The clock is ticking down to January 1, 2015, when some 1,500 different property owners in the former Boone Extraterritorial Jurisdiction will suddenly be without the zoning protections that many of them have depended on for years.
With a 3-2 Republican (and virulently anti-zoning) majority on the County Commission, we don't feel any urgency on the parts of Nathan Miller, David Blust, and Perry Yates to reinflate the ship that Sen. Dan Soucek and Rep. Jonathan Jordan have generously sunk for the benefit of a handful of developers.
It'll be a huge job for the County Planning Board to come up with a recommendation -- something that's probably going to take more than the three months left in this quickly waning year. Which means the 1,500 property owners get thrown to the wolves on January 1st, or the County Commission enacts a moratorium on development until regs are written, debated, and enacted.
It's a fine mess that Soucek and Jordan left us.
I attended the meeting last night of the Watauga County Planning Board. They took up for the first time what to do about the former ETJ. Some of their members weren't present, but I detected mainly good will on the part of those who did bother to show up. They want to help the neighborhoods, and as a first step they're scheduling a series of community meetings to understand the problems and gather opinions on what to do.
Meanwhile, the clock keeps ticking. The ideological make-up of the guys with the power to do something, anything -- the County Commission -- isn't guaranteed to support a moratorium on development while the Planning Board completes its work.
What to do to protect homeowners in the former ETJ becomes a campaign issue for County Commission candidates this fall. Do you know where they stand? Do they know where they stand?