Hovey plans to appeal ruling on Duck beach access

By on April 9, 2021

Bob Hovey, the Duck business owner who filed a lawsuit arguing that a beach access in the Sand Dollar Shores subdivision is in the public trust, says he plans to challenge an April 6 Court of Appeals ruling that the access is private.

Hovey told the Voice of his decision to file an appeal with the NC Supreme Court after consulting his attorney, Gregg Wills.

“I think it’s crazy that the Appellate Court stated in the ruling that I would have to access the beach in Duck from Kitty Hawk or Corolla,” he said in a written statement. “It concerns me that my tax dollars as well as Dare County Occupancy tax is used to be pay for beach nourishment in Duck. I can drive down a public street and see the beach that Dare County tax revenue and my tax dollars are using to pay for the beach nourishment, yet I cannot access the beach.”

Hovey, who has for years led a crusade for public beach access in the northern Outer Banks town, filed the 2019 lawsuit several months after being arrested and charged with second-degree trespassing when attempting to use the access at the end of Sea Breeze Drive. The charges were later dropped.

Appeals Court rules Duck beach access is private


  • Karen Bean

    Bob, why do you insist on infringing on other’s property when you have unfettered access of your own. Shall we add signage to access from YOUR property. Seems like a great idea using your logic. People purchase property for the privacy aspect as I’m sure you did the same. Stop your pettiness and move along. Preferably on your own property.
    It seems logical to most.

    Friday, Apr 9 @ 4:00 pm
  • Bebe Reposo

    Perhaps Duck could follow the same idea that Nags Head is proposing, i.e. multiple tax zones. Even if the beach is public, but there is no access to it, that could be a significantly higher tax zone.

    Friday, Apr 9 @ 6:05 pm
  • voidless1

    Anyone that has lived here for a worthy time sees through the orchestrated B.S. The whole mess has a uncomfortable smell……..Now its time for the town to step up, Right a wrong for the locals, and the occupancy tax contributors w/ a purchase. I assume Dare is committed to continue with future ,ever increasing asset protection benefits for Duck……….

    Friday, Apr 9 @ 9:43 pm
  • Not a Karen

    Karen (how appropriate your name is might I add), what unfettered access to the beach does Bob have from his two Duck properties? Isn’t that the point? The only pettiness is from you and others of your ilk.

    Friday, Apr 9 @ 9:54 pm
  • Sean Mulligan

    As a taxpayer of NC and Dare county I should have access to all beaches.None are private including Southern Shores of which I am a resident.It is time to let everyone who is a resident of Dare county have access to all beaches.Maybe the towns could sell a parking sticker which the funds would go towards beach nourishment.No access no nourishment which is fine by me.I am still mad about the Army Corp of engineers at the research pier closing the public access after 911.I caught a lot of nice waves as well as trout in that area.I seldom go up there anymore because of the parking hassle.Once again no access no nourishment.Sean Mulligan

    Friday, Apr 9 @ 10:49 pm
  • hightider

    Google Siesta Key Sarasota FL trespass issues. Siesta Key is usually voted one of the top 10 beaches in America. It has a designated public beach with facilities. But noooo…people insist on trespassing on private property, using their yards as toilet facilities, vandalizing, and tossing trash. Now property owners are seeking legal means to enforce the rights of private property owners – and winning.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 6:41 am
  • Chris

    Fine Karen…..Duck pays for beach nourishment by itself.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 6:44 am
  • Mark Stevens

    Duck already does that, Bebe Reposo. It has 2 MSDs (Municipal Services taxing Districts). One for oceanside homes (east of 12) and a much higher-taxed one for oceanfront homes.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 7:36 am
  • Steve R

    What is Hovey talking about? There was no beach nourishment anywhere near the HOA he’s suing. That was miles away much farther north, north of the Duck Research Pier. Hovey must have taken too many blows to the head while surfing. He’s lying about material facts of the case.

    Anyway, since the Duck Research Pier is already public property, why not locate a public beach access there instead of continuing to terrorize private property owners? Can you imagine being constantly hounded because some idiot wants to be able to use your private property that you bought, paid for, is deeded to you (the Appeals Court ruling explains how this is true), and you’re taxed on, any time he wants?

