Support for regulating of sexually oriented businesses and establishing zoning restrictions around West Jefferson came this week from area business leaders.
Ashe County Chamber of Commerce directors present at their board’s April meeting Tuesday voted unanimously in favor of a resolution supporting the recent town effort to establish an extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).
“The Ashe County Chamber of Commerce supports the efforts of the Town of West Jefferson to exercise its lawful Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) to protect property values and to establish a Sexually Oriented Business (SOB) ordinance to regulate and limit such future businesses,” the board said in its resolution.
Aldermen have scheduled a public hearing May 20 for the issue of the ETJ. A similar hearing had been scheduled in April but was cancelled after aldermen said they received considerable pressure not to pass zoning restrictions in a jurisdiction surrounding the town limits.
In part, the ETJ restrictions at that point sighted restrictions for sexually oriented business. When information came to light that such businesses could be restricted in the process, town officials reset a date for the ETJ public hearing.
Chamber Executive Director Cabot Hamilton said approval of the measure followed a small amount of discussion at the board meeting to clarify the meaning of the resolution.
The resolution was proposed to the board by the Committee on Public Policy after extensive meetings with town officials, he said.
The chamber of commerce resolution cited several points in its support of the ETJ effort, including :
•the Town of West Jefferson is required by state law to provide a location zoned appropriately for any Sexually Oriented Business that may request to locate within such town boundaries.
•according to the Board of Aldermen of the Town of West Jefferson, its only wish is to regulate and control land use of property immediately outside the town limits with an eye toward protecting property values now and for future generations.
•according to the Board of Aldermen of the Town of West Jefferson, no areas around the Town of West Jefferson are appropriate or qualified for involuntary annexation and the Board does not wish to involuntarily annex any areas outside the current Town boundaries, particularly as expensive water and sewer service is required in involuntarily annexed areas within two (2) years of such annexation.
•upon establishment of an Extra Territorial Jurisdiction by the Town of West Jefferson, no taxes of any sort may lawfully be applied to such territory.
although residents of the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction will not be considered voters for the purposes of voting in Town of West Jefferson elections, there will be an additional eleven (11) members appointed to the current five-member Planning Board of the Town of West Jefferson to represent the citizens who reside in the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction.