State Supreme Court ruling allows compensation for property taken for beach upkeep

Kill Devil Hills, on the beach. [Kari Pugh photo]

North Carolina’s Supreme Court on Friday upheld an appeals court panel’s divided opinion to allow compensation for oceanfront property owners whose land is taken by local governments for beach upkeep, the Associated Press reports.

The case stems from property owners William and Martha Richardson’s refusal to grant 10-year easement rights to the Town of Nags Head for beach nourishment in 2011.

The town took the easement by eminent domain and the couple took the case to court in October 2017, winning a jury verdict of $60,000 before the trial judge dismissed the case based on the state’s “public trust rights” to protect beaches, the AP reported.

A state Court of Appeals panel overturned the judge’s ruling and ordered a new trial, which has not yet been scheduled.

The state Supreme Court upheld the majority of the panel’s opinion, saying “the sole issue on
remand is the fair market value of the easement.”