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Town Board of Adjustment Halts Hearings on Seven Oaks Concrete Plant Until September

Photo courtesy of www.brmconcrete.com

By Greg Hince

July 10, 2012. The Boone Board of Adjustment, as part of the Unified Development Ordinance Board, heard appeals of 10 cited violations at the Boone Ready-Mix concrete plant late into the evening June 5, which prompted the board to stop the hearing, with plans to resume later meetings in September. 

The meeting, which began around 5:30 p.m., lasted until nearly 11:30 p.m.

The plant, located at 110 Seven Oaks Road, was grandfathered in when the location was zoned a B3 General Business as part of Boone’s area of extraterritorial jurisdiction in November 1998. The adjacent neighborhood is zoned R1 Single-Family Residential.

The Watauga County register of deeds lists Delta Holdings LLC as the leaser of the property, having leased it in June 2011 from owners of Boone Ready-Mix, Michael and Geraldine Perry.

The town has received a number of written complaints in the past year from residents of the Seven Oaks subdivision adjacent to Boone Ready-Mix. The town Planning & Inspections Department has said that residents have formally complained about concerns over safety, pollution and the appearance of the plant.

All North Carolina municipalities have statutory authority to create extraterritorial jurisdictions (ETJ) outside of city limits, and have since 1959. ETJ laws have caused a great amount of friction among Seven Oaks residents and local lawmakers.

Members of the subdivision recently joined the town of Boone in opposing legislation eliminating Boone’s ETJ powers. Senate Bill 949 would have abolished ETJ powers for the town of Boone, but the bill died when the 2012 legislative session ended.

Senate Bill 949, entitled “AN ACT PROVIDING THAT THE TOWN OF BOONE SHALL NOT EXERCISE THE POWERS OF EXTRATERRITORIAL JURISDICTION,” was introduced May 30 by NC Sen. Dan Soucek, a Republican from Boone, and specifically revoked the town of Boone’s ETJ powers, effective June 30, 2013.

The Boone Town Council scheduled a closed session meeting June 4 to discuss the matter with the town attorney and a separate meeting with the Water Study Committee to discuss future water allocations outside of town limits.

Attorney Nathan Miller, of Boone, is the Republican chairman of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners and represents Delta Holdings. 

“I look forward to presenting my whole case in September,” Miller said.

On his Linkedin page, Miller states “On the civil litigation side I have represented individual landlords working to evict non paying tenants to complex business litigation that involved million dollar claims. I also handle all manner of real estate closings and corporate matters. Our firm presently handles all cases except bankruptcy.”

Delta Holdings recently lost their grandfathered use and was cited for carrying on activities not permitted in the R1 zoning district and use of the property for unauthorized and impermissible combination uses.

The hearings also addressed other code violations relating to permits, dumping and erosion controls.

During cross-examination in the hearings, Miller asked Brian Johnson, an Urban Design Specialist with Boone’s Planning & Inspections Department, a line of questions about the town’s claim that the plant had closed down for six months, which would ultimately cause the plant to lose its grandfathered status.

“We can irrefutably show the county council and the town that we never had to shut down in those 180 days, for any reason,” Miller said. 

He questioned Johnson on the frequency of the town’s observations of the plant. Johnson stated that he personally visited the site at least five times.

A number of Seven Oaks residents testified during the hearing. Nearly every seat in the Boone Council Chambers was filled.

For more information on Senate Bill 949 visit: https://www.hcpress.com/tag/senate-bill-949.