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Boone Staff Defines ‘Hardship Connection’ Policy for Council To Consider After Halting New ETJ Connections

By Jesse Wood

Sept. 15, 2014. In July, the Boone Town Council agreed with the town’s Water Use Committee and voted to continue serving the 398 water users in the town’s extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and suspend any new water connections in the ETJ until “hardships” were defined.

This came after the N.C. General Assembly abolished the town’s ETJ effective Jan. 1, 2015, and Mayor Andy Ball’s statement that in light of the passage of this legislation, the Boone Town Council would “immediately reconsider all water policies.”

In July, the Boone Town Council directed staff and town attorney to draft a set of parameters for the definition of hardship, so members of the public would know if they would be eligible to appear before Boone Town Council and plead their case in the future. At a prior meeting, council members discussed annexation and water policy and expressed that folks in the ETJ may want to secure town water and sewer services before the ETJ expires at the end of the year.

The council’s direction followed the recommendation by the Water Use Committee to halt all extensions or water hookups outside of the town’s limits – including what is now the short-lived ETJ – with the exception that the council would consider but not automatically grant hardship requests.

The committee, though, noted that the town didn’t have a definition of a “connection hardship” listed in the town’s water ordinance. The council will consider a draft of that definition for inclusion in the ordinance by the Boone Town Council on Thursday.

Staff has defined the connection hardship as “specified circumstances which make the application of the normal eligibility requirements for obtaining a connection to the water or sewer system unduly burdensome.”

See the hardship policy below:

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