Extraterritorial jurisdictions have been a source of controversy for years. Muncipal leaders and their advocates LOVE them. They gain influence over territory and residents who can’t even vote for them.
Residents seeking the pleasures of life outside city limits still get hit with the frustration of city bureaucracies. Last session, the legislature waded into a fight between Watauga County homeowners and Boone city leaders over the issue of ETJ. Jones Street Republicans voted to strip Boone of ETJ powers, but a court later issued a stay on that legislative action. (You can imagine the lack of enthusiasm some homeowners might have for being ruled by the kind of leaders who get elected in college towns like, say, Durham, Chapel Hill, and Boone.)
Now, Reps. Larry Pittman (R-Cabarrus), Michael Speciale (R-Craven), and Carl Ford (R-Cabarrus) have introduced legislation putting an end to ETJs once and for all within the state of North Carolina:
[…] Whereas, under current State law, any city may exercise planning jurisdiction under 6 Article 19 of Chapter 160A of the General Statutes within a defined area extending not more than one mile beyond its corporate limits; and Whereas, with the approval of the board of county commissioners with jurisdiction over the area, a city of 10,000 or more but less than 25,000 may exercise planning jurisdiction over an area extending not more than two miles beyond its corporate limits, and a city of 25,000 or more may exercise these powers over an area extending not more than three miles beyond its limits; and Whereas, the citizens who live in an area over which a city exercises extraterritorial planning jurisdiction are prohibited from voting in municipal elections; and Whereas, without the ability to vote in city elections to choose the persons who will make planning decisions about the areas in which they live, rural citizens do not have a say in some of the important matters that affect their lives and livelihoods […]
It’s an interesting proposition. You’ve got people — who you can’t hold accountable at the ballot box — exercising some influence over you and your property. On the other hand, some ETJ residents gain the benefit of city trash pickup and emergency services. But — if you wanted the, um, “pleasure” of dealing with the city of Boone or the Town of Chapel Hill, you would have moved into town.
This will be one to watch this session.