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Legal Issues
Feb 1, 2016

Life’s A Beach And A Storm Is On The Way

Sponsored Content provided by Geoffrey Losee - Partner, Rountree Losee LLP

Oceanfront property values are a major economic driver in our region. It doesn’t take an economist to understand why: The oceanfront owner enjoys private views and direct access to the beauty of the ocean and beaches, as well as all other private property rights. That leads to higher prices for oceanfront property, which helps fund other sectors of the economy.
This past November, the N.C. Court of Appeals ruled that the privately owned “dry sand beach” (in front of your beachfront property) is subject to “public trust” rights that allow “enhanced public access” to that beach area.
Translating from legalese, this means that unless the case is overturned by the N.C. Supreme Court, as an oceanfront propert ownery:

  • You can’t prevent the public from going on your beach
  • A town government can tell you that:
    • you can’t keep beach chairs on your own beach.
    • it can drive on your beach whenever it wants.
    • it can put a public trash receptacle on your property.
    • A town government can put up a fence that keeps you from going on your own beach.
No, I didn’t make those up to scare you; everything on that list comes from real cases. (If you’d like a copy of the cases, email my partner, Steve Coggins at [email protected]).
Those factors might very well suppress property values, leading to less investment in this region, fewer jobs, less revenue to sustain our infrastructure, and so on. So, it’s a big deal even if you don’t own beach property. The final outcome is still “up in the air.” The question has been appealed to the N.C. Supreme Court by several private beachfront owners.
As an oceanfront owner, you know it is always better to prepare before the storm hits; please contact me or Steve Coggins and allow us to help you protect your valuable property rights.
Geoff Losee can be reached by visiting, by email at [email protected] or by calling (910) 763-3404. Rountree Losee LLP has provided a full range of legal services to individuals, families and businesses in North Carolina for over 110 years. As well-recognized leaders in each of the areas in which they practice, the attorneys of Rountree Losee provide clients a wealth of knowledge and experience. In their commitment to provide the highest quality legal service, they handle a wide range of legal issues with creativity, sensitivity and foresight. 

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