I don't see why an external gerber tool won't see the physical connection using your original method. If the ADD_ETCH layer is part of the film control for the layer you want the connection on, it should show up in your gerber.
If you go to static shapes and get a DRC, you can Waive it or use the NET_SHORT property to get rid of the DRC.
I can see it on an external gerb tool. My supervisor hasn't seen this method before and I'm having a heck of a time convincing him this method works. He is of the school "if I can't see a physical connection, it's not there". As long as I'm okay with the static shapes, I think I'll go that way.
I personally do not allow this method in my company. If the net name is different it is not allowed to connect unless an "alias" (from Concept) body is placed on it or it has a secondary name (OrCAD). Either method reduces the net to one physical net in the board and the IPC netlist works.
Your method sounds like you're trying to fix something in the layout that has an elegant solution back at the schematic.
Kudos to your boss. :)
I fully agree with redwire: the solution IS at schematic level.
I do not allow to do some "strange" manipulation for this kind of requirement... so dangerous