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House | June 23, 2014 | Committee Room | Government

Full MP3 Audio File

Thank you Mr. Chairman. Welcome back everyone. Durham Technical Community College only serves two counties, Orange and Durham. Both counties contribute to the maintenance of that community college through contributions to its operating fund. Traditionally the two counties have had one county commissioner on the board and they've alternated terms. Both groups of county commissioners approached our legislative delegation and asked if they could have one member of each county commission appointed to the board so they share oversight. There is no opposition from our local delegation or from either board of county commissioners and we'd love to have your support for this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fisher, you're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For a motion at the appropriate time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Members are there any questions for the bill sponsor? Seeing none, Representative Fisher you are recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I move that we give House Bill 1120 a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members, the motion is before you. All in favor say aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Aye. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Opposed no. The ayes have it. Thank you Representative Meyer. Our next bill is going to be House Bill 1248. Representative Tine. Want to come up and regale us with your presentation, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Please keep the bar low, if you would please. This bill, we had this last session also, where we for Brunswick and Durham we passed that already. Basically what happens out in the coast is every once in a while they'll leave vessels out in the water to just sink instead of disposing of them properly and the counties do not actually have the authority to remove that property so this would add Washington County at their request to that bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Floyd. Thank you, sir. Members are there any other questions for the bill sponsor? Seeing none, Representative Floyd you're recognized for a motion. Thank you sir. That deep baritone voice carries well without a microphone. All in favor say aye. Opposed no. The ayes have it. House Bill 1248 passes. Senate Bill 845, being presented by Representative Iler. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. This is identical to a bill I filed in sitting in this committee, House Bill 1236. This just gives Bald Head Island, which was granted the authority to have a post office back in 1991, the ability to expand their service. They're served by ferry. There are no roads. So there's no mail delivery. The mail goes from the Southport post office on the ferry over to the Bald Head Island post office and they have the mailboxes. This just gives them the ability to also have package service. The only package service now is provided by the developer there. This then consolidates everything there at the post office and have package service and other services that normal post offices normally have. So this just expands that. I wasn't sure why we're voting on something like this but I'm told by the legal minds that we have to. So this is Senator Rabin's bill. It's identical to the one that I filed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Representative Iler. Representative McGrady. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Motion at appropriate time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Cleveland. Representative Cleveland, you want to use your microphone, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm curious. We have contract post offices throughout the state. And it sounds to me like the town wants to run a facility such as postal annex or something like that. Wouldn't this be better served by a civilian organization or a civilian contractor, with the postal service? [SPEAKER CHANGES] At this time, on Bald Head, oh I'm sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Go ahead, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] At this time on Bald Head, the package service is run by the developer. And he's trying to consolidate it into the post office. Apparently we didn't give the post office the ability in 1991 to go beyond just mail delivery. So now just giving them the ability to do it under one banner. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Ross. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Question. Would that mean contract with UPS or FedEX, something like that? Because I know right now you can't get a UPS or FedEX package. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me get a little bit better explanation. The town manager is back here. Is it okay with the Chairman if he answers that? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, if you approach the podium back there, the microphone back there, please state your name and position for the committee? Press the green

...?? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Calvin Peck, Village Manager for Bald Hill Island. Yes, it is to add UPS and FedEx delivery to the island. The developer currently has that service and they're going out of that business. They're doing what most developers do, which is pull back once their primarily developed. Every business was offered the service on the island. None of them can figure out a way to operate it at a profit and so the village is stepping up and taking over that service. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. Representative Cleveland, did you have a follow up question? You just looked puzzled. Members, any other questions? Representative McGrady, you're recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I move that we give a favorable report to Senate Bill 848. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Forty-five, sir. Would you like 148, 45 as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Excuse me, it's a different number, 845 is it? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members, we have a motion for a favorable report on Senate Bill 845, all in favor say aye, all opposed say no. The ayes have it. Thank you, Representative Iler. Senate Bill 848, Senator Hartsell? Or Senator Tarte. There you are, OK. Excuse me, Members, this has a referral to finance. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman and members of the committee. Senate 848 is actually the culmination of, at least at this point in time, eight years of work on the part of Childress Klein Properties and Howard Hughes Corporation for the redevelopment of a mall-type facility that would be constructed at the intersection of I-485 and Lawyers Road. Actually, it's one of the most dangerous intersections in the state or even identified that way. And this, like I said, the project is itself been in the works for some time. Mint Hill has developed it's entire land use plan around the potential for this project already and we're simply trying to get this moving, finally. Ultimately, the construction jobs will be about 1,500, the permanent jobs will be about 2,000. I'll be glad to go into any other...then, in its, and the language is identical to some authority that was given to the city of Charlotte probably 10 years ago. We've added Concord and Kannopolis to that. Actually at my request. One because of a project that the city of Concord is already involved in, which its committed $12 million to for additional work in the vicinity of Exit 49. If any of you have ever been to Concord realize you understand the problem. And Kannapolis because of the research campus in which a private developer has already spent $750 million. I will be glad to answer any questions. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Senator. Representative Pittman, you're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For motion at the proper time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Members, do you have any questions for the bill sponsor? Seeing none, Representative Pittman, you're recognized for a motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I move favorable report on Senate Bill 848 and I see no referrals. [SPEAKER CHANGES] There is a referral to finance, sir. Would you like to restate your motion as a favorable report on Senate Bill 848 with a referral to finance? [SPEAKER CHANGES] With referral to finance. OK, it wasn't on here, so all right. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] My apologies. All in favor say aye, those opposed say no. The ayes have it. Senator Hartsell, your measure passes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Chairman and members of the committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Next bill up is Senate Bill 867. This will be presented by Representative Goodman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This bill just changes the term for the Mayor's office and the council for the city of McDonnell from two years to four. The reason they want to do this is the town's so small, it's just a few hundred people and it's just an expensive proposition. They have trouble finding people to run and nobody's opposed but I ask for your support. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Setzer, you're recognized. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For a motion at the proper time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. Members, are there any other questions for the bill sponsor? Seeing none, Representative Setzer, you're recognized for your motion. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I move that Senate Bill 867 be given a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All in favor say aye, those opposed please say no. The ayes have it and Representative Goodman, I understand you're going to present Senate Bill 868, as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yeah, thank you, Mr. Chairman. It's the same story exactly. Proctorville is a very, very small town and has the same situation. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Setzer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For a motion at the proper time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Members, any questions on this bill? Seeing none. Representative Setzer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I move that Senate Bill 868 be given a favorable report. [SPEAKER CHANGES] It's like deja vu, wasn't it? All in favor say aye, those opposed...

Say no. The ayes have it. The next bill up is Senate Bill 865. Senator Soucek is going to present for us. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Members of the committee. This bill simply, what it does is it removes the extra territorial jurisdiction from the town of Boone. This is a very almost identical to a bill we had almost two years ago. The same issues are still at play and I think it's telling that in the two years, there's been no movement from the Town of Boone to address the concerns that I and the constituents have had during this time period. The two reasons why I've brought this bill forward are one, my entire time in Boone but especially the last two years, the outcry from the citizens talking about how this is affecting them negatively, and how they've asked me including a local resolution to continue pursuing this resolution. And second is on principle. We have a foundation to our democracy, to our system of government, is property rights. Written about all the way by our founding fathers. And when you have a situation where through abuse of an existing law, a gross abuse, the worst I've seen anywhere in this state, we have people whose property is regulation without representation. And I think that is something that is not tolerable. It is harmful to our county. And my constituents have asked me to address this. And so that's why I bring this before you and ask for your support. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Ramsey. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, a motion at the appropriate time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Adams. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just a couple of questions. Where's the town on this? I mean I know you said you talked to residents. But don't you have a town council? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sure. Yes the town is against it. But when you have an entity that is oppressing its neighbors, of course they're going to be against you taking away their tyrannical power. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there a county board of commission there as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm sorry, please? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is there a county board, were you speaking of the city council when you responded? So is there a county board there as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, there is a county board and the majority supports this. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fisher. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, just as a follow up to Representative Adams' question, is there anyone here from the town of Boone that could address this? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fisher, we actually have three people who have asked to speak. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Very good. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And I'd like to exhaust the committee's questions first. Representative Ross. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I guess my question is in the particular area that we're talking about, the ETJ and what happens after you absolve the ETJ when a group of citizens comes in and has an issue, a zoning related issue, and the town of Boone, what would they do? