Wednesday, July 09, 2014

A New Protection Racket

Last night at its July meeting, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners set a public hearing for August 19 on what to do about zoning issues in Boone's former Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ). Until the passage of Senator Dan Soucek's "local bill" to strip Boone of its ETJ, county residents of the ETJ were protected by Boone's development ordinance. Watauga County has no such regs for development, other than very limited restrictions on "high-impact development," which do not as a matter of fact cover college student "quad" housing and other high-density developments.

Following its regular business, the County Commissioners opened the floor for public comment. From coverage in the High Country Press:
Of the four that spoke, only Jeff Templeton, a member of a family of local developers and a resident of the ETJ, spoke in favor of the elimination of the ETJ and told the commissioners he was “overjoyed” with the fact that this became law.
Noting concerns that this change might have on residents of established neighborhoods in the ETJ, Templeton said that the commissioners could approve of “some measure of regulation in order to protect property values” and the quality of life of residents in the ETJ once the new law goes into effect.
“The county should be able to adequately address [these concerns] without burdening everyone with overregulation,” Templeton said.
So ... the one who pulled the strings in Raleigh ... to make the axe drop on Boone ... to deprive ETJ neighborhoods of their zoning protections ... is now saying that maybe "some measure of regulation" might be needed "to protect property values" (just so long as they don't involve steep-slope development or "view shed" regulations).

That was mighty big of Jeff Templeton.

We assume that since he is now saying publicly that some zoning in the former ETJ is fine by him, there will be some zoning in the former ETJ, since the Templeton family is in charge of the known universe.

Less certain is what will happen with Jeff's father Phil Templeton's decree that Watauga County needs its own county-wide water system. The Templetons may discover that the universe they command ends somewhere short of publicly funded water.


Cyclops said...

The point is not to have no development regulations in the ETJ. The point is that, in the future, those who live in the ETJ will have a voice on what regulations are adopted by the County and a vote on those responsible for their adoption or non adoption.

And BTW, there are others of us own property in the ETJ who support the removal of Boone's regulatory control over our property.

And if only the old high school site were in the ETJ, sale of the property would reduce the debt for the cost of the new high school thus saving all County taxpayers, including Town residents, substantial debt service charges.

Anonymous said...

We should remember that the deal on the old high school property fell through because - after putting in an upset bid and knocking out the firm that wanted to develop it - the Templetons could not produce a letter showing they had the financing to actually develop the land.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Williamson, I am afraid that you are starting to succumb your own hype. Your statement that: "the Templeton family is in charge of the known universe." is only true in your delusional mind. We have no more or less influence on the political system than the average person does. In fact your wife's de facto political pac "Pam's Picks" exercises much more influence on local politics than anyone. Your attempts to make my family into some type of "straw man" to scare readers into believing your arguments has now become reality to you. You should seek professional help.

A quick check of the facts will show you that 1. My father has made no political contributions to either Soucek or Jordan, 2. My family has not developed anything on the slopes of Boone, 3. I have never suggested that the ETJ should be void of all regulations.

PS to Anonymous: The sale of the old WHS property fell through because the town passed additional regulations that made the development of the property unfeasible. The fact that no one has made an acceptable offer to date for the property bares that out.

Jeff Templeton

Mike said...

Jeff Templeton: JW's "in charge of the known universe" was obviously intended hyperbole and not an assertion of fact. Unfortunately, you didn't recognize that, so maybe the blinders of dislike need re-examination so that this local battle can be tamped.

Anonymous said...

I do not know either the Williamsons or the Templetons personally, but I am tired of their personal feud dominating the local political discussion. Both of these families clearly wield some influence on different sides of the political spectrum in this county, but neither one of them is all-powerful or all-knowing. Can we please put all these personal feelings and personal attacks aside and work on improving life for everyone?

That said, I am an ETJ resident who is hoppin' mad about this law Soucek passed. I think it was a horrible abuse of power on his part. I certainly hope our county commissioners can bring some solutions to the table to resolve the mess Soucek has made for me and my neighbors.

Pam Williamson said...

Thanks for your kind words, Jeff! But, once again, you failed to provide the direct link to my website:

Anonymous said...

Why does it matter if you are Democrat or Republican. If you look on the books, I am a registered Republican. That's about it, simply on the books.

I am sick and tired of the childish attacks people are pulling on one another.

What matters now is that we work together. The root of the problem in this town and county come down to two people: Phil Templeton and former Mayor Loretta Clawson. It is political war and as long as this continues nothing will be accomplished. I have respect for both people. I have respect for the writer of this blog and his wife, Pam. They are outstanding political activist. I appreciate the work of former Mayor Clawson as well as all others who or have represent me: Senator Kay Hagen, Senator Richard Burr, Representative Virgnia Fox, Senator Dan Soucek, Representative, Mayor Andy Ball, our Governor, our past Governor, Steve Goss, Cullie Tarleton.

I take issue with churches sticking their nose in politics, specifically Mount Vernon Baptist Church and High Country United Church of Christ. Both are causing strife among individuals and community folks with their one sided, narrow frame of mind. As the people of Christ, we must put that aside. We are all one. Please do not discount my lack of faith or spirituality because I have moderate thoughts or support a Democrat or a Republican.

Bottom Line: Get off your buts and work together.