplies.

     (f) The commission shall promulgate legislative rules pursuant to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-a of this code to carry out its purposes and programs, to include generally the programs available, the procedure and eligibility of applications relating to assistance under such programs and the staff structure necessary to support such programs, which structure shall include the qualifications for a professional staff person qualified by reason of exceptional training and experience in the field of advertising to supervise the advertising and promotion functions of the commission, and shall further include provision for the management of West Virginia welcome centers. The commission is further authorized to promulgate procedural rules pursuant to said chapter to include instructions and forms for applications relating to assistance. WVC 5B-2-10 §5B-2-10. Program and policy action statement; submission to joint committee on government and finance.
The tourism commission, the West Virginia development office and any other authorities, boards, commissions, corporations or other entities created or amended under this chapter and article eleven, chapter eighteen-b of this code, shall prepare and submit to the joint committee on government and finance on or before the first day of December, one thousand nine hundred ninety-five, and each year thereafter, a program and policy action statement which shall outline in specific detail according to the purpose, powers and duties of the office or section, its procedure, plan and program to be used in accomplishing its goals and duties as required under this article.

WVC 5B-2-11 §5B-2-11. Public private partnerships.
(a) The commission is authorized to enter into contractual or joint venture agreements with a nonprofit corporation organized pursuant to the corporate laws of the state, organized to permit qualification pursuant to Section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code and organized for purposes of the promotion and development of tourism in West Virginia, and funded from sources other than the state. Members of the commission are authorized to sit on the board of directors of the private nonprofit corporation.

(b) From time to time the commission may enter into joint ventures wherein the West Virginia development office and the nonprofit corporation share in the development and funding of tourism promotion or development programs.

(c) All contracts and joint venture agreements must be approved by recorded vote of the commission. Contracts entered into pursuant to this section for longer than one fiscal year shall contain, in substance, a provision that the contract shall be considered canceled without further obligation on the part of the state if the Legislature or, where appropriate, the federal government shall fail to appropriate sufficient funds therefor or shall act to impair the contract or cause it to be canceled.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 12 §5B-2-12. Tourism Promotion Fund created; use of funds.

     (a) There is hereby continued in the State Treasury the special revenue fund known as the Tourism Promotion Fund created under prior enactment of section nine, article one of this chapter.

     (b) Seventy-five percent of the moneys deposited in the fund each year shall be used solely for marketing, advertising and public relations efforts for building the brand identity of Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia and promoting travel and tourism within the state at the discretion and direction of the Commissioner of the Division of Tourism: Provided, That no less than one percent of these funds be expended, with the approval of the Secretary of Commerce, to effectively promote and market the state's parks, state forests, state recreation areas and wildlife recreational resources. "Direct advertising" means advertising which includes, but is not limited to, television, radio, mailings, newspaper, magazines, digital marketing, including the Internet and social media, and outdoor billboards or any combination thereof.

     (c) The balance of the moneys deposited in the fund shall be used for direct advertising within the state's travel regions as defined by the commission. The funds shall be made available to these districts beginning July 1, 1995, according to legislative rules authorized for promulgation by the Tourism Commission.

     (d) No member of the commission or of any committee created by the commission to evaluate applications for advertising or other grants may participate in the discussion of, or action upon, an application for or an award of any grant in which the member has a direct financial interest.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 12 A §5B-2-12a. Tourism fund support for 2004 Pete Dye West Virginia Classic in Harrison County.
Notwithstanding the provisions of section twelve of this article, the tourism commission may expend moneys from the tourism promotion fund in the amount necessary and up to but not exceeding seven hundred fifty thousand dollars to support the 2004 Pete Dye West Virginia Classic in Harrison County which will be held in the month of July, two thousand four. Any requirements for matching grants under the rules promulgated pursuant to section twelve of this article shall not apply to this section.

The provisions of this section shall expire on the thirtieth day of December, two thousand four.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 13 §5B-2-13.
Repealed.

Acts, 2010 Reg. Sess., Ch. 32. WVC 5 B- 2 - 14 §5B-2-14. Certified development community program.
The certified development community program is continued and is transferred to, incorporated in and administered as a program of the West Virginia development office. The program shall provide funding assistance to the participating economic development corporations or authorities through a matching grant program. The West Virginia development office shall establish criteria for awarding matching grants to the corporations or authorities within the limits of funds appropriated by the Legislature for the program. The matching grants to eligible corporations or authorities are in the amount of thirty thousand dollars for each fiscal year, if sufficient funds are appropriated by the Legislature. The West Virginia development office shall recognize existing county, regional or multicounty corporations or authorities where appropriate.

In developing its plan, the West Virginia development office shall consider resources and technical support available through other agencies, both public and private, including, but not limited to, the state college and university systems; the West Virginia Housing Development Fund; the West Virginia Economic Development Authority; the West Virginia Parkways, Economic Development and Tourism Authority; the West Virginia Round Table; the West Virginia Chamber of Commerce; Regional Planning and Development Councils; Regional Partnership for Progress Councils; and state appropriations.

WVC 5 B- 2 - 6 A §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) Beginning July 1, 2011, an application for a brownfield economic development district may not be approved unless the district conforms to a county's or municipality's planning and zoning laws established pursuant to the provisions of article seven, eight and nine, 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 October 1, 2008, to facilitate the initial implementation of this section. WVC 5 B- 2 - 8 A §5B-2-8a. Commissioner of Tourism.

     (a) The division of tourism is under the direction and charge of the Commissioner of Tourism.

     (b) The commissioner shall be appointed by the Governor: Provided, That the person serving as commissioner at the time of the enactment of this section in 2011, shall continue to serve in that capacity at the will and pleasure of the Governor. The commissioner's salary shall be set the Governor. The commissioner shall be a competent person, having executive ability and knowledge of publicity, advertising and tourist promotion.

     (c) In addition to other duties required of the division by other provisions of this code, the division shall:

     (1) Coordinate media events to promote a positive image of West Virginia and new investment in the tourist industry;

     (2) Provide comprehensive strategic planning services to existing tourism enterprises;

     (3) Promote attractions of West Virginia in other states; and

     (4) Distribute West Virginia informational publications and manage the West Virginia Welcome Centers.

Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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