Dare County agrees to classify NRPO’s as resident property owners in future health emergencies

By on July 6, 2020

At a special morning meeting on July 6, the Dare County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a settlement in the case of Bailey v. Dare County that would, in future public health emergencies, classify non-resident property owners the same way as residents and allow them the same entry into the county.

In that lawsuit, brought in federal court, the plaintiffs said their Constitutional rights were violated when county officials initially denied non-resident property owners access to the county during the COVID-19 outbreak. In approving the settlement, Dare County also agreed to pay $16,500 in legal costs, and County Manager Bobby Outten told the commissioners that the settlement was not an admission of fault or liability on the part of the county.

The decision to restrict access to non-resident property owners was a controversial one that spawned fierce and often angry debates on social media and elsewhere.

In a Voice interview, Dare County Manager Bobby Outten stressed that the settlement only applies to public health emergencies as defined by the WHO and would not include hurricanes or other natural disasters.

“There was no point in carrying it further,” he said of the Bailey v. Dare County litigation. When asked why the county had decided to settle, Outten said that original modeling had suggested that the return of non-resident property owners during the pandemic would have overloaded the health care system here. He acknowledged that the modeling had proved to be inaccurate.

“In hindsight,” he added, “the number of people who would have returned as non-resident property owners would not have been significant” in terms of worsening the COVID-19 outbreak in the county.

Update: In a brief interview with the Voice, plaintiffs’ attorney Chuck Kitchen said his clients were happy with the settlement agreed to by the Dare County Board of Commissioners and, “We are happy that this reaffirms that the Constitution is still in effect, even during a pandemic.”


  • Trashcan Man

    Q: So, why are NRPO’s treated differently from residents after a hurricane?
    A: To protect others’ health and safety.

    Meaning: Dare county settled because it was the most efficient way to deal with a selfish lawsuit. Period.
    NRPO’s cannot vote in Dare County. But we residents can and do!

    Thursday, Jul 9 @ 4:25 pm
  • Suresh Mangal

    For the period non resident restricted access should not charge the property taxes for that period and all owner should file new claim to get refund or credit for the property taxes

    Thursday, Jul 9 @ 5:27 pm
  • TC

    The entire discussion is so sad … Dare re-opened to all to support tourism with disregard to families who choose to spend their time and money in Dare by owning properties. Like it or not, this community consists of folks who live here all year and some more seasonally but either property owners and taxpayers.

    Thursday, Jul 9 @ 8:20 pm
  • hightider

    To respond to the whiny NRPO who is demanding his property taxes be refunded for the entire 6 weeks he was “denied” access to his (second) home – I pro-rated your 6 weeks of taxes as $500, more or less. You pay taxes for the months you are not here anyway. So the real question is did you plan to stay in your second home during the six weeks you were banned? If you did not plan a visit, then your taxes would have been irrelevant. However, if you did plan to come at that time, you were doing so to leave one of the hottest virus areas in NJ – Ocean County. Do you think a paltry $500 in pro-rated tax gives you the right to leave a heavily infected area and come here?

    Friday, Jul 10 @ 5:58 am
  • kkit

    Hightider: It doesn’t matter whether he planned to stay in his property or not… Taxes are a responsibility of ownership and go to pay for securing one’s property in the form of police and fire services, for example, at all times. Property owners don’t get exemptions from taxes while not in residence; they look silly when they claim to deserve them. They become laughably selfish fools who want what they want when they want it, even if it endangers all those around them.

    Saturday, Jul 11 @ 10:42 am
  • hightider

    Kkit – I evidently was unclear. The point I was making is he deserves no rebate on the 6 weeks he was “denied” his rights as a proprety owner. The taxes are due regardless of whether he comes here or not. In fact, if this were not the case, all NRPO could plead they should only have to pay property tax for the months they reside here! This guy wants to be reimbursed for 6 weeks of property tax. My comment is 1) you pay property tax whether you ar here or not; 2) did you even plan to come here during those 6 weeks, and 3) if you did plan to come here, you were coming from one of the most infected areas in the US and with one of the highest mortality rates. The Dare tax office shows he resides in Ocean County NJ. He is a whiner who is looking to scrounge some petty change from Dare County and not embarrassed to appear so brazenly self-serving.

    Sunday, Jul 12 @ 5:11 pm
  • OBX D

    Fun facts , county manager is the county lawyer and practicing real estate lawyer and the second highest payed county manger in state . So how or why does this man get to make any decisions for county citizens. Can we say conflict of interest

    Tuesday, Jul 14 @ 2:39 pm