Up-to-date analysis of the local political landscape
Thursday, June 09, 2022
Boone Town Council Takes a Stand on the Power Grab
The Boone Town Council issued the following statement at the end of its regular monthly meeting held on June 8, 2022 in response to a “local law,” House Bill 193, recently offered in the General Assembly at the initiative of Watauga County:
“We as a Town Council have discussed in closed session a local law introduced in the General Assembly at the initiative of the Watauga County Board of Commissioners relating to a parking garage that the County is planning for downtown Boone. This local law, if passed, would exempt the County’s proposed parking garage from Boone’s Unified Development Ordinance, including the downtown historic district standards.
As a Council, we feel blindsided and extremely disappointed with this action by Watauga County. This Council has tried hard to improve relations with the County and to work together with the County. Most recently, the Town and the County reached an amicable settlement of a lawsuit over water service; we worked together to move the County’s new 911 call center forward, and we combined our 911 communication operations. This Council would have been happy to talk to the County about its parking garage project, and to do what the Town reasonably could to facilitate it. Yet, the County did not even approach the Town to seek cooperation.
The Town still stands ready to facilitate proper consideration of the parking garage project as quickly as local regulations allow. But the standards that apply to every resident and business in this town, and to the Town itself, should apply equally to the County.
This proposed local law, House bill 193, sets a dangerous precedent both for us as a town and for municipalities across the state. Watauga County should be subject to the same standards that apply to all other property owners. We urge the County to rescind this bill and reach out to us. We stand ready to work together.”
County Commish Calls a Special Meeting Next Monday
J.W. Williamson was the founding editor in 1972 of the Appalachian Journal: A Regional Studies Review, which he edited until July of 2000. He has taught college classes in Appalachian history, cultural politics, and literature, and he has lectured widely on the pop-culture history of "Appalachia" in the American consciousness. His books include Interviewing Appalachia, Southern Mountaineers in Silent Films, and Hillbillyland: What the Mountains Did to the Movies and What the Movies Did to the Mountains. He has won the Thomas Wolfe Award given by the Western North Carolina Historical Society, the Laurel Leaves Award given by the Appalachian Consortium, a special Weatherford Award given by Berea College, and the Cratis Williams-James Brown Award given by the Appalachian Studies Association.
The views expressed on WataugaWatch are solely those of J.W. Williamson or individual contributors and are not necessarily shared nor endorsed by the Watauga County Democratic Party nor by any other adults of sound mind in this or any other universe.