Dear friends & family,
As you may or may not have heard, the bill to eliminate the Boone ETJ* is expected to be VOTED ON THIS MONDAY, JUNE 24. And all predictions thus far are that it will pass. The bill has been introduced and structured in a way that there is no recourse if it passes: no appeals, no governor vetoes allowed.
What does this mean to you? If you live in, or bordering, the ETJ, you will no longer have the zoning protections that are given because you are part of the ETJ.
What does this mean in real terms? Your property value and quality of life will be affected. Here are a few ways the elimination of the ETJ will affect residents:
- No more protection from homes being turned into student rentals. If your neighbor can't sell their house so decides to rent it to a fraternity, there will not be a thing you can do about it. (I’m not maligning students -- I was one, after all -- but the lifestyle of 19-21 year olds typically is a bit more rambunctious than that of us old farts who are working 8-5+, raising families, or enjoying retirement).
- No more protection from development that doesn't fit the neighborhood. If you live in a residential neighborhood in the ETJ, future development has to be residential, or a hearing must be held for exceptions. Without the ETJ, anyone can building anything in your neighborhood: an asphalt plant, an apartment building, a gas station, a convenience store. The only reason the proposed asphalt plant has not been built on Bamboo Road is because the location is in the ETJ. (For a few select “high-impact” polluting industries, Watauga County passed an ordinance that would require them to plant trees so you can't see it from the road, but that's about it in terms of restrictions.)
- No protection from signs and billboards. If your neighbor wants to put up a 35-foot lighted billboard, there’s not a thing you’ll be able to do about it.
*ETJ = Extraterritorial Jurisdiction = an approximately 1-mile area surrounding the Boone city limits. In the ETJ, we have zoning regulations and enforcement without having to pay taxes for it. (We do not get water, sewer, or garbage pickup, or Boone police protection -- you have to be part of the Town of Boone to receive those, and of course you would have to pay Boone taxes). In NC, all towns with populations of more than 2,500 have had the authority to create ETJs since 1959. About 3/5ths of all towns & cities in NC have used that authority to create ETJs. If you aren't sure whether you are in the ETJ, check out http://www.hcpress.com/img/Boone-ETJ-map...jpg . Neighborhoods on the eastern side of Boone which are currently in the ETJ include Deck Hill, Ravens Ridge, and much of Bamboo & Deerfield.
SO, WHAT CAN YOU DO?Monday is our only opportunity to kill this bill, or at least delay it until the public gets a chance to be heard. Here is what you can do:
Starting tonight and all day tomorrow (Monday June 24), call every NC House Representative that you can, especially those who are on the “Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.” Also call Soucek. See below for contact info and hints.
Fax a letter to as many Representatives as you can, especially those on the “Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House.” See below for contact info and hints.
If you have time, also email the Representatives and the bill’s sponsors (Senators Soucek, East, & Hise) . Or if you cannot bring yourself to call and don’t have time/ability to fax a letter, an email is better than nothing. See below for contact info and hints.
If you can, go to the committee meeting in Raleigh. The Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House meets at 5:00 p.m. Sign up to speak if they will allow it (they don’t have to), or if you’re too shy, at least show support for others who will be speaking against the bill. How to visit: http://ncleg.net/ncgainfo/visitinglegcomplex.html
Spread the word to your neighbors!
HOW TO CONTACT REPRESENTATIVES:
For emails/phones of all House Representatives: http://ncleg.net/gascripts/members/memberList.pl?sChamber=House (Click on Representative’s name for their contact info).
For emails/phones of the members of the Committee on Rules, Calendar, and Operations of the House: http://ncleg.net/gascripts/Committees/Committees.asp?sAction=ViewCommittee&sActionDetails=House%20Standing_2