The Watauga Democrat weighed pros and cons of eliminating Boone’s ETJ, taking a he-said/she-said perspective. S865 would eliminate the town’s ability to plan on people who cannot vote for members of town council. The counterargument is that they aren’t taxed, either, and they may serve on the town’s board of adjustment and planning commission.

Republican Rep. Jonathan Jordan of Jefferson said he fully supports the bill . . . “It’s an issue of control – it’s regulation without representation,” said Jordan, echoing a phrase [the legislator who introduced the bill, Dan] Soucek, used to describe the ETJ. “The citizens in that area can’t vote for the people that are controlling them.”

Boone Mayor Andy Ball and Boone Town Council members, who are all Democrats or progressives, have expressed vocal opposition to the bill, arguing that ETJs are an essential planning tool to prevent unrestricted development that would place strains on infrastructure.

Other opponents were concerned about the environment and the free exercise of personal property rights – as opposed to the rights others have to a say in how people arrange their space.

Soucek explained other options for planning on people, which tended to be a little more respectful of the degree to which individuals want to be controlled by others, would remain.

“I would love to be annexed,” [resident Sandy] Everhart said. “We were told . . . they could not because of the cost involved in it.”

One envisions a sci-fi thriller in which Dr. Demento, in his control freakery, puts beastly humans under his spell until he shapes them into profitable servants he can call his own.