Our View: Building mountains in Raleigh
The exercising of Boone's extraterritorial jurisdiction powers have rightly raised some local concerns in the past, and especially during the past year. But bringing those concerns statewide before the N.C. Senate, and now the N.C. House of Representatives, in the form of a precedent-setting piece of legislation is a course of action destined to lead to state-level legal challenges and irresolution.
The wise direction would have been to resolve the issue with Boone lawmakers, but in presenting Senate Bill 949 to eliminate Boone's ETJ powers, Sen. Dan Soucek misguidedly chose a route that will surely be mired in constitutional challenges — if it gains similar approval in the House and so directly becomes law. Local bills do not need the governor's signature.
In considering the bill, Sen. Josh Stein from Raleigh will prove prescient when he expressed concerns about possible constitutional issues with the proposed legislation. Already, following council action in closed session, Boone lawmakers have committed to considering legal options to challenge the proposal.
Were we convinced that the intent behind this bill was in the best interest of our community, Soucek's actions would be easier to digest. But, as Soucek has forgotten, building in the mountains — on mountainous slopes and otherwise — presents challenges found nowhere else in the state.
It is because of these challenges, unique to the High Country, that the issue of Boone's ETJ powers should be resolved here and not on the road to Raleigh.