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By Kate Elizabeth Queram

WILMINGTON, NC (StarNewsOnline.com) — A Kure Beach couple remains unable to move into their new home after a New Hanover County Superior Court judge upheld the town’s decision to deny an occupancy permit for the property because its cantilevered fireplace extends 6 inches farther than zoning laws allow.

“Basically, you’re going to have to change it or take it down,” Judge Paul L. Jones said during a hearing Monday afternoon. “It’s an unfortunate result.”

The 20-minute hearing was the latest development in a yearlong battle between Ann and Richard Lawing, the home’s owners, and John Batson, building inspector for Kure Beach. According to the Lawings, Batson issued a building permit based on the original plans, which showed the fireplace, but became difficult to work with after the couple asked the town to reimburse them for the cost of a window that Batson broke during an inspection.

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