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Emerald Isle's Fight to Preserve the Public's Right to Use the Beach Continues to the NC Supreme Court 


Please view News Articles "California Attorney Seeking to Limit Public Use of NC Beaches Misleads the Public; His Comments to the Court Reveal True Issues in Case”  and "Guest Column by Nies Attorney – August 10, 2016 Carteret County News-Times – Nies v Emerald Isle”

The case of Nies v. Emerald Isle will be considered by the NC Supreme Court later this year, and the Court's decision could have a profound impact on the public's use of beaches everywhere in North Carolina in the future. 

The ultimate question in this case is whether the public has a right to use the dry-sand beach in North Carolina.  As argued by the Town's attorneys (the Town's brief can be viewed at ), the Plaintiffs contend the public does not have the right to use the dry-sand beach adjacent to their beach house.  Plaintiffs claim that the public is only entitled to use the wet-sand beach.  No North Carolina Court has ever held that an oceanfront property owner has the right to exclude the public from the dry sand beach. If all North Carolina oceanfront property owners took Plaintiffs' position, the dry-sand beaches of North Carolina would be effectively closed to the public.  This would make it extremely difficult, if not impossible, for the public to enjoy the beach for traditional recreational activities that have occurred on the beach for centuries. 

The Town maintains that NC law clearly allows the public to use the entire flat, dry-sand beach area up to the base of the dunes.  The entire 300+ miles of North Carolina's beaches, in all 8 oceanfront counties and all 21 oceanfront municipalities, have been used by the public and managed with this understanding for centuries.  The NC Superior Court and the NC Court of Appeals have both already ruled in the Town's favor, upholding the long-established and universally-accepted policy and law in North Carolina that the public has the right to use the beach from the base of the dunes to the water.  The NC Supreme Court will now consider this case, and they will make the definitive ruling on this issue.

The Town of Emerald Isle is committed to the principle of public beach access, and has been fighting diligently since this case was initiated in 2011 to defend the public's right to use the entire beach --- wet-sand and dry-sand, between the base of the dunes and the water.  The Town is committed to public beach access in all forms, for enjoyment by all people, for various recreational pursuits.  The Town recognizes that different people enjoy different recreational activities on North Carolina beaches, including sunbathing, swimming, surfing, surf fishing, walking, running, driving, playing volleyball / bocce ball / cornhole / other beach games, flying kites, observing wildlife, and so on and so on.  All of these activities rely to some degree on the public's use of the flat, dry-sand beach, and simply cannot occur solely from the wet-sand beach.  If the NC Supreme Court overturns the NC Court of Appeals ruling, all of these activities are in jeopardy.  The Town also recognizes the paramount importance of unhindered beach access in order to provide critical water rescue and emergency medical assistance when called upon, and the need for reasonable regulations on the beach strand to protect the health, safety, and welfare of everyone on the beach. 

An adverse ruling in this case would have a devastating impact on all coastal communities and the State as a whole.  If the public is no longer entitled to use the dry-sand beach, how desirable is it for a vacationer to rent a 2nd row home or another interior home?  What does that do the North Carolina tourism economy?  What impact does that have on our restaurants and shops that rely on millions of annual visitors to our beaches?  What impact does that have on all NC coastal property values and the coastal real estate market?  Where will people who live in mainland Carteret County or mainland New Hanover County, etc. enjoy the beach experience --- is that not why many people on the mainland choose to live in relative close proximity to the beach?  What kind of message will it send to the rest of the country as those families are planning their future beach vacations, second home purchase, or retirement destination - will it create a perception that "North Carolina's beaches are private, so we don't want to be there"?

