160A-536. Purposes for which districts may be established.

(a) Purposes. - The city council of any city may define any number of service districts in order to finance, provide, or maintain for the districts one or more of the following services, facilities, or functions in addition to or to a greater extent than those financed, provided or maintained for the entire city:

(1) Beach erosion control and flood and hurricane protection works.

(1a) (For applicability see note) Any service, facility, or function which the municipality may by law provide in the city, and including but not limited to placement of utility wiring underground, placement of period street lighting, placement of specially designed street signs and street furniture, landscaping, specialized street and sidewalk paving, and other appropriate improvements to the rights-of-way that generally preserve the character of an historic district; provided that this subdivision only applies to a service district which, at the time of its creation, had the same boundaries as an historic district created under Part 3A of Article 19 of this Chapter.

(2) Downtown revitalization projects.

(2a) Urban area revitalization projects.

(2b) Transit-oriented development projects.

(3) Drainage projects.

(3a) Sewage collection and disposal systems of all types, including septic tank systems or other on-site collection or disposal facilities or systems.

(3b) (For applicability see note) Lighting at interstate highway interchange ramps.

(4) Off-street parking facilities.

(5) Watershed improvement projects, including but not limited to watershed improvement projects as defined in General Statutes Chapter 139; drainage projects, including but not limited to the drainage projects provided for by General Statutes Chapter 156; and water resources development projects, including but not limited to the federal water resources development projects provided for by General Statutes Chapter 143, Article 21.

(6) Conversion of private residential streets to public streets as provided in subsection (e) of this section.

(b) Downtown Revitalization Defined. - As used in this section "downtown revitalization projects" are improvements, services, functions, promotions, and developmental activities intended to further the public health, safety, welfare, convenience, and economic well-being of the central city or downtown area. Exercise of the authority granted by this Article to undertake downtown revitalization projects financed by a service district do not prejudice a city's authority to undertake urban renewal projects in the same area. Examples of downtown revitalization projects include by way of illustration but not limitation all of the following:

(1) Improvements to water mains, sanitary sewer mains, storm sewer mains, electric power distribution lines, gas mains, street lighting, streets and sidewalks, including rights-of-way and easements.

(2) Construction of pedestrian malls, bicycle paths, overhead pedestrian walkways, sidewalk canopies, and parking facilities both on-street and off-street.

(3) Construction of public buildings, restrooms, docks, visitor centers, and tourism facilities.

(4) Improvements to relieve traffic congestion in the central city and improve pedestrian and vehicular access to it.

(5) Improvements to reduce the incidence of crime in the central city.

(6) Providing city services or functions in addition to or to a greater extent than those provided or maintained for the entire city.

(7) Sponsoring festivals and markets in the downtown area, promoting business investment in the downtown area, helping to coordinate public and private actions in the downtown area, and developing and issuing publications on the downtown area.

(c) Urban Area Revitalization Defined. - As used in this section, the term "urban area revitalization projects" includes the provision within an urban area of any service or facility that may be provided in a downtown area as a downtown revitalization project under subdivision (a)(2) and subsection (b) of this section. As used in this section, the term "urban area" means an area that (i) is located within a city and (ii) meets one or more of the following conditions:

(1) It is the central business district of the city.

(2) It consists primarily of existing or redeveloping concentrations of industrial, retail, wholesale, office, or significant employment-generating uses, or any combination of these uses.

(3) It is located in or along a major transportation corridor and does not include any residential parcels that are not, at their closest point, within 150 feet of the major transportation corridor right-of-way or any nonresidentially zoned parcels that are not, at their closest point, within 1,500 feet of the major transportation corridor right-of-way.

(4) It has as its center and focus a major concentration of public or institutional uses, such as airports, seaports, colleges or universities, hospitals and health care facilities, or governmental facilities.

(c1) Transit-Oriented Development Defined. - As used in this section, the term "transit-oriented development" includes the provision within a public transit area of any service or facility listed in this subsection. A public transit area is an area within a one-fourth mile radius of any passenger stop or station located on a mass transit line. A mass transit line is a rail line along which a public transportation service operates or a busway or guideway dedicated to public transportation service. A busway is not a mass transit line if a majority of its length is also generally open to passenger cars and other private vehicles more than two days a week.

The following services and facilities are included in the definition of "transit-oriented development" if they are provided within a transit area:

(1) Any service or facility that may be provided in a downtown area as a downtown revitalization project under subdivision (a)(2) and subsection (b) of this section.

(2) Passenger stops and stations on a mass transit line.

(3) Parking facilities and structures associated with passenger stops and stations on a mass transit line.

