N.C. Sen. Dan Soucek said he is “disappointed” that the town of Boone has sued over his bill — passed by the General Assembly this year — that eliminated the town’s powers of extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Attorneys for the town filed a complaint in Watauga County Superior Court on Oct. 10, claiming the law violates the North Carolina Constitution, that the act was pursued at the request of a few individuals and that the act would cause irreparable harm.

“I am disappointed that the town of Boone is using taxpayer dollars to sue the state for the authority to infringe on the property rights of citizens outside their city limits,” Soucek said in a statement.

“All authority exercised by towns and municipalities are granted to them by the legislature. When those authorities are misused, abused or not in the best interest of the citizens, the legislature may alter or remove that authority,” he said.

Soucek said that “this has been done with ETJ around the state several times in the past few years.”

“When the town of Boone was egregiously violating the property rights of my constituents, I felt duty-bound to defend those citizens,” he added.

An ETJ is a defined area in the county outside of city limits that is subject to a city’s zoning regulations, including the type, density and location of land uses.

The town claims the act is unconstitutional because of a provision of the N.C. Constitution that prohibits any local law that relates to health, sanitation and the abatement of nuisances, relating to nonnavigable streams, or regulating labor, trade, mining or manufacturing.

The city of Asheville made the same argument in its suit against the state over the 2013 law that transferred its municipal water system to a regional authority. The provision was not enacted as a local bill, but included parameters that applied specifically to the city.

Wake County Superior Court Judge Howard Manning Jr. in June agreed with the town and ruled the Legislature’s act was unconstitutional, but the state has appealed to the N.C. Court of Appeals.

Boone also argues that the act violates the North Carolina Constitution’s prohibition on governmental acts that provide exclusive rights or privileges to a particular person or group of persons without benefitting the public welfare.

Boone has asked the court to issue a preliminary injunction barring the ETJ law from taking effect until the outcome of the case. The law is set to take effect Jan. 1, 2015.

Under a law passed by the General Assembly this year, any facial challenge to the validity of an act of the General Assembly shall be transferred to the Wake County Superior Court to be heard by a three-judge panel of Superior Court judges appointed by the N.C. Supreme Court chief justice.

Editor

(5) comments

Ernest T Bass

Well, I'm a little more than disappointed in Mr. Soucek for not holding public meetings to hear from his affected constituents before he brought the bill before the legislature. Of course, I'm sure he talked with the one percenters who control everything inside and outside of town. It's sure seems to me that a very large majority of those affected have valid concerns regarding what may happen now that it has been removed from town control when give a chance to actually speak in public instead of behind closed doors in secret. Anybody that knows anything at all about this situation and others, knows that this was all about political revenge against the Town fo Boone, who has refused to bend to the will of the County Rethuglicans. Shame on you "Dirty Dan"!

E Brunson

Seems like those who oppose Mr. Soucek can't resist resorting to name calling and personal attacks. Many of us who live in the ETJ support his efforts to reign in the the Town of Boone's authoritarian attempts to infringe on the property rights of owners outside of the Town limits.

frisbeeredcat

The ETJ residents were totally blindsided by Mr. Soucek's bill. Why didn't he hold public meetings or at least send out a questionnaire to the affected parties? He has no trouble sending out print media when it comes to election time. Is this the kind of representation in Raleigh we want?

Dickson

E Brunson... even if Boone was exercising "authoritarian" control over the ETJ, which it wasn't, what Soucek did was in no way an "attempt to reign" this in. What he did was, for all intents and purposes, rob left-leaning Boone of control of the ETJ and hand it over to the County Board controlled by the GOP. As I've said a million times... there are an innumerable number of actions that could have been taken between doing nothing and stripping away the ETJ. Rational people don't automatically choose the most severe actions if they're interested in problem solving. They choose the most severe actions if there are specific reasons and plans which necessitate these actions. Rational people also do not take unilateral actions with no regard to the opinions of others unless there are specific plans that necessitate doing so. What those plans and reasons may be will certainly be revealed barring a legal victory for Boone.

E Brunson

Dickson…You need to read today's lead story in the Democrat that reports on last night's meeting of the County Planning Board. In response to citizen comments, Board members noted that many of the fears expressed were "unfounded" and that the concerns expressed are already covered by County ordinances and building codes. I suspect all these mysterious "specific plans" that you expect to be "revealed" will reveal nothing more than a case of left wing paranoia.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.