Beyond the drastic economic impacts, what about the ability of our dedicated volunteers to relocate sea turtle nests that require a dry-sand beach in order to hatch successfully?  What about the need for emergency services personnel to travel safely and quickly along the beach strand to rescue those in need?  What about the ability for other personnel to remove debris and keep the beach clean and beautiful for all to enjoy?  What about aging and disabled individuals who no longer have the ability to walk on the beach, and need to use a vehicle to access the beach and enjoy the amazing beach experience in the fall and winter months?  What about the thousands of surf fishermen who treasure the opportunity to "land the big one" from the beach strand?  It is human nature to focus first on our own personal form of enjoyment of the beach, but the reality is that everyone's ability to enjoy the beach is what makes the beach experience so special for North Carolinians and the millions of visitors who choose to spend their time and money in North Carolina each year.

The entire North Carolina beach experience is at stake in this case, and the NC Supreme Court's decision could impact all of us in the future.  The Town of Emerald Isle, our legal team, State government, other coastal local governments, and many other groups are fighting hard to preserve the public's right to use the beach in North Carolina for current and future generations, in the same way that prior generations have before us.

To view the NC Court of Appeals ruling, the Town's brief submitted to the NC Supreme Court earlier this week, and several amicus briefs submitted in support of the Town's position, please visit . 



Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Tuesday, September 6, 2016 7:00:00 PM

Hermine On The Way Out; No Issues in Emerald Isle Sunday and Labor Day Expected to Be Beautiful! 

The center of Hermine passed just north of Emerald Isle around 3 am Saturday, and is now approaching the Outer Banks area.  The rain has mostly ended, with only light sprinkles that should end by mid-morning.  Windy conditions are expected throughout the day, with winds of approximately 20 mph gradually winding down throughout the afternoon and evening.  The forecast for Sunday and Monday is beautiful, with high temperatures in the mid 80s, lower humidity, and sunny conditions both days.

Fortunately, there are no issues in Emerald Isle resulting from Hermine.  The maximum winds were in the 30 - 35 mph range overnight, and total rainfall at the Town government complex was 4.1 inches.  There are no significant nuisance flooding issues, and no known power outages.

Enjoy what looks to be a beautiful rest of the Labor Day weekend in Emerald Isle!

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Saturday, September 3, 2016 6:28:00 AM

Carteret County Sheriff’s Office warns of “Jury Duty” scam 

The Carteret County Sheriff’s Office is warning people about jury duty scam.

A caller posing as a Carteret County Deputy has been accused of calling unsuspecting victims claiming they have missed jury duty in Carteret County and a warrant has been issued for their arrest. The caller will then request your personal information and attempt to confirm your address. The caller’s demeanor will be authoritative and persistent.

The caller will then attempt to get his victims to wire money and he will "take care" of the warrant by paying this fine. The caller will further attempt to convince you to proceed to a local business and purchase Green Dot Prepaid Cards in the amount of the stated fine.

Detectives warn to be suspicious whenever you're told you can only pay for something using a Green Dot Prepaid Cards. Getting these calls in general should act as a red flag because the Carteret County Sheriff's Office will never call you over the phone to request money for a fine.

If you have missed jury duty, a judge will issue a show cause order with a date to appear in court. If anyone attempts to gain money or your personal information simply hang up the phone and report the matter to your local law enforcement agency.





You can now text your Crime Stoppers Tip to (252) 241-0946

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Wednesday, August 31, 2016 3:26:00 PM

Emerald Isle Fortunate to Be Served by Outstanding Police Department 

The Emerald Isle Police Department, led by Chief Jeff Waters, continues to provide excellent service to our residents, property owners, and visitors.  EIPD staff work hard to proactively patrol our neighborhoods, prevent and solve crimes, build relationships with the community, and respond to emergency calls as quickly as possible, all in a highly professional manner.  In the wake of recent Police tragedy and criticism in our country, all of us at the Town of Emerald Isle are reminded of how fortunate we are to have the dedicated and outstanding service of each officer in the EIPD.

