Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ocean Front in Wrightsville Beach Do You Own the Ocean?

For much of North Carolina’s history, the rights of oceanfront property owners have been loosely defined. This was due in part to the slow pace of development of much of the state’s
oceanfront shoreline. Consequently, there were fewer opportunities for conflict between oceanfront property owners, the state and the general public. All that changed in the past 50
years, the barrier islands and ocean beaches have seen a marked increase in development. This has occurred in conjunction with severe erosion caused by hurricanes, nor’easters, sea level rise and man-made activities, such as dredging and building jetties. The waters of the Atlantic now are lapping at the foundations of million-dollar oceanfront homes, condominiums, hotels and businesses.

 As a general common law rule, when natural cycles and processes result in additions (accretions) to the beach, the increase belongs to the oceanfront owner to whose shoreline
the accretions adhere; if the cycles result in erosion of the shoreline, then the oceanfront owner sustains the loss. In other words, the oceanfront property owner’s boundary is never fixed, but is always a shifting, ambulatory boundary line — moving as the natural process changes the shoreline.

So when buying that Million Dollar View in Wrightsville Beach or anywhere on the coast remember your lot could increase or decrease.

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