West Jefferson has submitted 12 names of residents within the town’s new Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) to the Ashe County Board of Commissioners for consideration of six appointments for the town’s planning board.
County Manager Dan McMillan said he would be sending the names to the commissioners for possible discussion at the July 19 meeting and possible appointments in August. McMillan said he would also give the commissioners the names of all the residents within the ETJ so the board will know everyone who is eligible to serve. The appointments will be made by the commissioners, expanding West Jefferson’s planning board to 11 members.
The town’s planning board/board of adjustment will now consist of five members who must reside within the town and be appointed by the board of aldermen, and six who must reside within the ETJ and be appointed by the county commissioners. The aldermen shall suggest two nominees to the commissioners for each ETJ appointment. The commissioners must make the ETJ appointments within 90 days of receiving a resolution from the aldermen or the aldermen can make the appointments.
West Jefferson Aldermen adopted the controversial ETJ in June, extending the town’s zoning ordinance one mile out around the town’s border into the county. The only areas not affected are where West Jefferson’s border directly contacts the border with the town of Jefferson. This was done to ensure the town’s control of undesirable businesses or development around the town limits.
In other business at the aldermen’s July 5 meeting, Town Attorney David Paletta provided an update on reorganization of the town’s zoning ordinance. Paletta said the original ordinance dates back to the 1960s and had 10 to 15 amendments and some amendments of amendments.
“I have to say I’ve never seen anything like it,” Paletta said. There were some conflicting regulations and the entire document needed modernization. The board hired American Legal last year to update the town’s ordinances, with the exception of the zoning ordinance, which Paletta handled, and that company modernized the ordinances according to what is now customary in North Carolina, said Paletta, who did the same with the zoning ordinance.
The old document had four or five land use ordinances, said Paletta, and he organized them all together under the zoning ordinance. That ordinance is ready to go to the planning board for their approval as standard. The planning board will then make a recommendation to the aldermen, and a public hearing will be held prior to adoption.
There were some changes of procedure, but not of content, Paletta said of the revised zoning ordinance. “This will dramatically make Matthew’s (Levi, town planner) job more reasonable and my job more reasonable because we work together on enforcement.”
Mayor Dale Hudler noted that this has been a lengthy process to update the ordinances. Paletta said it absolutely had to be done and would streamline enforcement and make the ordinance much easier for the public to understand.