At their meeting this morning, the Republican majority of the Watauga County Commission made their intent clear, as far as the Town of Boone is concerned: ill will and open warfare.
The Commission has statutory right to appoint Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) members to both the Boone Area Planning Board and the Board of Adjustments (BOA), a quasi-judicial board that rules on certain zoning requests and complaints.
The Commission this morning appointed Jeff Templeton to the Planning Board.
And despite three qualified nominations made by the Town of Boone for a regular and an alternate seat on the Board of Adjustments, the Commission chose to appoint two men who had (1) not applied and (2) whose sole qualifications appear to be their conservative politics and open hostility to the town's land-use planning.
But there's more. The alternate appointment for the ETJ position to the Board of Adjustments is a man who lives in the town of Boone, not in the ETJ. To make that appointment legal, the three Republicans on the Commission had to make a "finding" that there were no qualified applicants in the ETJ, when all three of the people recommended for the positions by the Town of Boone are not only obviously qualified but very qualified, with experience on various planning taskforces or with higher education in that or related fields.
So what disqualified them from appointment to the Board of Adjustment? With regard to Harvard Ayers, nominated to the regular ETJ seat on the BOA, Nathan Miller said, My problem with Ayers is that he agrees with the town's planning ordinances.
Commissioner Vince Gable chimed in that the other two applicants, Robert Goddard (who has previous experience on a planning board, a zoning board, and a board of adjustment) and Cameron Lippard (who has considerable college work in rural and urban development) were disqualified too because they agree with Boone's zoning and development regs.
The men who were appointed (including obviously the alternate ETJ member of the BOA put in place because there were no "qualified" applicants), were chosen for their politics.
(For the record, Commissioner Jim Deal argued that the appointment of a resident of Boone to an ETJ seat violated the spirit of the statute, and he did vote against it. The vote was 3-1, with Futrelle absent.)
There you have it. Boone is to have Tea Party obstructionists appointed to any body that does any land-use planning.
Meanwhile, these same Republican commissioners are angling to get Boone taxpayers to cough up water it doesn't currently have, but may have in the future, in order to do massive development in Deep Gap, which is likely to make a handful of people rich, though not including the general citizens of Boone, who are disdained because they have zoning but whose resources are coveted openly and without embarrassment by men who never pass up an opportunity to sneer at the town and complain about its style of self-government.