Morehead City, N.C.

May 24, 2021


At the City Council’s Starling / Osteen rezoning hearing on Wednesday, Councilwoman Diane Warrender stated that she was voting to support the rezoning request, as her primary duties were to the tax-paying residents of the town, and not to those who chose to live outside of its borders in the extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ).

She stated, with some measure of distaste, that “these people” (those in Spooners Creek opposing the rezoning) had chosen to live outside of the town borders, and were receiving free services from Morehead City like police and fire protection, without paying taxes. I would like to quote her directly, but she has not responded to my request for a copy of her written remarks.

For the record, we do not receive any free services from Morehead City. Policing for Spooners Creek and others in the ETJ is provided by the Carteret County Sheriff’s Department, and while our fire and rescue services are provided by Morehead, a portion of our property taxes – an amount clearly indicated on our bills – is used to reimburse the city for these services.

Shame on you, Diane – you’ve been on the town council for 10 years and you haven’t figured out how this works?

Make no mistake, the people of Spooners Creek and other neighborhoods in the ETJ love Morehead City. Some of us work there, own businesses in Morehead that pay property taxes, and we do the majority of our shopping and dining out in the city. All of the Spooners Creek people that spoke in opposition to the rezoning last Wednesday volunteer and contribute to a number of organizations working to make Morehead City a great place to live.

I am surprised a long-time councilwoman and former Planning Director for the Chamber of Commerce does not understand that incorrectly painting all of those that live on the outskirts of town as a bunch of freeloaders can be very bad for business.


(The facts in this letter were verified by the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office and Carteret County Fire Commissioner’s Office.)

(5) comments


Unfortunately this problem of the ETJ will only worsen with the further development of our county. As new parcels of land are developed whether residential or commercial, some are being annexed. The ETJ of a town is limited by a distance determined by it's population, and when these newly developed properties become part of the town, the ETJ may be modified. It seems ETJ residents who wish to have a voice beyond the one ETJ planning board member will need to request for their neighborhoods to be annexed so we can have a vote for the elected officials and not be called "freeloaders."

It's difficult, if not impossible, to stop growth. The best we can do is manage it by participating in government. Some towns in our county may have more people residing in the ETJ then inside the city and are given minimal opportunity to participate and have representation in the local government.


Simple answer. Morehead City must supply essential services to annex any thing. Taxation with no service might be construed to be free loading. I am a ETJ er and am willing but not without some benefit. Taxation without representation, or provisions for sewer, water and all the "services" is against the law. Your move.


I guess I’m missing something 4thepeople….why would folks want to stop growth?

I understand the desire for a small-town feeling, but times do change. Economic development is part of the diversity and growth in small towns.

I would think that most economic development from most local leaders would be to leverage the community strength for strategies of growth.

As we've seen, growth is an emotional subject but is also a sign of success.

Having said that, I still think the community should decide through the political process how the growth should be handled. We shouldn’t have to accept backroom deals that enrich a small group of folks.


I'm certainly not against growth, but believe it needs to be as you state, handled. Long term vision of what expansions of infrastructure, schools and industry will do and be handled are necessary. If we are not anticipating widening and more dense roadways, increased capacity of the county school system, and a greater number of commercial buildings and businesses with decisions being made today, the citizens will know our failures and struggle years from now.

Areas across the country have sometimes done it well and sometimes gotten it very bad. Zoning is just the beginning and the consequences of these changes will be felt in the years to come. The industrial park in MHC is a good example of how to set back industrial areas. On the other hand, James CIty business are moving due for I-42 expansion because the set backs weren't large enough when developed. Croatan High school and others use trailers for classrooms; is our county in the process of developing additional schools to handle the new students all this growth will bring?


EJC Is a forbidden subject. None of what I have written has been published. Cen sworship prevails.

Welcome to the discussion.

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