Sand Dollar Shores appeals Duck beach access ruling

By on March 9, 2020

Sea Breeze Drive Access in Duck.

The Sand Dollar Shores Homeowners Association has announced, through its attorney Casey Varnell, that it has appealed a Feb. 14 ruling by a Camden County Superior Court Judge that sided with plaintiff Bob Hovey’s claim that a beach access there belongs to the public.

“It goes without saying that the HOA does not agree with the decision of the trial court,” read a March 9 statement issued by the Sand Dollar Shores HOA, which described its position in the litigation as, “respecting private property rights legally established within the public record.”

The statement added that “the current ruling by the trial court affects many other Outer Banks Communities, and communities statewide, and not simply Sand Dollar Shores.” The HOA release also indicated that it is seeking a stay of trial court’s order that the Sea Breeze beach access in the Duck Subdivision of Sand Dollar Shores is public property.

The dispute over beach access in Duck exploded into public view last May when Hovey was arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing while attempting to use the access at the end of Sea Breeze Drive. A video of Hovey being confronted by two angry homeowners at the time of that incident went viral and stirred up considerable public and social media passions.

Last August, Hovey and his wife Tanya filed a suit against the HOA arguing the walkway was a public trust. Last month, Judge Lamott Wiggins granted them a summary judgment without a trial, ruling that, “It is declared that the “8’ pedestrian beach access easement…is an easement dedicated to the general public for the purpose of providing pedestrian access to the Atlantic Ocean beach held in the public trust by the State of North Carolina and is now in the jurisdiction of the Town of Duck.”

In its March 9 statement announcing the appeal, the HOA, in an apparent reference to social media commentary on the case, said it “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.”

See Also: Judge rules for Hovey: Duck beach access is public









    Would you children just pick up your marbles and go home !

    Monday, Mar 9 @ 3:14 pm
  • sandflea

    I hope these entitled $##%&’s get their butt’s handed to them.

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 8:58 am
  • surf123

    The street I live on has access to the beach through an easement between two oceanfront lots. It is for the exclusive use of those of us who own a home on the street. It has no street parking whatsoever (road is just barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other). That said people do walk to the beach and crossover onto the beach via this private easement and I don’t have a problem with this. I do have a problem when they park on the street.

    I don’t see the HOA losing so long as it is on property owned by them unless it was recorded as a public easement, which I doubt it was.

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 9:33 am
  • Forbes Kennedy

    Let them appeal; it is lining Varnell’s pockets. I can assure you that the Sand Dollar Shores residents are showing themselves to be poor neighbors, bad citizens and onerous ignoramuses. They–like the witch shown in Mr. Hovey’s video–are the reason so many are turning away from the OBX, allowing her ilk to fill in the vacuum.

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 9:43 am
  • Travis

    Well, time for another bag of popcorn.

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 10:19 am
  • Logic has left the building

    Why on earth would the State of NC, County of Dare, or Town of Duck allow public beach access where there are no public restroom facilities available within miles of the beach? Is NC just trying to ruin their beach vacation destination reputation?

    FYI: Human waste-borne infectious diseases include but are not limited to cholera, typhoid, hepatitis, cryptosporidiosis, ascariasis, and schistosomiasis.

    We’re in the midst of a CoronaVirus epidemic scare and you all don’t give a crap about other deadly communicable diseases. Are you stupid?

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 12:13 pm
  • CheetahOBX

    OMG!!!! Just can NOT let it go….just like my first home area…..nothing better to do than to ruin someone’s day/life……and TRY & force something down your throat………come on!!!! Get a life SDS!!!!!

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 5:01 pm
  • Jay D

    Good luck with that…i don’t like controversy, but I have a feeling this whole thing is going to backfire on the HOA

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 5:24 pm
  • Jay D

    I wonder if this will have some sort of ‘Streisand effect’, where the HOA’s efforts to keep the access private are just further publicizing and sparking curiosity about that beach access

    Tuesday, Mar 10 @ 5:27 pm
  • Why there's a Federal law

    Allowing public access at a beach that doesn’t have public restrooms within miles of the beach is a problem. That problem is the same reason why Federal law says that untreated sewage can NOT be discharged from a boat in inland or coastal waters: untreated human waste contamination.

    The Outer Banks is a vacation destination. But its sanitary standards are significantly less than those required by Federal law for human waste from boats? Why? Maybe choose to vacation elsewhere from now on.

    Wednesday, Mar 11 @ 11:46 am
  • Part Time OBX'er

    Just to clarify – this court ruling doesn’t say the Town or County now has to control this access – it simply states that it is Public Access – the HOA cannot make or block the access for private use. That is all, no more and no less. If the HOA is worried about parking on the street for the PUBLIC to use the access, they they can use their fees to buy No Parking signs instead of lawyer fees.

    Wednesday, Mar 11 @ 1:44 pm
  • Really?

    @logic has left… everyone else may not be stupid but you certainly are as you typed out an ignorant comment from your safe space because you didn’t even mention the most miles of beach with no bathroom and that would be Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Should they close those beaches also??? What a dummy!

    Wednesday, Mar 11 @ 5:19 pm
  • Care for natural resources

    @Really? That doesn’t make it any more acceptable. Why contaminate the coastal ecosystem with human waste? You all don’t seem to value the natural resource you have or care for it appropriately. And last time I looked Cape Hatteras National Seashore wasn’t at full residential saturation level as are Duck and Southern Shores. The high volume of people using the beach multiplies the human waste contamination problem in areas where there is residential saturation and no public restrooms for miles. HOA owner/renters, of course, return to their homes/rentals for those needs. Where does the public go? Their only choice is to contaminate the ocean and/or beach. Not exactly what anyone is looking for when choosing to book a pricey family friendly vacation.

    @ Part Time OBX’er. Looking at the plat dedication acceptance language on which the judge based his ruling, it seems Dare County would have to choose to be responsible for maintenance and whether to open the access to the public but they do not have to. The County’s dedication acceptance language makes that perfectly clear.

    Thursday, Mar 12 @ 9:18 am
  • Really?

    Guess what @care? Don’t come here if it’s such an issue! Why is it now a problem and it wasn’t last month/year/decade?? Find something else to complain about, it’s people with your mentality not people’s pi$$ that’s ruining this place!

    Thursday, Mar 12 @ 3:08 pm
  • Jay D

    @Why there’s a Federal law
    Can you cite an instance when people going ‘number 2’ on the beach was ever a concern in the OBX? This lawsuit has NOTHING to do with bathroom accessibility. A completely moot point.

    Thursday, Mar 19 @ 2:00 am