Coastal Review Online: Maryland couple appeals dismissal of suit involving South Nags Head home

Fire consumed the vacation rental on East Seagull Street in South Nags Head in October 2016. [photo by Aaron Jennings/Shooters At The Beach]

The Maryland couple whose lawsuit against the state Coastal Resources Commission was recently dismissed by a federal judge has appealed the decision.

Michael and Cathy Zito of Timonium, Maryland, sued the commission last year in federal court, alleging a taking of their property on East Seagull Drive in South Nags Head without just compensation because the state regulatory board denied permits to replace a beachfront home destroyed by fire in October 2016.

The Zitos’ plans to rebuild on the same footprint on a rapidly eroding stretch of beach did not meet oceanfront setback requirements.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Dever III in March dismissed the complaint for lack of subject matter jurisdiction. The Zitos’ attorney in the case, J. David Breemer of the nonprofit Pacific Legal Foundation, had vowed to appeal the decision.

The North Carolina Coastal Federation, which publishes Coastal Review Online, had sought to intervene in the case on behalf of the commission, but the judge denied the federation’s motion as moot.