North Topsail Beach homeowners say they say they were ousted from their homes by a hurricane, and kept out by the town. The town says the move was made for their safety and protection of neighbors. A house on the ocean, that was Debra Ewalt's dream. A dream realized four years ago when she and her family bought an oceanfront home in North Topsail Beach. "We have family all over the country," Homeowner Debra Ewalt said, "This was a meeting place for us." Now Ewalt says that dream is shattered. "It's just sad, it's just very sad," Ewalt said with tears in her eyes. The sadness started when hurricane Ophelia damaged her home in 2005. Since then, she and ten other homeowners are facing other storms. "We've been paying for a mortgage," Ewalt said, "We've been paying for insurance and we haven't been able to get in to the house its been almost two years." Homeowners say the town won't give them permits to rebuild. The houses have been condemned by North Topsail Beach. Through emminent domain, the town offered them a thousand dollars for each house. Now, the homeowners are taking the town to court. The town manager said in an off camera interview, he is willing to work with the residents but they failed to have engineers inspect for rebuilding permits. Not so, say the homeowners: "Every step a long the way we've done everything they've asked for," Ewalt said. The town manager says the houses are potentially dangerous. Resdients say, they feel betrayed. "Every time we've made a good faith effort to do what the town wanted us to do there's been another obstacle thrown back up at us." Ewalt said. The homeowners' attorney is looking for a June court date.
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