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Ross, that's a great question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. They'll have the same recourse that everyone else in the county has. We have elected officials at the county level and at the state level that actually represent the people in the ETJ. Right now the people in the ETJ have a dispute with their neighbor or have a concern, they go to an authority that neither can vote for in order to have the authority to impose that regulation on them. I want to restore this to the proper level of government of people that can actually be voted for rather than someone that is not electable by the people in the ETJ. And just a further example, and remember this is a local bill, and this is a place where we live and after I had filed the first bill I looked at the map. I live personally within a mile of the town of Boone. And not in the ETJ but potentially to be. When this is abolished, all that will happen is I'm asking people to be in the same environment that my family and I have been in and lived in for my entire time in Boone. I'm not even asking them to do anything that one I haven't experienced myself or willing to do myself. And I found it a very good environment. So talking from extreme experience is where I come from on this issue. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Let me give you an example. I spent about 20 years in municipal government. I had a neighborhood just outside my town limits that I went through the same thing, we don't get to vote, we want out, and this went on for several years. Until someone came in and tried to put a waste facility right next to the neighborhood. Then they ran to city hall trying to beat the door down wanting to have protection. If we had taken them out of the ETJ they would have had no protection. So I guess my question is is

Do you see that that's what's going to happen here? I mean, that's the way I see it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Repres-, I'm sorry the Chair's going to be lax on this. Just respond to the questions as we give them to you, Senator. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. You come up with a hypothetical worst case scenario. There are protections. You've got the county. They've got the ability to do different kinds of policies. In fact, one of the communities and I even see a member of that community here who had concerns. In the past they've gone to the county and they implemented a high-impact land use ordinance. They have mechanisms. I just want them to use the right mechanisms with the right level and appropriate level of representative government to have those disputes. Not someone, you know, to step cross the line and tell someone what to do with their property. And you come up with an example that could cause some challenges, but not all the thousands of people who are involuntarily for decades been in regulatory limbo and that's who I'm trying to look at is the thousands of people who are concerned about this. [SPEAKER CHANGES] One short follow up. It's not a hypothetical. That case actually happened in Burlington. The other question is, is it not true that these people in the ETA don't pay taxes to the municipality? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's correct. They do not pay taxes but they're still regulated and have fees, have limitations on their property. I had one member come to me and talked about how their land became unbuildable because of the regulations that the town of Boone put on them. And they tried to take redress but there was no way for them to be able to solve it. So there's some real concerns with that. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Are we good, Representative Ross? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moore. Representative Stone. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. Senator Soucek. We had this bill come up, I think, maybe two years ago. It went through the House and I was a little concerned being a former mayor pro tempore of my small city back in Sanford. I went out and actually talked to several of my business partners in the community to find out what they thought. And what I found out was was they were pretty upset the fact that their rules and regulations did bound them from doing some of the things they could do if they were in the county. They were in the county but being an ETJ, they were not allowed to do certain things because they were in ETJ. They had more rules and restrictions put on them. But what was even greater is I had another concern, so I called my city manager and I said, "I've got a question. What do you think about this ETJ process?" And of course, he said as city manager that optimally they'd like to stay in the ETJ. They'd like to have it, but he said if we didn't have it, we got something called a uniform development ordinance which allows the county to do some zoning outside of the city which was a good process because all these small communities, regardless of what size, you got to have a long term plan of what you want your city and your county to look like. But more importantly it gives the county residences direct recourse when someone passes a law that infringes on their rights. And that's what we found out was a huge problem was start up businesses, small moms and pops outside the city limits, that were trying to conduct business. They were hampered with the laws that they couldn't vote for or against anyone because the ETJ was controlled by the city limits. So I just want to make sure I mentioned that as I went through it two years ago with my community and a lot of talk from the small business operators in my community. I'll give you that side of it. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Representative Stone. Representative Moore, you're recognized for a question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, I apologize for being late. I had another committee. I'd like to ask Mayor Ball does he support or against this? Because it's a local bill I understand what the Senator is saying, but I want to hear pro or con from the mayor of the city. So, if you would allow him to answer that question. What does he... [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moore? The Chair doesn't want to interrupt you but before you arrived here the Chair announced we're going to let the committee members exhaust their questions and we have four people signed up to speak and then you can address your question. Will that be acceptable? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That's fine. He heard the question so whenever it's his time to speak he can answer it. [SPEAKER CHANGES] All right, thank you. Representative Luebke. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman and I apologize for I was in the same finance meeting as Representative Moore. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The Chair understands where we stand in your priorities. [laughter] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes, as a former Chair of the House Finance Committee, yes you do understand. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I convey correctly my... [SPEAKER CHANGES] I'm also on that committee. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I was here. [laughter] [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, we have our priorities. But anyway, to the point. I heard some concern about the ETJ as not being appropriate but the ETJ extra-territorial jurisdiction is something that the state of North Carolina has allowed municipalities to have for a long time in order to have ordered developments so that we don't have...

