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Bill to Strip Boone’s ETJ Powers Passes in Senate, Will Now Be Considered by the House of Representatives

Correction: This story previously stated that Governor Purdue would have a chance to veto this bill. However, this is a local bill, so she will have no say in the matter. The High Country Press apologizes for the error.  

By Jesse Wood

June 21, 2012. A bill that would strip Boone’s ETJ powers passed on the Senate floor and will no be considered by the House of Representatives, where it will be referred to committee, if approved, will be debated and voted on at second and third readings on the floor of the House. 

Yesterday, it passed its second reading on the Senate floor with overwhelming support in a 32-17 vote. Of the 50 N.C. Senators, 19 are Democrats and 31 are Republicans. 

The bill in question is Senate Bill 949; Senator Dan Soucek of District 45, which represents Alexander, Ashe, Watauga and Wilkes counties is the primary sponsor of the bill. Yesterday on the Senate floor, Dan Soucek stated that constituents in the ETJ don’t have a voice “cause Boone hasn’t listened to them.” He said the Town of Boone has “grossly” over stepped their “authority.” He added that there is more than one municipality nearby, such as Blowing Rock, which “hasn’t abused their authority.”

Last week, Soucek told the High Country Press: “My goal was not to take away the ETJ powers of Boone,” said Soucek. “It was to give a voice to the people in the ETJ who had felt ignored and bullied for years. They basically have regulation without representation.”

Boone Mayor Loretta Clawson released a statement on June 4:

“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.”

Read previous articles about this bill: