Boone loses ETJ

Posted June 25, 2014

NC Flag, Legislative Building, Raleigh

— House lawmakers gave final approval Wednesday, 65-47, to strip the town of Boone of its extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Supporters argued that the town had abused its power, which lawmakers granted to cities in 1959 to allow them to plan for growth in areas adjacent to city limits.

Boone Mayor Andy Ball said that town leaders are "extremely disappointed" in the decision, warning that the change will lead to "destabilized property values, increased urban sprawl effects and serious adverse consequences for public safety and stormwater in a county without zoning."

Rep. Mike Hager, R-Rutherford, said it isn't true that residents of the current area controlled by Boone's extraterritorial jurisdiction would be left unprotected.

"The county has a heavy industrial and high-impact use ordinance now," Hager argued. "That’s the same thing we have in Rutherford County, and it works pretty good."

Critics of the measure have said the bill was sought by a local developer who had been prevented by the Board of Adjustment from building student apartments in the ETJ. The developer's son spoke in favor of the measure Monday in committee.

Rep. Robert Brawley, R-Iredell, spoke against the bill, saying he had received two dozen emails against it, all from residents of the community, and only two in support. He read from one on the House floor.

"This bill would remove important protections for the citizens who live in the ETJ," Brawley read. "It makes no sense to single out this one town to remove these protections set in place so many years ago."

Brawley said the email writer asked him to allow the people of Boone to sort it out locally.

"No one approached the residents who live inside the Boone ETJ, nor did they hold a public forum," he read. "This issue has been handled outside of Boone and without any notification or discussion with the residents."

Hager noted that both lawmakers who represent Boone – Rep. Jonathan Jordan and Sen. Dan Soucek, both Republicans – are in favor of the measure.

Ball said, however, that Soucek did not notify the town before introducing the bill.

"This is the first time in history the State of North Carolina takes zoning authority from a municipality," Ball said.

Because the measure, Senate Bill 865, affects only Boone, it's what's known as a "local" bill. The final House votes means it becomes law without consideration by the governor.

"The Town Council will now be forced to immediately reconsider all water policies in light of this bill becoming law and consider whether water can continue to be provided to Boone ETJ properties or any unincorporated areas of the county," Ball told WRAL News in a written statement. "We are awaiting a detailed legal opinion on this bill's impact on residents of the Boone ETJ, and will continue to work to protect these property owners as we are able."


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  • velofellow Jun 26, 2014

    Republican-led House approves legislation that favors moneyed interests/developers?? Wow, imagine that! Can't let zoning regulations that protect the community and the environment get in the way when there is money to be made; that would be Socialism.

  • Eq Videri Jun 26, 2014
    user avatar

    Bad long-term strategy for Republicans, who should want towns to annex the more conservative suburbanites.

  • glarg Jun 26, 2014

    View quoted thread

    I'll help:

    The towns only had power to make rules for people and property in other jurisdictions because it was given to them by the State.

    The State is just withdrawing power that it invested in towns.

    This should be a helpful shot across the bow to other cheeky town managers.

  • pamwilliamson Jun 26, 2014

    Those of you who don't know what what Mr. Soucek's and Mr. Jordan's bill gets for us up here in Watauga should check out "The Cottages," a new development just outside Boone's zoning jurisdiction. Here are a few pictures: http://www.hcpress.com/news/cottages-of-boone-development-delayed-about-360-tenants-to-be-holed-up-two-to-a-room-in-hotels.html

  • Teresa Engel Jun 26, 2014
    user avatar

    View quoted thread

    I especially love your comment about Boone telling other people what they can do on their own land. It reminds me of a little legislation passed by these state "leaders", telling people what they can do on their own land. Its called "Fast Tracking Fracking". This state legislature is chock full of hypocrites. And hopefully, many of them will be sent home in November, including Mr. Tillis.

  • Matt Wood Jun 26, 2014
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    View quoted thread

    The whole point of this was that they were NOT allowing new development, so it seems to me they were trying to check growth. But now growth will really be unchecked since developers can now do whatever they want just outside Boone's borders.

  • Hippy_mom Jun 26, 2014

    I am old enough to remember when Boone was truly "quaint." Recently the Town of Boone wanted to put a water intake plant on the Watauga/Ashe border to draw water from the New River. Makes one wonder if growth is a little unchecked?

  • pamwilliamson Jun 25, 2014

    "The county has a heavy industrial and high-impact use ordinance now," Hager argued. "That’s the same thing we have in Rutherford County, and it works pretty good."
    Last time I looked Rutherford didn't have the tallest mountains in North Carolina and a major university. Rep. Hager should keep his nose in his own business instead of pushing his bigger government philosophy on us.

  • glarg Jun 25, 2014

    Excellent! Trim these "Progressives" back to where they have to live under their own rules.

    They love spending other people tax dollars. Love telling other people what they can do on their own land.

    You abused it Andy Ball, now you get nothing. Good day, Sir!

  • Paul Maxwell Jun 25, 2014
    user avatar

    Have patience, Boone! Both Mr. Soucek and Mr. Jordan will be private citizens in November. ( Along with more than a few others, I imagine....)