Not have a situation such as Representative Ross just indicated. This is not an extreme case at all. The idea of having development next to say a neighborhood, that is say, you fill in the blank. And as fault plan, that's not extreme in terms of what might be allowed by a County, and what ETJ would not allow. So I don't think really you, really have a good case for getting rid of ETJ in my opinion because of the good that ETJ has done across the, for the many years, across the State. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The chair recognizes Mr. Andy Ball from Talabou. Sir would you just turn your microphone there? There's a word press or push, and I'll turn your light on. If you would announce your, give us your name and position. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman of the committee, my name is Andy Ball. I'm the mayor of the town of Boone. I appreciate the time today before the committee. And I appreciate the dialogue that's Mr. ?? and Mr. Jordan have engaged with us in the past couple of weeks. We did meet 2 weeks ago on this, didn't get too far in our meeting, but we have discussed this in the past. We have a new counsel, a new mayor right now. We're getting up to speed on all the issues, and have asked our planning department to look through this and see what we should do from here. First thing, is that the town of Boone has communicated to almost every member of this committee as opposition of this bill. We think it's extremely harmful and has adverse impacts for just one community in the State. When you have almost 200 other small towns and cities in the State exercise ETJ the exact same way the town Boone is, there's nothing different about what goes on in Boone with ETJ than goes on in other communities. That's an important to make. On Representative Stone's example in his community, there's a very high likelihood that in his situation that the County had zoning in place. That they had some kind of unified development ordinance as he refers to. Watauga County does not have a full zoning authority in the County. They do not have a ?? they do not have a development ordinance that they enforce County wide. So in your communities, you see larger urban areas with county wide zoning. That is not the situation where we are in Boone. We don't have the ETJ, it's eliminated, and the County enforces the State building code, and that's what you got. There's no public hearing process for residents to go and object to a property, or to put in their 2 cents on a property or proposal. And so it's extremely harmful to those neighborhoods that we have in ETJ right now. The last thing is that this is a very controversial issue for a local bill, and again we have not receive word from Senator Soucek or Representative Jordan on what is different about what's going on in Boone and the rest of the State. And other communities exercise this authority. This is the front page on Sunday of ?? Democrat just yesterday. Mr. Chairman, and members of the committee , Boone ETJ in jeopardy. The prior headline a few weeks ago was, Soucek targets Boone ETJ again. So, this is a very controversial local issue. A lot of comments being made on local blogs, on local newspaper articles on this. At this time, we are asking the committee today for unfavorable re pour on this bill, so we can sit down and work through these issues, identify the issues first that are objectionable, and then to work on those and find a solution that works for all ETJ residents. At this time, for 30 seconds just briefly, I've asked with your permission Mr. Chairman, for an ETJ resident to travel in the 3 hours from Boone with me today. A resident and property owner for over 30 years, to tell his story briefly to you. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Sir, would you identify yourself please? Excuse me. Just one second please. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman. If he has indeed traveled 3 hours, I'm sure you'd give him more than 30 seconds. Would you not sir? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay. Thank you. I'm sure you would, but I just wanted to check. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I appreciate your assessment of my generosity. Sir, if you'd? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Okay, my name is Lee Stroopeni. And I do live in ETJ. I live in the Seven Oaks community, which is about 2 miles out from the center of Boone. I'm on the East side of Boone, and we heard one of the representatives talk about a situation. I live in a situation where that ETJ protection is necessary. I lived in a neighborhood before we had ?? territory jurisdiction, and we had an asphalt plant that wanted to come into our valley, where we had about 4 neighborhoods that. And you have to understand that our mountain area is different from this ?? area. And so when you live on a mountain top like we do, your view should look over the valley. Well we had an asphalt plant that wanted to come into that valley and be adjacent to the new river, right there in the ??

