Wake County ruling on ETJ expected within next few weeks


The Appalachian Online

Laney Ruckstuhl

A three judge panel in Wake County heard arguments Wednesday in a case involving a bill which took away Boone’s power of extraterritorial jurisdiction.

Both sides in the case  — the Town of Boone and Watauga County, and the State of North Carolina  — sought a summary judgement from the court, said Town Manager John Ward.

Ward also said a judgement is not expected in the case until several weeks from now, if not longer.

If the court rules in favor of Boone, the 2014 law which revoked Boone’s ETJ authority will be declared unconstitutional, Ward said. A victory for the county and state would mean that Boone would lose its ETJ powers.

ETJ refers to a condition in which a state exercises regulatory authority in a limited area outside the town’s limits.

The controversy began in June 2014 when a bill taking away the ETJ passed in the General Assembly.

The Town of Boone filed a lawsuit in October 2014, challenging the law on the basis that it created a “local law” in a way that is prohibited in the state constitution, according to an October 2014 statement from Mayor Andy Ball.

In November 2014, the state called for dismissal of the suit on grounds of sovereign immunity, which allows the state avoid lawsuits which the state does not consent to.

The Wake County panel of judges issued an injunction in December 2014 which allowed Boone to keep its ETJ authority past the January 1 deadline the bill had specified. This ruling paved the way for Wednesday’s hearing.

Story: Kevin Griffin, Reporter