Current full-time members of the Emerald Isle Police Department include:

Chief Jeff Waters, serving EIPD since 1985

Major Tony Reese, serving EIPD since 2000

Captain Paul Cheshire, serving EIPD since 1994

Lieutenant Bill Bailey, serving EIPD since 1991

Sergeant Nick Gottuso, serving EIPD since 2002 (previous service from 1995-2000)

Sergeant David Ketchum, serving EIPD since 2004

Sergeant Mark Odom, serving EIPD since 2006

Sergeant Clayton Pittman, serving EIPD since 2009

Investigator Sandra DeLorme, serving EIPD since 2007

Officer Tyler Biskup, serving EIPD since 2009

Officer Truitt Blalock, serving EIPD since 2010

Officer Kerry Caldwell, serving EIPD since 2015

Officer Tom Duty, serving EIPD since 2014

Officer Tim Long, serving EIPD since 1988

Officer Bill Morris, serving EIPD since 2013

Officer Bobby Reeves, serving EIPD since 2011

Officer Jacob Smith, serving EIPD since 2014.

Current reserve members of the Emerald Isle Police Department include:

Officer Jonathan Barratt, serving EIPD since 2014

Officer Christopher Burroughs, serving EIPD since 2014

Officer Brian Probst, serving EIPD since 2016

Officer Kenny Castro, serving EIPD since 2016

Officer Jeffrey Edgerton, serving EIPD since 2016

Officer Ashley Gilley, serving EIPD since 2016

Officer Ronnie Hall, serving EIPD since 2013

Officer David Halsey, serving EIPD since 2014

Officer Amin Lopez, serving EIPD since 1999

Officer Jessica Newman, serving EIPD since 2014

Officer Christina Norman, serving EIPD since 2013

Officer Mike Panzarella, serving EIPD since 2015

Officer Tony Romano, serving EIPD since 2013

Officer Craig Shafer, serving EIPD since 2015

Officer Richard Sherin, serving EIPD since 2015.

Support staff in the Emerald Isle Police Department include:

Records Administrator Julie O'Neil, serving since 2015

Customer Service Assistant Charlie Rock, serving since 1999

Customer Service Assistant Peter Rybak, serving since 2008

Customer Service Assistant Carol Wendt, serving since 2012.

Please take a moment to express your thanks to our officers the next time you see them!  


Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Monday, August 1, 2016 8:43:00 AM

New Grocery Store Proposed for Emerald Isle 


Plans for a proposed new grocery store will be considered by the Planning Board and the Board of Commissioners at multiple meetings in August and September.  The new 31,000+ sq. ft. store is proposed for vacant parcels (6+ acres) located along NC 58 and Crew Drive between Emerald Landing Drive and the Emerald Plantation Shopping Center.  

The proposed project includes a change in the legal status of Crew Drive, but maintains public use of the Crew Drive roadway in perpetuity in the same location.  The applicants have proposed construction of a new, wider public roadway with curb and gutter, and also new sidewalks along Crew Drive and Emerald Landing Drive.  The proposed project also includes either the installation of a new traffic signal or roundabout at the NC 58 / Emerald Landing Drive intersection to address projected traffic impacts.

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Monday, August 1, 2016 7:41:00 AM

The Return of the Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival!  

Saturday, August 27 - 11 am - 5:30 pm - ON THE BEACH  

Western Ocean Regional Access

The Town is excited to bring back the iconic Emerald Isle event after a 17-year hiatus, and we hope everyone will join us in Emerald Isle for a great, late-summer party on the beach!  

The Basics

  • FREE admission!
  • Food trucks and vendors will be set up in the parking area of the Western Ocean Regional Access, so grab some lunch, snacks, and/or dinner at the festival!
  • Purchase your very own Emerald Isle Beach Music Festival t-shirt ($20, on sale at the gazebo). 
  • No tents or umbrellas are permitted within 100 ft. of the stage.  (We don't want you to block anyone's view! Make sure you bring your sunblock!)
  • Most important, have fun but BE SAFE - DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE!

