NC tourism group steps into Emerald Isle and homeowner’s legal case

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCT) – State tourism leaders filed a court brief on Thursday in the long legal battle between an Emerald Isle couple and the town, according to a release.

The North Carolina Travel and Tourism Coalition (NCTTC) and the North Carolina Vacation Rental Managers Association are siding with the town over the use of dry sand.

Greg and Diane Nies filed a suit years ago upset at the town’s use of the dry sand portion of their ocean front property. The couple’s attorney, David Breemer with the Pacific Legal Foundation, argued the couple needs to be compensated since the town allows garbage truck and other vehicles to “tear through” the property.

The town’s attorney said in the past that Emerald Isle always had the right to regulate beach driving according to a North Carolina statute.

The North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to hear the case following the couple’s petition.The North Carolina Court of Appeals sided with the town.

The NCTTC includes thirty members like VisitNC, the Crystal Coast Tourism Authority, the Carolina Panthers/Bank of America Stadium and the Carolina Hurricanes/PNC arena.

“If the public could no longer visit and relax on North Carolina’s beaches from the water’s edge to the sand dunes, then our coastal tourism would collapse,” said Coalition Chairman Rolf Blizzard, Vice President of Turnpike Properties, based in Winston-Salem. “This is a do-or-die issue for North Carolina’s economy and its regional, national, and global appeal. We hope the Supreme Court will uphold the public’s traditional right to use and enjoy our beaches.”

According to the Pacific Legal Foundation, the state Supreme Court has not set a date for arguments.

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