Legislators deny request from Columbus, Saluda for help with ETJ

Published 3:21 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2009

&dquo;It is important that the people impacted by this move have the opportunity to voice their support or their concerns and we have received a large amount of opposition to this move from many constituents in the district,&dquo; say Guice and Apodaca in a letter to the towns dated Feb. 24, 2009 (see full letter above).

The towns&squo; letter to legislators said that the towns have in the past asked Polk County commissioners for a public hearing and commissioners have not granted a public hearing in order to begin the process. Polk commissioners mentioned the letter during a meeting Monday and said the board is unanimously against granting the towns ETJ.

Commissioner Tommy Melton said he is against the towns having ETJ because the people within the ETJ area could not vote for the town council.

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When a town is granted ETJ rights, it gains authority to regulate land use in areas just outside the town. Persons from the ETJ area, as well as within the city limits, hold seats on the zoning board for representation.

Columbus Mayor Kathleen McMillian and Saluda Mayor Rodney Gibson sent Guice a letter in January requesting a local bill for the rights. The mayors&squo; letter said although the county is zoned, its zoning does not blend well with a small urban setting, especially now that Polk has adopted a seven-acre lot minimum.