ETJ hearing set
by Allison Haver
The passing of the bill means the town of Boone will no longer have authority to apply its zoning regulations to an area in the county roughly one mile outside of town limits, a power it has exercised since 1983.
Nearly 200 municipalities in the state exercise the same power, which has been authorized statewide since 1959.
Boone will be stripped of its ETJ authority effective Jan. 1, 2015.
"I have asked that this board now consider doing a public hearing during its second meeting in August at 6 p.m. to hear from people of the county of what they want done in the ETJ, if anything " board Chairman Nathan Miller said.
The motion to hold the public hearing in August was unanimously passed by the commissioners.
Although a public hearing has been set for August, four people spoke out about the ETJ bill during the public comment portion of the commissioners' meeting Tuesday evening.
"I believe, as do many in my neighborhood and in adjacent communities, that this was done without regard to how it would affect the land value and the living conditions of those of us that fought so hard to have some property-wise protections," Annette Reeves, a resident of the ETJ, said. "This is another case of elitist exercising their political clout of the majority."
Another ETJ resident, Lee Strew, said that while he believed that the public hearing could turn into a "shootout fest," he would like to be a part of a discussion to take a look at the needs of the former ETJ neighborhoods.
Jeff Templeton said that as a resident of the ETJ he was overjoyed with the recent passage of the bill.
"However, I am concerned about the potential impacts that decision might have on some of the established neighborhoods in the ETJ," Templeton said.
"As time is limited, I would ask that you consider working with Watauga County Planning Board members and county staff to seek recommendations for determining what, if any, regulations are needed," he said.
Town of Boone Councilman Quint David thanked the commissioners for being willing to hold a public meeting on the issue and asked the board to look ahead and contact members of the town council or members of the town of Boone Planning Board to work together.
"So we can have some measure of conformity," David said.