[??]. We have no protection. So, we did everything within our legal power to make our concerns be heard. And fortunately, we met all the qualifications to actually- we met the population requirements, we went through all the applications and we asked the town of Boone would they grant us protection? And we got over seventy percent of the neighbors to agree to accept the provisions of ETJ in a town that's accepted us into the ETJ the county [??] and we've had protection for the last fifteen years. Now our next fight was once we got the ETJ zoning there was a business that was grandfathered in on unconditional use. Well that business operated pretty well for a while, but then all of a sudden they started violating the UVO. And one of the great things that you have in ETJ, you have a way of recourse. You have a recourse. You have a way of appealing. Or call into question any unappropriate business activities. So we did, as a neighborhood. And that business admitted to eight charges, eight violations, and one particular violation is still tied up in appelate court awaiting a ruling. But the board of adjustments, which I happen to serve, I couldn't serve on this particular case, but I have served for ten years as ETJ representative, so I was giving voice to the ETJ community. But if you pass this bill, that court ruling is still pending. And that business can walk. This is our home, this is our personal rights that we're fighting for. So thank you for this time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members, are there any questions for the two speakers? Representative Ford? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Mr. Chairman, I have a question for the last speaker. If seventy percent of you in the ETJ wanted to be in the ETJ, why don't you take the next step and ask to be annexed? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Well, there's no problem with that, but I think the rules have changed on annexation since the time that we started the process. We were thinking that at the time. We knew the consequence of ETJ. But as whatever the reason is, we're happy to have the zoning, we're not paying the taxes, we're not [??] the services, and of course I'm sure we'd be willing to consider whatever. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? Follow up with the Mayor, please. Mr. Mayor, how large is your ETJ? [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have about a one mile perimiter of the town. By law you're allowed two miles outside the town, we have about one mile. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And you allow- follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] You allow ETJ to be on your planning board? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Of course. The planning board and the board of adjustments. And they get representation on other committees like water committee and other things. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] How many? [SPEAKER CHANGES] How many folks serve? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] About three on each board. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Out of how many members? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Out of- they get a minority stake of course, but they'll have three votes, say, of about nine votes. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Depending on the board. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Moore, was your question answered? While we have the Mayor up there. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Wasn't directly answered but I get the spirit in which he speaks and it answers my question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative [??] did you want to respond to either? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I think- [SPEAKER CHANGES] Senator, I'm sorry. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I heard two different things and want to make sure [??]. I think Representative Ford said seventy percent of the ETJ, I'm pretty sure that Mr. [??] said that seventy percent of his community. And that is the difference, because that was just one small subset of the ETJ. And also to remind everyone that one of the purposes of the ETJ when it was created was to force annexation. Now that the force annexation no longer exists, they have the ability to voluntarily annex. It doesn't change that at all. And so the big reason ETJ was created is no longer in place, that's one reason why the gross abuses are even worse. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you Senator, and my apologies for promoting you a minute ago. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We have Jeff Templeton is signed up to speak. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Mr. Chairman, committee members, Thank you. I'm Jeff (recording ends)

I’m a current resident of the ETJ; I’ve served the last four years as the ETJ representative on the planning board. I understand that this matter if of great interest to the League of Municipalities and that they’re working very hard to defeat this bill, but before you make a decision, I would ask that you consider the following items. First let me ask a rhetorical question about what’s different about Boone, and please keep in kind this is a local bill. The difference is that Boone has a very unique topography. Unlike Wake County, Cabarrus County, any other county in the state, Boone sits in a valley, and the city limits run along the valley floor with the ETJ running along the mountainsides, so for that very reason, Boone has not and is not planning to do any expansion into the ETJ with the city limits. It’s too expensive to push water up a hill, and therefore there are no plans to ever expand into the ETJ. The citizens of the ETJ are in a permanent limbo with no hope of ever getting the right to vote or becoming a member of the town without voluntarily annexing. The second thing that’s different about Boone’s situation is the town of Boone’s preferential zoning. The town of Boone has passed ordinances that disproportionately impact the properties within the ETJ. A recent viewshed ordinance severely lowers density allowances and poses height regulations and restricts the amount of land disturbance, all based on an arbitrary 100 foot elevation above the nearest major traffic corridor. Since undeveloped properties in the ETJ are primarily located in the hillsides surrounding the town of Boone, they are disproportionally impacted by this ordinance. A quick story: We have a local farmer who has property in the ETJ who wanted to improve the road he uses to haul hay across his field. He applied to the town to improve his road; they said “That’s fine, as long as you put in curbing and guttering for your tractor.” So those are the kinds of situations that are becoming obstacles to growth in the ETJ that we would like