City may expand ETJ

Published 9:52 pm Wednesday, April 25, 2007

By Staff
Zoning rules and codes would apply
Contributing Editor
Washington’s City Council is exploring the city’s options for extending its extraterritorial jurisdiction.
The council and mayor discussed the issue at its meeting Monday.
Expanding its ETJ would allow the city some control over growth and development of land that becomes part of the extended ETJ. In the ETJ, the city’s zoning regulations are applicable. That means that development of properties in the ETJ must meet zoning ordinance standards for parking, signage, dimensions, landscaping and other criteria.
The council is considering extending the city’s ETJ to prevent growth and development it considers unwanted and inappropriate from occurring close to the city. To extend the ETJ beyond a mile and a half from the city limits, the city would have to persuade the N.C. General Assembly to enact special legislation that allows the expansion. For that to happen, the city would have to get Beaufort County’s OK for the city to extend its ETJ, according to Bobby Roberson, the city’s director of planning and development.
In the past, the city had the General Assembly pass special legislation to allow it to extend its ETJ from a mile to a mile and half beyond its city limits. The city’s ETJ extends from its contiguous city limits, not satellite annexations.
One way for the city to extend its ETJ and avoid having to get the county’s approval and going to the General Assembly for permission to expand its ETJ would be for the city to expand its city limits, Roberson said. That’s a move Councilman Archie Jennings expressed interest in exploring.
Jennings said extending the city limits “where it’s appropriate” to expand the city’s ETJ appears to be the option that poses the least problems. There’s no guarantee the county or General Assembly would go along with the city’s request to extend its ETJ.
The council talked about possibly extending the city’s ETJ to include the Whichard’s Beach area and the U.S. Highway 264 corridor from the city to the Beaufort County-Pitt County line. That corridor was discussed when representatives of Washington and Greenville met in March to discuss issues that affect both cities. Protecting the U.S. Highway 264 corridor between Washington and Greenville from too much development, especially commercial growth, is a priority for the two cities.
If the city extends its ETJ along the U.S. 264 corridor, it could control the number of billboards that could be erected between Washington and the county line. Because the county has no zoning regulations, it is limited in what it can do to control growth along that corridor.
For additional coverage of the council’s meeting, see future editions of the Daily News.