A split three-judge panel of the N.C. Court of Appeals affirmed a trial court ruling in a legal dispute between a coastal condo development north of Fort Fisher state park and the Coastal Resources Commission. The 48-unit development known as The Riggings ran afoul of the state commission in its efforts to prevent beach erosion. The trial court rejected the commission’s decision to deny a variance for the condos and ordered a new hearing.

As Judge Robert N. Hunter Jr.’s majority opinion concludes:

With a rock revetment to the south, and depleted coquina formations to the north, The Riggings truly is caught between a rock and a hard place.  In this scenario, we must balance The Riggings’ private property interest with competing public interests to determine whether a variance is consistent with the “spirit, purpose, and intent” of CAMA’s framework.  Without a variance, The Riggings’ condos will likely be destroyed by erosion.  We believe this private property interest outweighs competing public interests.

In other opinions released this morning:

  • A unanimous three-judge panel vacated a lower-court order and allowed the state to proceed with murder charges in a Duplin County case of a man accused of shooting a pregnant woman and killing her 19-week-old unborn twins.
  • A unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a lower-court ruling denying the payment of attorney’s fees to a Durham man who successfully blocked his neighbor from turning her lot into two separate lots with two new homes. Appellate judges agreed with Durham that the city, its planning department, and its Board of Adjustment are not subject to the state law that would allow the man to collect attorney’s fees in the case.
  • A unanimous three-judge panel reversed a state Business Court ruling and will allow Time Warner to proceed with its lawsuit against the Town of Landis in a dispute over utility pole fees.
  • A unanimous three-judge panel affirmed a ruling from the N.C. Industrial Commission in a dispute involving worker’s compensation, attorney’s fees, and the City of Charlotte.