Currituck leaders to ‘vigorously’ defend beach parking fees

By on July 26, 2018

The fees started Memorial Day weekend. (Dee Langston)

Currituck County leaders say they stand by the fees charged to non-residents to park on county beaches, and are prepared to defend the policy in court.

“Currituck County will vigorously defend its ordinance,” said County Manager Dan Scanlon in a press release issued Thursday.

The suit was filed on June 21 by the Virginia Four Wheel Drive Association and the organization’s vice president, Sandy Schneirla, a realtor from Virginia Beach.

The organization is seeking an injunction to halt the beach parking permit fee charged to non-residents, claiming the policy violates the N.C. Constitution, and requests damages of more than $25,000 along with attorney’s fees.

“The county believes this complaint is without merit and we will continue to work towards the enhancement of public safety on the north beach,” Scanlon said.

The county claims the ordinance is similar to other regional communities that issue parking permits only to residents and property owners.

The VFWDA said the lawsuit is in response to the $150 fee imposed on non-residents by Currituck County in order to park their vehicles on the beaches between 12:01 a.m. on the Friday before Memorial Day through 11:59 p.m. on Labor Day.

A 10-day beach parking permit costs non-resident visitors to the off-road area $50. The fee schedule doesn’t include discounts for beach-goers who only want to spend a day or a weekend at the beach, or for those who are renting a beach house for the standard seven-day rental period.

The fees don’t apply to Currituck County residents and non-resident property owners, who are allowed free permits for each vehicle they own. The permits are assigned to an individual vehicle, and aren’t transferable.

In addition, two seasonal guest permits are allowed for each house in the off-road area that is part of a verified rental program. Two guest parking passes are also allowed for houses owned by a full-time resident of the four-wheel drive area.

Unlike the free beach parking permits issued to county residents, guest passes aren’t assigned to a particular vehicle.

Commissioners approved the ordinance requiring a permit to park on the beach on March 5, which the plaintiffs claim violates the “emoluments clause” in Article I, Section 32 of the North Carolina Constitution:

No person or set of persons is entitled to exclusive or separate emoluments or privileges from the community but in consideration of public services.

Currituck County Attorney Ike McCree filed a motion on July 18 for a 30-day extension to give the county more time to file a response to the suit, with a deadline of August 20.

Click here to read the lawsuit (PDF file) »

 

 

 




Comments

  • Mr Lee

    Would anyone like a history lesson. Lets go back to 1975. PENNY,S HILL. Some will remember the great and wonderful time that were had there. Some complaining here were not even born yet. PENNY’S HILL is where local people would come and race on the dune, camp and have the greatest time with family and friends. Well as it more popular a lot more people came. As more and more people came it seemed to get a little wilder. Well after the third time the coast guard had to land their helo and pick up a person with a broken neck PENNY” S HILL was shut down. It ruined it for everyone. Well guess where the majority of the masses came from. You got it southeast Virginia. It feels like to me,, here we go again,, we have a great little spot on the Currituck outer banks and we just may loose it because the masses are coming again. I really wish the virginia people would spend their time and money trying to get their own beach opened up. You have a beautiful beach from the nc line to sandbridge. Remember 1150 vehicles came off the beach in one day last summer, it came not continue. This just may result in a road up behind the dune that will ruin it for all.

    Monday, Jul 30 @ 1:11 pm
  • Bob

    Sounds to me like it is time to pave a road and be done with it. I’m sure no one that lives up that way wants to even think about it, but there comes a time when existing infrastructure is no longer sufficient. Sounds to me like that point has been passed…

    Monday, Jul 30 @ 3:29 pm
  • stephen

    Tater tot, in answer to your question: Nassau, Suffolk, and Westchester Counties in N.Y. and several of the individual townships therein; Montgomery County & Prince Georges County in Maryland; Lee County, Florida.
    Except for Westchester in NY, I have lived in all of the above . And in that county I have visited regularly to see friends and relatives and clients over many years.

    Monday, Jul 30 @ 5:21 pm
  • Bud

    They have driving beaches in Virginia, Go there instead!

    Tuesday, Jul 31 @ 6:52 am
  • Vacationer

    My family spends thousands of dollars to rent a house to vacation annually in Corolla. The 4×4 beach is what brings us to Corolla. I like to drive on the beach to find a spot to park, and enjoy the beach with the family for the day. With the added beach fee, it makes rethink my drive to Corolla and all the traffic that comes with it. Now I will strongly consider staying in Kitty Hawk/Nags Head, and avoid the Duck traffic. If others do as I will, there is potentially a big loss of vacation revenue for Currituck County and area businesses. Something to think about.

    Tuesday, Jul 31 @ 8:07 am
  • hightider

    “Vacationer” – if you were really spending “thousands of dollars” on a rental in Carova, then you would know each rental home has 2 beach parking placards provided gratis for tenants. Please find a Motel 6 or its ilk in Nags Head, KDH, or better yet go to Sandbridge.. Those of us who own property in Carova that we do not rent out would love to see fewer tourists and don’t care whether the county loses revenue or not.

    Tuesday, Jul 31 @ 11:08 pm
  • Lee

    @ Vacationer, you have a great idea. Go on down the kitty hawk or nags head and drive on their beach in the summer and see what happens. Those towns had the same problem as Currituck many years ago to many people and closed their beach in the summer. You can drive on down to Hatteras island and drive on the beach, but you will pay about the same.
    Maybe you should consider coming down in sept. or October, much nicer here then and you will not need a permit.
    How would you like it if an extra 100 cars drive down your street where you live every day. Remember the beach is the only street the people that live in this area have to get to their homes. The real shame here is that thanks to the masses the beach driving will end before long. Read Mr. Lees history lesson and think about it.

    Wednesday, Aug 1 @ 7:30 am
  • Bonnie

    We, the Currituck County residents pay taxes to live here therefore we already pay to drive on our beaches.

    Tuesday, Aug 7 @ 11:50 am