Supreme Court Upholds Law That Abolished Boone's ETJ (2016-12-22 00:21:18)

The N.C. Supreme Court has upheld as constitutional a 2014 law that abolished the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the town of Boone.

The law known as "the Boone Act" that abolished Boone's ETJ was previously overturned by a Superior court decision in July of 2015 and by law, that decision was appealed directly to the Supreme Court.

According to the Watauga Democrat, NC Supreme Justice Paul Newby wrote for the majority that the state constitution authorizes the General Assembly to reduce the town’s jurisdictional reach as described in the first clause of Article VII, Section 1. Justices Sam Ervin IV and Robin E. Hudson concurred. Justice Cheri Beasley dissented, saying that revoking the ETJ powers of the town violated the prohibition on local acts in Article II, Section 24. Because the NC Supreme Court is the state's highest court, there is no further appeal on matters of state law.

In the wake of the decisions, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners has announced a special meeting set for Wednesday December 28th at 12:30 to discuss the ruling and decide if a moratorium is needed.

According to the Watauga Democrat, Boone has applied its zoning regulations to an ETJ area about one mile outside of town limits since 1983, and nearly 200 other cities in North Carolina have ETJ areas — authorized by state law since 1959.

ETJ residents do not vote in town elections, do not pay town taxes and do not receive town services, but residents of the ETJ serve on the town’s board of adjustment and planning commission.­­