BOILING SPRING LAKES, NC (WWAY) — The lengthy legal battle between property owners and the City of Boiling Spring Lakes is nearing an end.
In May of 2014, Edward and Debra Wilkie filed a lawsuit against the city after a project to raise the levels of Spring Lake flooded a portion of their property for more than a year.
The case went to court in 2015. Judge Ebertn T. Watson III ruled in the Wilkie’s favor and ordered further proceedings be held to determine the amount of compensation to which the Wilkies were entitled, in light of the temporary taking of a portion of their property.
The City of Boiling Spring Lakes appealed that ruling. The NC Appellate Court reversed the original ruling, finding that the property owned by Edward and Debra Wilkie had not been taken by Boiling Spring Lakes for a public use or benefit.
The Wilkies appealed that ruling to the N.C. Supreme Court, which ruled in their favor earlier this year.
The case once again went to the NC Court of Appeals for further review.
This week, the panel once again ruled in favor of the Wilkies.
“In this case, a taking occurred because Plaintiffs had been ousted from their
property and deprived of all beneficial enjoyment for more than a year. Plaintiffs are
entitled to compensation for the time period of the temporary flooding because, under
both the North Carolina and the United States Constitutions, just compensation
must be paid for a taking of this kind,” wrote Judge Phil Berger in the Opinion of the Court.
The case has now been remanded to trial court to determine the actual “area taken as a result of government-induced flooding and for a jury to determine the value of the area taken.”
City Manager Jeff Repp says the city has received a copy of the Appeals Court’s ruling, but has not had a chance to speak with their attorney about it, so they do not have a statement at this time.
Repp says so far, the City of Boiling Spring Lakes has spent $295,315 in legal fees on the Wilkie case.