Senate Bill 1627
North Carolina Certified Retirement Community Program
In July of 2008, the Legislature passed SB 1627, which creates a North Carolina Certified Retirement Community program, to be administered by the North Carolina Department of Commerce. G.S. Section 1, §143B-437.100. (Effective July 1, 2010)
There is established the North Carolina Certified Retirement Community Program as part of the 21st Century Communities program of the North Carolina Department of Commerce. The Department shall coordinate the development and planning of the NC Certified Retirement Community program with other State and local groups interested in participating in and promoting the NC Certified Retirement Community Program. The Department shall adopt administrative rules to implement the provisions of this Part. For purposes of this Part, "Department" means the NC Department of Commerce, and "Program" means the NC Certified Retirement community Program.
The purpose of the Program is to encourage retirees and those planning to retire to make their homes in North Carolina. In order to further this purpose, the Department shall engage in the following activities:
- Promote North Carolina as a retirement destination to retirees and potential retirees both in and outside North Carolina;
- Assist North Carolina communities in their efforts to market themselves as desirable retirement locations and to develop communities that retirees would find attractive for a retirement lifestyle;
- Assist in developing retirement communities and long-term living communities for economic development purposes and as a means of providing a potential workforce and enriching North Carolina communities;
- Encourage tourism to North Carolina to evaluate the state as a desirable retirement location and for visiting those who have retired in this state.
The Department shall identify factors that are of interest to retirees or potential retirees in order to inform them of the benefits of living in North Carolina. These factors shall be used to develop a scoring system to determine whether an applicant will qualify as a North Carolina certified retirement community and may include the following:
- North Carolina's State and local tax structure
- Housing opportunities and cost
- Climate. Personal safety
- Working opportunities
- Health care and continuing care services
- Continuing education
- Leisure living. Recreation
- The performing arts
- Festivals and events
- Other services and facilities necessary to enable persons to age in the community with a minimum of restrictions.
The Department shall establish criteria for qualifying as a North Carolina certified retirement community. To be eligible to obtain certification as a North Carolina certified retirement community, the community shall meet each of the following requirements:
- Be located within 30 miles of a hospital and/or emergency medical services.
- Take steps to gain the support of churches, clubs, businesses, media, and other entities whose participation will increase the Program's success in attracting retirees or potential retires.
- Establish a retiree attraction committee. The retiree attraction committee shall fulfill or create subcommittees to fulfill each of the following:
- Conduct a retiree desirability assessment analyzing the community with respect to each of the factors identified by the Department and submit a report of the analysis to the Department.
- Send a representative of the retirement attraction committee to attend State training meetings conducted by the 21st Century Communities program during the certification process.
- Raise funds necessary to run the Program, organize special events, and promote and coordinate the Program with local entities.
- Establish a community image, evaluate target markets, and develop a marketing and public relations plan designed to accomplish the purpose of the Program.
- Develop a system that identifies and makes contact with existing and prospective retirees, that provides tour guides when prospects visit the community, and that responds to inquiries, logs contacts made, invites prospects to special community events, and maintains continual contact with prospects until the prospect makes a retirement location decision.
- Remit an application fee to the 21st Century Communities program equal to the greater of ten thousand dollars ($10,000) or the product of fifty cents ($0.50) multiplied by the population of the community, as determined by the most recent census.
- Submit the completed marketing and public relations plan designed to accomplish the purpose of the Program to the Department.
- Submit a long-term plan outlining the steps the community will undertake to maintain or improve its desirability as a destination for retirees, including corrections to any services or facilities identified in the retiree desirability assessment (2008-188,s.1.)