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Watauga Planning Board Schedules Special Meeting Feb. 13 To Continue HILU Discussions

By Jesse Wood

The Watauga County Planning Board has scheduled a special meeting on Monday, Feb. 13 for the continued discussion of the High Impact Land Use (HILU) ordinance and review of additional ordinances. The meeting will take place at 5:30 p.m. on the lower floor of the Watauga County Administration Building.

The planning board met on Monday, and according to Watauga County Planning Director Joe Furman, the board didn’t yet make any recommendations to the commissioners. The planning board will likely make some recommendations at the Feb. 13 meeting.

Earlier this month, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners directed county staff and the planning board to revisit the HILU ordinance and other ordinances as necessary in light of zoning authority in Boone’s former extraterritorial jurisdiction returning to Watauga County.

County Manager Deron Geouque also released a related tentative timeline for action by the commissioners. A moratorium on HILU development in the former ETJ ends March 10.

County staff and the commissioners are accepting emailed comments from the public on this issue no later than Jan. 31 at Public.Comments@watgov.org. The commissioners will likely schedule a public hearing in late February to consider recommendations from the public and to legally amend ordinances before the moratorium ends.