to be alleviated from. Thirdly is Boone’s abuse of power. The town of Boone, the council, has tried two separate occasions within the last four years to either subvert or deny the Watauga County commissioners the ability to select the ETJ representatives to serve on the board of adjustments and the planning board, which by the way Mr. Mayor, we have five ETJ representatives on a 13-member planning board. That board is advisory only, and our town council routinely ignores the recommendations of the planning board. My vote is meaningless as an ETJ planning board member. The provisions of the GS168362 are inadequate at best, and with the town of Boone’s attempts to manipulate the selection process, the spirit of the statute is effectively gutted. And fourthly, Watauga County’s authority. Watauga County has the ability and interest to protect the interests of the neighborhoods in the ETJ from haphazard development. In March of 2003, Watauga County established a high impact land use ordinance that identifies and restricts many of the industries and businesses that are incompatible with neighborhoods such as asphalt plants, chip mills, chemical storage facilities, cement-mixing facilities and so on. To summarize, the town of Boone has used its ETJ authority to stifle the growth of Boone and trample on the property rights of citizens in the ETJ who are denied the right to vote in local elections. Speaking through our representatives Dan Soucek and Jonathan Jordan, we respectfully request that you release us from this untenable situation of regulation without representation, and pass Bill 865. Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, sir. Representative Wilkins, you have a question for one of the speakers or the sponsor? [SPEAKER CHANGES] No sir. It will probably be for staff. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Fine. You’re recognized to ask your question. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chair. I think it will be for staff. I was wondering, did we have the same bill or a bill of similar ilk filed two years ago? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes sir, I believe it was an identical bill that was filed. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Is it Shelley Adler? [SPEAKER CHANGES] That’s correct. Thank you, Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] And a question for either of the bill sponsors. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I guess Senator Soucek, did Boone town council take a stance as to that bill as well? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Yes. I’m sorry, that was one of the earliest questions. First of all, it was two years ago made through the Senate. It never made it to the House floor as we ran out of time in the short session, was never voted on, and the town council has come up and they’re against the bill, but any entity that is abusing their power, why would they not be against someone reigning in their abuse of power against citizens that can’t vote for them? So that seems like a natural position for…

Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Just a comment. I’m sorry if the question had been asked or answered previously. I apologize for that. I too had another committee, and I guess that tells you where I stand as well. [SPEAKER CHANGES] We realize your importance, sir. Representative Stone. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I’d like to ask Senator Soucek a question, please. Senator behind you. Thank you. We’ve heard a lot about the town of Boone, and have we heard any requests or any comments from the county? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I don’t believe we have a member of the county commission here. We do have residents of the county. We had a local resolution supporting this bill, and I have talked to the majority. We have a 3/2 split, Republican/Democrat on the county commission, and the majority supports this in the county commission. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] So just to clearly state, your county commissioners are in support and your citizens and the ETJ are somewhat in favor of what you’re trying to do. [SPEAKER CHANGES] County commission, yes, and there’s never been a poll done but as I’ve spoken with people throughout the ETJ for the last couple years, I believe the vast majority are in support of it and it would do a lot of good to a lot of people. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you. Representative Meyer. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Senator Soucek or Representative Jordan, can you tell us if there’s been any work done to mediate this at the local level, so between the county commissioners and the town council, and what role either one of you has played in those conversations? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Before this bill was ever presented two years ago, the first thing I did was I went and asked for a meeting with the county commissioners and the town council to ask questions about what the ETJ was and why I was hearing so many concerns from residents, heard what they did and why they were doing it from the residents as well, so from the very beginning that was my first step, was to hear what their concerns were. Mediation… Two years ago I presented this bill, virtually identical except for the effective date, and in those two years, with all those concerns, the town of Boone has just obstructed and delayed, and that’s been their strategy. They haven’t met with me with any plan. As I asked them last time when I met them, they haven’t met with me. They haven’t met with me with a plan. Last time I met with them in my office, I said “Can you bring forth a proposal?” and they still haven’t done that, so I don’t see any recourse when they’re unwilling to right the egregious wrongs that are going on in the ETJ. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Members, the Chair has one, two, three, four, five members who have questions and we also have one more speaker. The Chair wants to let the committee know we will vote on this at about 12 minutes ‘til 6, so I ask you to keep your questions concise, and Representative McGrady, you’re next. [SPEAKER CHANGES] For a motion at an appropriate time. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I believe Representative Ramsey has that honor, thank you. Representative Floyd. [SPEAKER CHANGES] A question for the bill sponsor, Mr. Chair. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Go right ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES] I wonder that how time-sensitive is this. The reason why I ask that, because it seems that some kind of way, communication has stopped. