Court case on beachfront property could change the face of NC beaches

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Depending on a North Carolina Supreme Court case, beachgoers may have to change where they sit on the state’s beaches.

A New Jersey couple who owns a vacation home on Emerald Isle is suing the beach town regarding the beach space in front of their home. Their lawsuit (Nies v. Emerald Isle) argues that the public does not have the right to access that portion of beach. The area in question is the dry sand that lies between the dunes and the tide line.

“That’s what our public tax dollars pay for,” said Jay Bryan who has been visiting Wrightsville Beach for 45 years. “That’s what our hotel tax dollars pay for, is for people to enjoy the rights to come on the beach.”

The NC Appeals Court already ruled against the couple, saying the public has access to the beach, and oceanfront property owners do not have the right to deny public access. Visitors at Wrightsville Beach said it should stay that way.

“Personally, I feel like once you buy your property, and those property lines that’s it,” said David Parrotta. “That’s what you get unless somebody offers you more land that you can purchase later on.”

For those just visiting, like Wanda Starks, the decision could change her next vacation.

“I came here to go to the beach, and there would be no place for me to go,” Starks said. “I’ve just enjoyed this, I just spent my money here, so it’s going to affect the tourist industry.”

An effect that could change the face of the cape fear beaches.

Categories: Brunswick, Local, New Hanover, Pender

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