Written by Steve Frank
limited to Ashe and Watauga Counties—that change from the original wording—and would now become effective upon approval instead of July 1st, as in the original wording. If passed, the bill would require the consent of county commissioners within the affected county before a municipality could acquire property by eminent domain. Current state law requires commission approval across a county line. It is not clear whether it would affect the Town of Boone’s efforts to obtain properties for the intake to the New River, but property owners along the path of the project—many against the project, according to opposition to the project, might to be able to delay action until after passage of the bill—that is if the bill is passed by the Senate. Letters sent by the Town of Boone to property owners along the pipe path earlier this year indicated that the town would offer compensation for permanent easements, but if settlements could not be negotiated, the town would acquire the property via eminent domain.
It becomes the latest legislative action targeting the town by local representatives, with Boone’s ETJ powers stripped last year, that matter stayed while still in court, set for a three-judge panel to hear this summer.