Nags Head real estate agent Roc Sansotta has been battling the town of Nags Head for five years. This month, the town called a truce: after years of trying to condemn six beachfront homes where the advancing ocean was eroding the beach, Nags Head agreed to instead buy out the owners.
The Virginian-Pilot describes the final chapter here (see: "Nags Head settles suit over battered beach homes," by Jeff Hampton). "Six damaged oceanfront homes will be removed following a settlement between the owners and the Town of Nags Head. All appeals, lawsuits and pending civil penalties will be dropped, said Mayor Bob Edwards in a statement."
The case dates back to a 2009 storm that damages the six beach houses and strewed debris down the beach, reports the Outer Banks Voice (see: "Seagull Drive legal saga finally ends with a $1.5 million deal," by Rob Morris). "Roc Sansotta sued the town in 2010 after Nags Head declared the row of houses on Seagull Drive an obstruction to public access and emergency vehicles. A storm in 2009 heavily damaged the houses and scattered concrete septic tanks, pipes, wires and lumber across the beach. During storms and high tides, the ocean swept under the houses until beach nourishment offered some promise that they could be salvaged. But the ocean is once again encroaching on the structures because Great Lakes Dredge and Dock had to work around them while pumping sand onto the beach in the summer of 2011."
Roc Sansotta won a key decision in federal court last November, as the Virginian-Pilot reported at the time (see: "Nags Head loses 5-year battle over damaged homes," by Jeff Hampton). "The U.S. District Court for eastern North Carolina issued a decision that the homes can stay on the beach and can be repaired," the paper reported. But the homes were dilapidated and damaged, the paper reported: "Decks are uneven and missing stairs. Windows are broken. Thieves have taken appliances, air conditioning units and copper pipe. Broken or missing siding exposes insulation. Despite the disrepair, the homes stand firm, with pilings going down into the sand more than 20 feet."
The beach renourishment work had made repairs practical for some of the houses, and some work was accomplished. But while neither side admits losing the legal battle, in the end it was the ocean that won: All six homes will now be torn down.