The Duck homeowner’s association at the center of a legal battle over beach access has appealed a judge’s recent decision declaring a walkway to the Atlantic Ocean open to all.
After Duck business owner and surfer Bob Hovey filed suit earlier this year, N.C. Superior Court Judge Lamont Wiggins ruled last month that the access at Sea Breeze Drive is indeed a dedicated public easement, as Hovey has argued for years.
In May, Hovey was arrested for trespassing at the access following a confrontation with property owners. Hovey recorded the interactions and posted them on Facebook, creating a huge social media backlash.
Hovey turned that vocal support into a fundraising campaign to help pay for his court challenge.
The towns of Duck and Southern Shores have said they have no public beach access points, all are privately owned and maintained. But Hovey has for years rallied against the legality of those private accesses, saying the Sand Dollar Shores access in particular has a dedicated public easement.
Sand Dollar Shores HOA, however, contends that the access is private property “legally established within the public record.”
In its appeal of the judge’s ruling, Sand Dollar Shores HOA says they are asking for a stay of the judge’s order while the N.C. Court of Appeals considers the case, meaning they want the access to remain private.
In a statement, the HOA says its thankful for support from other Outer Banks communities and individuals who “understand that this matter is not about restricting the public’s right to use the public trust beach, but rather about respecting private property rights legally established within the public record. This support acts to confirm the fact that the current ruling by the trial court affects many other Outer Banks communities, and communities statewide, and not simply Sand Dollar Shores.”
Read the full statement here:
On March 9th, 2020, the Sand Dollar Shores Homeowners Association, through its attorney, appealed the recent trial court decision that was rendered concerning the beach access within the Sand Dollar Shores subdivision in Duck, North Carolina. It goes without saying that the HOA does not agree with the decision of the trial court, and they are hopeful that the North Carolina Court of Appeals will concur with this opinion. As part of the appeal, a stay of the trial court’s order will be sought in an effort to maintain the private nature of the access pending the outcome of the ruling by the Court of Appeals.
The Sand Dollar Shores HOA will not address this legal matter through the use of social media, nor any other online outlets, as these mediums have shown to misconstrue and/or misrepresent the facts surrounding this case and further the vitriol within the entire Outer Banks community.
We are thankful for the support we are receiving from numerous other Outer Banks communities and individuals who understand that this matter is not about restricting the public’s right to use the public trust beach, but rather about respecting private property rights legally established within the public record. This support acts to confirm the fact that the current ruling by the trial court affects many other Outer Banks communities, and communities statewide, and not simply Sand Dollar Shores.
This story originally appeared on OBXToday.com. Read More local stories here.