Alcohol Policy

  • Beer and wine consumption is permitted on the beach strand only (must be 21 years old).
  • Consumption is not permitted in the upper areas (restrooms, volleyball courts, parking areas) of the Western Ocean Regional Access. 
  • Coolers may be transported through the upper areas of the Western Ocean Regional Access en route to the beach strand.
  • Liquor is prohibited.
  • No beer and wine will be sold on-site.


  • Parking is permitted along the grassy NC 58 right of way (similar to parking for the annual Emerald Isle St. Patrick's Festival), and visitors should make the short walk along Islander Drive to the Western Ocean Regional Access.  
  • If you are staying in Emerald Isle, we encourage you to walk along the beach to the Western Ocean Regional Access, or walk or ride a bike along the Town's multi-use path.
  • Handicapped parking only is available at the Western Ocean Regional Access.
  • Traffic will flow one-way on Islander Drive, Louise Avenue, and Boardwalk Avenue on the day of the festival.  Drop-offs are permitted along Islander Drive, but the driver must return to the NC 58 right of way to park. 

The Lineup

11:00                Sammy O'Banion, Master of Ceremonies and performing

11:30                Spare Change

12:30                Too Much Sylvia

1:30                  Jim Quick & Coastline

2:30                  The Fantastic Shakers

3:30                  Hip Pocket, with special guest Danny Woods, formerly of Chairmen of the Board

4:30                  The Tams 



Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Monday, August 1, 2016 7:00:00 AM

Special Public Input Meeting - 2016 Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan Update - Saturday, August 20 

Please Tell Us Your Thoughts on the Future of Emerald Isle - 

Special Public Input Meeting for Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan Update - Saturday, August 20

The Town's Steering Committee continues to work hard to update the Town's Comprehensive Plan / Land Use Plan.  The Town was fortunate to receive nearly 1,500 survey responses earlier this spring / summer, and is now seeking additional public input as we work to update the future vision for Emerald Isle.  

A special Public Input meeting is scheduled for Saturday, August 20 from 10 am - 1 pm in the Emerald Isle Community Center, Leisure Lane, adjacent to Town Board Meeting Room (7500 Emerald Drive) .  We welcome everyone's input at that meeting, which is designed to solicit more intimate comments and suggestions from our residents, property owners, and visitors.  

For more information, please contact Josh Edmondson, Town Planner, at 252-354-3338 or To stay in touch with the planning process, including versions of the Town's 2004 plan and the draft sections of the new 2016 plan, please visit . 

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Friday, July 29, 2016 4:30:00 PM

Neighborhood Watch Program Paying Off for EI! 

Thanks to diligent efforts by dedicated volunteers and the Emerald Isle Police Department, the Town's Neighborhood Watch program is paying off.  The program was implemented in January 2014, and has greatly enhanced public safety and fostered a greater sense of community throughout Emerald Isle.  The Neighborhood Watch program is a key part of the EIPD's overall emphasis on community relationships and education.  To read Chief Waters' statement on the Neighborhood Watch program, please visit

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Thursday, July 28, 2016 1:39:00 PM

Our Sea Turtle Statue Needs A Name… Enter Our Contest! 


Thanks to the Emerald Isle Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee, we have a beautiful bronze piece of art in the form of a sea turtle under the old oak tree at the Emerald Isle Welcome Center.

So… If you are 12 years old or younger, enter a turtle name along with your name, age, address, E mail, & phone number on an entry form at the Welcome Center, 8401 Emerald Drive.  The winning name will be decided on Labor Day. The lucky winner will receive a hand crafted Nantucket basket donated by local artist Ken Ambrose, and a check from the Emerald Isle Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee for $50.  Good luck!!

Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Tuesday, July 26, 2016 10:18:00 AM

Emerald Isle Makes List of Best Bargain Beach Towns Summer 2016 


A special report released by RealtyTrac® ranking the Best Bargain Beach Towns for Summer 2016 includes Emerald Isle near the top of the list!

and you'll also want to check out this related local article from the Jacksonville Daily News -


Posted by Rhonda Ferebee Wednesday, July 13, 2016 6:00:00 PM
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