by Frank Williams
As noted in the meeting recap linked here, the Board of Commissioners voted to approve the Town of Ocean Isle Beach’s Extraterritorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) expansion request at our most recent meeting. If you’re not familiar with the concept of an ETJ, it is an area outside of a city or town’s voting boundaries over which the city or town has zoning control (click here for more info on ETJs).
In North Carolina, Counties must approve a municipality’s request to expand or create an ETJ. On principle, as a supporter of private property rights, I am generally opposed to ETJs because I do not believe property owners should be subject to land use regulations enacted by a jurisdiction in which they cannot vote.
To the best of my recollection, this is only the second ETJ request we have approved since I’ve been a Commissioner, so I wanted to elaborate on why I supported approving this one.
In a nutshell, 100% of the property owners affected by this request provided letters supporting it. Some of the parcels were split between the town and the county, and the owners wanted them entirely under the town’s zoning. As a supporter of private property rights, I voted to grant the property owners their wish to be under the Town of Ocean Isle Beach’s zoning authority.
As I stated above, this is only the second ETJ request we have approved since I’ve been a Commissioner. In both instances, all affected property owners supported the move.
My support of this specific request is a unique exception, not a precedent that will apply to cases in which the affected property owners do not request to be put under the zoning control of a nearby municipality.