Statement from Loretta Clawson Regarding ETJ

Published Monday, June 4, 2012 at 10:02 am

Statement from Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson:

I am very disappointed and extremely concerned over a bill that has been introduced in the General Assembly (Senate Bill 949) that will solely target the Town of Boone and prevent it from exercising its rights under North Carolina law to enforce zoning laws in the extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction (ETJ) around the corporate limits of the town. Approximately 3,500 people will be affected within this area by not having zoning protection for their properties.

Should this bill become law, people who purchased their homes thinking they would be protected by zoning from land uses which might negatively affect them can no longer count on that protection, since any type of development will be possible anywhere. The Town will be unable to prevent high-density development on the mountains, which create Boone’s spectacular backdrop. Following visually disturbing developments, the Town adopted ordinances to prevent similar projects. These ordinances will be nullified if this bill is passed.

A form of extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction has existed in North Carolina since 1949, and has allowed municipalities to protect the health, safety and welfare of property owners within the immediate area just outside corporate limits. In addition, the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the rights of municipalities to exercise extraterritorial zoning jurisdiction authority on ETJ residents. ETJ powers are necessary to ensure that development at the edge of towns: 1) is compatible with development within the town; 2) is orderly; and, 3) promotes health and safety within the town limits. As was noted when ETJ authority was initially extended to all towns and cities in North Carolina, “Health and safety problems arising outside the city do not always respect city limits as they spread.” Having an ETJ is a direct benefit for economic development as well as maintaining property values.

If you are a citizen within the ETJ outside of the Town of Boone, which is the sole ETJ being challenged by this bill, and are concerned with the negative impact this legislation could have on your property, please contact your local representatives, Senator Dan Soucek (919-733-5742 or Dan.Soucek@ncleg.net); Representative Jonathan Jordan (919-733-7727 or Jonathan.Jordan@ncleg.net); Speaker of the House Thom Tillis (919-733-3451 or Thom.Tillis@ncleg.net); or, Senator and President Pro Tem Phil Berger (919-733-5708 or Phil.Berger@ncleg.net) to express your concerns and ask them to withdrawal Senate Bill 949.

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