(4) Any other service or facility, whether public or public-private, that the city may by law provide or participate in within the city, including retail, residential, and commercial facilities.

(d) Contracts. - A city may provide services, facilities, functions, or promotional and developmental activities in a service district with its own forces, through a contract with another governmental agency, through a contract with a private agency, or by any combination thereof. Any contracts entered into pursuant to this subsection shall comply with all of the following criteria:

(1) The contract shall specify the purposes for which city moneys are to be used for that service district.

(2) The contract shall require an appropriate accounting for those moneys at the end of each fiscal year or other appropriate period. The appropriate accounting shall include the name, location, purpose, and amount paid to any person or persons with whom the private agency contracted to perform or complete any purpose for which the city moneys were used for that service district.

(d1) In addition to the requirements of subsection (d) of this section, if the city enters into a contract with a private agency for a service district under subdivision (a)(1a), (2), or (2a) of this section, the city shall comply with all of the following:

(1) The city shall solicit input from the residents and property owners as to the needs of the service district prior to entering into the contract.

(2) Prior to entering into, or the renewal of, any contract under this section, the city shall use a bid process to determine which private agency is best suited to achieve the needs of the service district. The city shall determine criteria for selection of the private agency and shall select a private agency in accordance with those criteria. If the city determines that a multiyear contract with a private agency is in the best interest of the city and the service district, the city may enter into a multiyear contract not to exceed five years in length.

(3) The city shall hold a public hearing prior to entering into the contract, which shall be noticed by publication in a newspaper of general circulation, for at least two successive weeks prior to the public hearing, in the service district.

(4) The city shall require the private agency to report annually to the city, by presentation in a city council meeting and in written report, regarding the needs of the service district, completed projects, and pending projects. Prior to the annual report, the private agency shall seek input of the property owners and residents of the service district regarding needs for the upcoming year.

(5) The contract shall specify the scope of services to be provided by the private agency. Any changes to the scope of services shall be approved by the city council.

(e) Converting Private Residential Streets to Public Streets. - A city may establish a municipal service district for the purpose of converting private residential streets to public streets if the conditions of this subsection are met. The property tax levied in a municipal service district created for this purpose may be used only to pay the costs related to the transfer of ownership of the streets, evaluation of the condition of the private streets, and the design and construction costs related to improving the private streets to meet public street standards as approved by the governing board. Notwithstanding G.S. 160A-542, the property tax rate in a district created for this purpose may not be in excess of thirty percent (30%) of the ad valorem tax rate in effect in the city in the fiscal year prior to the establishment of the district. After the private streets have been upgraded to meet public street standards and all costs have been recovered from the tax in the district, no further tax may be levied in the district, and the city council must abolish the municipal service district as provided by G.S. 160A-541.

Notwithstanding G.S. 160A-299, if a city abandons the streets and associated rights-of-way acquired pursuant to this subsection, the street-related common elements must be returned to the owners' association from which the city acquired them in a manner that makes the owners' association's holdings in common elements as they were prior to the establishment of the municipal service district.

For a city to create a municipal service district for the purpose of converting private residential streets to public streets, all of the following conditions must be met:

(1) The private residential road must be nongated.

(2) The city must receive a petition signed by at least sixty percent (60%) of the lot owners of the owners' association requesting the city to establish a municipal service district for the purpose of paying the costs related to converting private residential streets to public streets. The executive board of an owners' association for which the city has received a petition under this subsection may transfer street-related common elements to the city, notwithstanding the provisions of either the North Carolina Planned Community Act in Chapter 47F of the General Statutes or the North Carolina Condominium Act in Chapter 47C of the General Statutes, or related articles of declaration, deed covenants, or any other similar document recorded with the Register of Deeds.

(3) The city must agree to accept the converted streets for perpetual public maintenance.

(4) The city must meet one of the following requirements:

a. Located primarily in a county that has a population of 750,000 or more according to the most recent decennial federal census, and also located in an adjacent county with a population of 250,000 or more according to the most recent decennial federal census.

b. Located primarily in a county with a population of 250,000 or more according to the most recent decennial federal census, and also located in an adjacent county with a population of 750,000 or more according to the most recent decennial federal census. (1973, c. 655, s. 1; 1977, c. 775, ss. 1, 2; 1979, c. 595, s. 2; 1985, c. 580; 1987, c. 621, s. 1; 1999-224, s. 1; 1999-388, s. 1; 2004-151, s. 1; 2004-203, s. 5(m); 2009-385, s. 1; 2011-72, ss. 1, 2; 2011-322, s. 1; 2012-79, s. 1.11; 2015-241, s. 15.16B(a); 2016-8, s. 1.)