UPDATE: Emerald Isle case could be heard by NC Supreme Court

EMERALD ISLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A couple with a home in Emerald Isle wants the North Carolina Supreme Court to hear their ocean-front property case against the town.

The court issued its decisions on petitions to the court for the justices to consider on Friday, but did not take rule on the couple’s petition. An attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, representing Greg and Diane Nies, says it was only the first chance for them to have the court to decide.

The case originated over the use of dry sand between the couple’s home and the ocean. Attorney David Breemer says the town is using that land that belongs to the couple.

“The problem is that the town thinks it is a road now, it’s a beach highway,” said Breemer in a phone interview with WNCT. “They drive garbage trucks. They drive ATVs. They drive police vehicles, bulldozers, anything they want really and park on it.  This is not town property it is the Nies’ property.”

The town’s attorney, Brian Edes, told WNCT last year that statutes allow the town to regulate beach driving. He said part of having beach patrol drive on the sand puts first responders where they might be needed.

Breemer said the couple is looking for compensation.

“The Nies and Pacific Legal Foundation want the town to follow the Constitution,” said Breemer. “Pay for what you’ve taken and if you continue to use or want to continue to use it then you need to buy the whole thing.”

In November, the North Carolina Court of Appeals sided with a lower court and ruled against the couple.

Read the court’s opinion on Nies v Town of Emerald Isle

In the court’s opinion, it said the couple argued the town made it impossible to use the dry sand portion of their property. The opinion said the couple retains full sue and rights of the majority of it and the town had the right to drive over the portions before the couple bought the property.

The North Carolina Supreme Court could also pick this case to hear in March.

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