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Time-sensitive? Some people have been in regulatory limbo for 20 plus years. This is something that’s been on the table for… this exact issue on the table for 2 years, and I don’t see any progress being made, and when the property rights of citizens that are my constituents have a grave concern and I see no viable recourse, then it’s time to take action, and I think the time’s now. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Follow-up, Mr. Chair? [SPEAKER CHANGES] Quick follow-up. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Then could it not be that an amendment could be made sort of like to get the parties together between now and the long session? [SPEAKER CHANGES] The strategy of the town of Boone for over two years now has been to deceive and delay, and the time is now to vote on this bill. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Representative Fisher. [SPEAKER CHANGES] Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I wanted just to say Senator Soucek, I am glad that you made the effort two years ago to bring parties to the table to talk about the problems that were being addressed by this bill. I’m wondering, are the same people around now that were there two years ago, and have you had the same “let’s get around the table about this” at this point in history? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I had a meeting with the town council in my office just a couple weeks ago when I asked them to please being an alternate proposal forward and I haven’t heard from them. I’m sorry, what was your first part of that question? [SPEAKER CHANGES] I wondered if the same people were…

. . . the same people approached, have those people changed, is what I'm saying. Two years ago you talked with some folks about this issue and I'm wondering are the people different now? [SPEAKER CHANGES]: The majority, I believe, of the board is the same and when I've seen a strategy, not of trying to work towards a solution but the status quo for them is do nothing and then they get everything that they're trying to do. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Followup, Mr. Chairman. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: May I please [??]? [SPEAKER CHANGES]: A quick followup, please. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: I just noted that I believe the mayor said that he had just come on board and that this is not something that he had been around the table about two years ago. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: He was on council at that time, now he's mayor so he's been around the table the whole time. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Thank you. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Point of clarification, Mr. Chairman. If allowed. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Yes sir. Go ahead. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Well the point earlier about the county commission being cooperative with this resolution, the county commission has not passed, [??] County, any sort of resolution supporting this bill. They have not passed any official action as a majority on this bill so no action has been taken to that effect. The town council and the county commission met in the fall of 2013, last year, on ETJ appointment process, on the procedures by which we cooperate to get ETJ folks represented on the planning commission and the board of adjustment. Those meetings were productive. We came to a resolution. We worked through that issue and we have something in [??] draft format now for that. So we have a point and processes for this. There's a different majority of town council members than there were two years ago, than there are now. I was not in the room two years ago when Senator Soucek was there talking with the former mayor and the former council. There are two members that still remain on the council at this time, three new members. So we are jogging their memory on this issue and educating them on this. We've directed our planning staff to look at it as well. We're asking for more time to work on this issue because clearly no points have been made about what is different in Boone than the rest of the state. I would hate for other small towns in your jurisdictions to have this issue against their will brought upon them as has been the case in other communities. It's just something that we don't understand at this point. We're looking for clarification from our representatives. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Representative Jordan. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'd like to respond a little bit to that. The reason this is a local bill is because we have seen the things that Boone has done. This is not the only issue that they are less than forthcoming on. They have had a number of issues where they to into secret meetings in the back to discuss everything regarding water inputs and other resources in our area. They have constantly acted like this over the years. This is not a new thing and the reason I'm standing here is the other member of the delegation supporting this is because if you look at what an ETJ is for, it is to authorize them to, based on their existing or projected urban development, this is from school government, and areas of critical concern to the city that are expected to come within their corporate limits in the near future and allow for a smoother transition from county to municipal services. This is not going to happen in Boone. This has never happened in Boone [??] voluntary annexations. They use it as control, as a control procedure and that is all and we're asking you to remove it and give these citizens who are currently under regulation without any representation, a voice. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Representative Starnes. Members, Representative Starnes is signed up to ask to speak on the issue. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Ladies and gentlemen of the committee and certainly I find myself in an awkward position having to oppose my senator on a local bill but I own a house in Boone that's in the ETJ so I am somewhat familiar with this. Yes, as Republicans we do believe in property rights. [SPEAKER CHANGES]: [??] [SPEAKER CHANGES]: A right to determine the destiny of your property. But Boone is a unique town with a unique situation in two regards. First of all, it's a college town and every fall you've got 16,000 people that come into the town and then they leave. But at the projected growth of ASU, they're looking at 20,000 students with just in a few years. Well there's no land, there's no ability to absorb these new students in the city limits and so all of the development for student housing is going to be outside the city limits. It's unreasonable to ask anybody to be able to plan for growth or you can't plan for growth if you don't have some sort of ordinances in place. Now Watauga County has no zoning, period. So if the ETJ is taken away, unless the county ....

