Souceks press release on Senate Bill 865 was not sent to the Town of Boone, according to Ball, but it makes reference to existing county policies already in place that address land uses surrounding Boone, when, in fact the Watauga County Commission has elected year after year not to exercise county-wide zoning.
- Written by Steve Frank
State Sen. Dan Soucek has responded to criticism and points from the Town of Boone on his introduction of Senate Bill 865, taking the powers of extraterritorial jurisdiction away from the town, saying Boones egregious imposition on people outside the towns limits is regulation without representation. If passed, the law would take effect Jan. 1, 2015. While ETJ residents cannot vote in town elections, they also do not pay town taxes and receive any town services at a non-resident rate, but residents of the ETJ do have representation on the town's Board of Adjustment and Planning Commission. Mayor Andy Ball saying, We are very disappointed to see a local bill proposing to eliminate Boone's authority to exercise extraterritorial jurisdiction. The ETJ is an essential planning tool used by small towns across North Carolina to protect property values, to ensure the quality of life for neighborhood residents, and to discourage urban sprawl. The Town of Boone should have the same rights as any other town or city in the state of North Carolina to manage its growth. It was our understanding there would be a statewide study on the extraterritorial jurisdiction, and that any recommendations coming from such as study would be applied statewide. Soucek said Asheville had ETJ rights removed in the long session, and said there is a bigger picture to the annexation issue state-wide, Boone has actually brought this up inadvertentlythat the purpose of ETJ after we didnt allow forced annexation anymorethe purpose of ETJ no longer exists, because it was designed to move toward forced annexation. And I would respond in that, of all the communities Ive looked at, that Boone violates the intent of this law more egregiously than anyone, and he said, I dont see any point in the citizens in the ETJ continue to suffer while we study...I think this action needs to be taken now.