In an order issued earlier today, the NC Supreme Court dismissed the Nies case against the Town of Emerald Isle. As a result of this dismissal, the November 2015 opinion of the NC Court of Appeals is now the definitive law on public beach access in Emerald Isle, and everywhere in North Carolina. The Town is pleased with the Court's decision, which clarifies the public's historical and continuing right to use the dry-sand beach (from the base of the dunes to the water) everywhere in North Carolina.
The Town greatly appreciates the hard work of its legal team, led by Attorney Brian Edes (of Crossley, McIntosh, Collier, Hanley, & Edes, PLLC - Wilmington, NC) and Retired Special Deputy Attorney General Allen Jernigan, the support of the North Carolina League of Municipalities, and numerous State and local officials and agencies that supported the Town's case, including Governor Pat McCrory's administration, Governor-Elect Roy Cooper (as Attorney General), the NC Coastal Resources Commission, and every oceanfront county and municipality in North Carolina. The Town was also supported by many other business, tourism, and environmental organizations committed to public beach access, including the NC Travel and Tourism Coalition, the NC Vacation Rental Managers Association, the NC Coastal Federation, the NC Wildlife Federation, the NC Association of County Commissioners, the NC Beach Buggy Association, the Surfrider Foundation, the NC Beach-Inlet-and-Waterway Association, and Graham Kenan Professor of Law Emeritus Joseph Kalo.
The NC Supreme Court's dismissal represents a victory for the Town of Emerald Isle in this specific case; however, it represents a much more important victory for current and future generations of North Carolina residents and visitors who will continue to enjoy the ocean beach experience and build lasting family memories along our beautiful coastline.