Something basically there are no protections. Now the other unique characteristics of Boon is that it is a resort town. You have people that come into the mountains to buy summer homes. And you've got residential neighborhoods that people have made huge investments into and they want to make sure that their investment is protected. Now what happens with these neighborhoods when you have tracks of land ajacent to 'em that are used for high density development now I'm talking about hundreds of units. And it disrupts neighborhoods the zoning Boon has...and I'm not gonna hold them up as a model or as an example of good goverment, I don't...everybody has an opinion. Some, somethings that dos good somethings that dos bad just like any town counsel just like the General Assembly. But for the most part their ordinances make sense. And it just tries to have orderly development so that residential neighborhoods are protected and then you have other areas where you have the high density housing. And let me give you another example of how in my opinion, the ETJ worked for the advantage of the homeowners. My house is on a deadend road a state maintained road there five houses there. Well there was a person who rented their house to a college student. And so then, they just multiplied before the year was out there were ten students living in this one house they all had ten cars, they all went in the humane society they all adopted a dog, they had ten dogs out (laughter)...We not only had a dormitory we had a kennel out there. And it's just those types of housing developments are not conducive to neighborhoods. We went to the town counsel and asked could they help us...?? through neighborhoods so that only two unrelated people could live in a house at a time. Just stop the dormitory effect. These are bad regulations as far as Representive Ford asking the people to annex you, they can't. Boon doesn't have any water. They can't grow...even if they...but of course we can change the annexation laws which I fully support but it's not practical for a southern town...for this town to absorb a lot of people and do it because they are limited by their water. They don't have any water. But nonetheless, in spite of my goodfriend Sindasuche, and this is a local bill, I think it sets a dangerous precedent. This would be the only time in the history of North Carolina, that we have removed the towns ETJ authority. It may not mean a lot of difference, my town Agranite follows or some of these other towns but in a University town and then a town where it is a resort town, it can be disatrous to the value of the homeowners. SPEAKER CHANGES: Sir I know where...?? if I could briefly respond to this before the vote. SPEAKER CHANGES: Briefly sir. SPEAKER CHANGES: I hate to disagree with my well my good friend from Calwell whos...he was my representative. There's several things that he said that were inaccurate. There are protections from the county and still you're still having someone say well I've got a concern and what I'm gonna do is is I'm gonna go to a body that noone can elect to go an address my concern. And I really have a problem with that fundamental law of having people ruled over by people that can't elect them and I think that's not what we're about in the state and Boon is a unique situation he talked about some of the challenges that need to be overcome. What about I'll give you one example, people tend to be very land rich especially in the county and dollar poor. When their entire investment is a piece of land that the town of Boon says, "I like the way that looks so I'm going to make that unbuildable and I'm gonna take your entire lifetime savings and family inheiritance away just because we like the way your land looks. That's a problem, I appreciate your support. SPEAKER CHANGES: Thank you. Representative Ramsey do you recognize for motion? SPEAKER CHANGES: Mister Chairman I'd like to make a motion for a favorable report on senate bill eight sixty five. SPEAKER CHANGES: ?? you heard the motion before you all in favor say Aye. SPEAKER CHANGES: Aye. SPEAKER CHANGES: Those opposed say no. SPEAKER CHANGES: No. SPEAKER CHANGES: Division. SPEAKER CHANGES: Division has been called the clerk will read the vote. SPEAKER CHANGES: ?? Ok. Representative Val? Representative Val's not here. Representative Balls?

Votes yes. Representative Brandon. Representative Brandon, not here. Representative Brody. Representative Brody votes yes. Representative Brown. She left. Representative Burr. Representative Burr's not here. Representative Cleveland. Cleveland's not here. Representative Collins. Representative Collins votes yes. Representative Davis. Abstain, Representative Davis abstains. Representative Earle. Representative Earle, not here. Representative Elmore. Representative Elmore votes yes. Representative Faircloth. Representative Faircloth votes no. Representative Fisher. Representative Fisher votes no. Representative Floyd. Representative Floyd votes no. Representative Ford. Representative Ford votes yes. Representative Gill. Representative Gill votes no. Representative Goodman. Representative Goodman votes no. Representative Hall. Representative Hall votes no. Representative Holley. Representative Holley votes no. Representative Holloway. Representative Holloway's not here. Representative Langdon. Representative Langdon's not here. Representative Luebke. Representative Luebke votes no. Representative McGrady. Representative McGrady votes yes. Representative McNeill. Representative McNeill votes yes. Representative Meyere. Representative Meyere votes no. Representative Mobley. Representative Mobley votes no. Representative Moffitt. He's not here is he. Representative Moore. Representative Moore votes no. Representative Pittman. Representative Pittman votes yes. Representative Presnell. Representative Presnell votes yes. Representative Ramsey. Representative Ramsey votes yes. Representative Ross. Representative Ross votes no. Representative Setzer. Representative Setzer votes no. Representative Stone. Representative Stone votes yes. Representative Turner. Representative votes yes. Representative Wilkins. Mr. Wilkins votes no. [PAUSE] I have 12 ayes and 15 nos. [SPEAKER CHANGES] The vote of 15 no, and 12 aye, the motion fails. Ladies and gentlemen, the Chair thanks you for your time and your patience and your input. This meeting is adjourned.