Brides often want a band of gold to put around their finger, but the Town of Summerfield is seeking a band of a different kind – a protective zoning band that would extend the town’s zoning ordinances up to two miles beyond Summerfield’s borders.

The Summerfield Town Council has voted to start the process to request, from the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, a protective zone known as an extra-territorial jurisdiction, or an “ETJ.”

 If granted, the new jurisdiction would mean the town’s zoning ordinances, erosion control measures and other building rules would be in force within that zone.

The Summerfield Town Council recently voted to have staff develop an ETJ map for consideration by the town’s zoning board.  Once a final map is adopted and approved by the Town Council, a formal request will be made to the nine-member Guilford County Board of Commissioners.

The jurisdiction would give the town a great deal of control over development in the adjoining area without annexing the land which according to current state law requires approval from the property owners.  

Summerfield Mayor BJ Barnes said this week that he supports the move.  He said he thinks it would be a positive step for Summerfield since it could help prevent undesirable development and maintain consistent density just outside the town limits.

The Guilford County commissioners could grant the request, turn it down, or allow a revised ETJ after the first one proposed by the town.

Some in Summerfield have concerns about adopting an ETJ.  Don Wendelken, a town resident who runs the Summerfield Scoop Facebook page covering news in Summerfield, said this week that he has a lot of questions about the wisdom of an ETJ.  For one thing, he said, he wonders if it’s fair to those who live and own property just outside of town.

“Those people don’t get to vote in Summerfield,” Wendelken said, adding that, despite that “lack of representation,” the town would have a lot of control over how their land is used.