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 7:55 am
  • lippy

    Duck has multiple MSDs tacked onto homeowner’s to pay for beach renourishment, in addition to their property taxes.
    Hovey’s business, and all the other businesses in Duck, DO NOT pay MSDs for beach renourishment…it’s all on the backs of homeowners.
    I say tack MSD’s on ALL businesses in Duck, to include Hovey’s and let him pay his fair share.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 8:15 am
  • Ray

    Wow ! It’s now petty to fight for the rights of peoples to sensibly access public property that there tax dollars paid for , but it’s not petty to try to restrict the public’s access to publicly funded, public property . As well if you followed the story Karen , and the facts , you would know Mr Hoveys property is Not oceanfront or even close , there is no public land to access from his property , but you seem to parade your ignorance .

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 9:10 am
  • Anonymous

    There is no right of appeal in this matter as no appellate judge dissented from the opinion. There is only a right to petition for discretionary review by the N.C. Supreme Court. In these type of petitions, the Supreme Court can elect to review the case or it can do nothing. If the Supreme Court elects not to review the matter, the appellate ruling stands.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 11:50 am
  • Surf123

    What does it take for those questioning the ruling that private property truly is private and the public has no right to access or cross over it? I’m not even remotely close to the ocean but have the full expectation that no one will trespass, which is what it is. Why buy property and a home if anyone else can use it as they see fit.

    Assume he was allowed to trespass. Should we install a bench in case tires and maybe a shower, foot wash and lights. He’s got nothing other than legal fees and a lawyer who is nice enough to take every penny.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 1:47 pm
  • Anonymous, too

    Thanks, anonymous. More info from a recent year at the NC Supreme Court just to see how this likely plays out… Out of 161 civil Petitions to the NC Supreme Court for Discretionary Review, only 9 in which the Appellate Court ruling was unanimous (like this case) were granted. That’s only a 5.6% chance that the NC Supreme Court will even review this case at all.

    Essentially, the Court of Appeals, for all practical purposes, is the final level of review for a civil case in North Carolina.

    Saturday, Apr 10 @ 1:58 pm
  • The Wall

    Ok …. so now the Town of Duck needs to step up and DO the right thing. For the “benefit of the public” the town could exercise it’s broad powers of “Eminent Domain” and TAKE the beach access property at the end of each road in the town. Each road would then terminate with a public access walkway to the beach. No vehicle parking of course, but people could walk or bicycle to any road and get access to the “public” beach. All in the name of “protecting the public’s interest” How about that idea folks?

    Sunday, Apr 11 @ 8:49 pm
  • sandflea

    Karen sounds just like a Karen.
    The Wall has a valid, good solution.
    Tax the hell out of Duck beach front owners and they can pay for their own beach nourishment. They should receive NO funding of any kind from any gov’t sources if the public can’t have access to a “public beach”. I, for one am going to boycott Duck.

    Monday, Apr 12 @ 10:31 am
  • Sun and Sand

    @The Wall, Duck looked into that option. In their 2020 Comprehensive and CAMA Land Use Plan Report, The Town of Duck stated the following:

    1) Legislation passed at the state level specifically omits the language necessary to enable the Town to condemn land for public beach access.

    2) Infringement on Homeowners Associations covenants and/or deed restrictions is extremely infeasible, legally.

    I read the Appellate Court ruling. It’s clear that Hovey wants to be able to use the HOA’s private property beach access for his business customers and his vacation home’s renters. Why doesn’t he do what the 3 Appellate Court Judges suggest and negotiate the terms of use with the HOA, or any other HOA in Duck for that matter? For example, he could buy a use easement from a HOA that allows for the specific use of their beach access by himself, his family, and his renters and business customers.

    Monday, Apr 12 @ 10:55 am
  • boater

    @sandflea has a good idea. Duck’s rental property owners should just stop paying Dare County’s occupancy tax (1/3 of which goes to partially fund beach nourishment projects throughout Dare County) and just keep that money in Duck to fund any future beach nourishment projects. They’d probably end up ahead on that deal given the fact that Duck’s population soars from under 400 in the off season to about 22,000 in the summer. It’s almost all vacation rentals. The added bonus is that any beach nourishment would be 100% funded by Duck instead of the current 50%, so the whiners can quit complaining.

    Monday, Apr 12 @ 1:08 pm
  • Surf Buddy

    Mr. Hovey, I sure hope your attorney isn’t playing you for a fool given the above statistics.

    Wednesday, Apr 14 @ 8:51 pm