Court of Appeal rules on golf course redevelopment dispute brought by HOA

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WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) – Development seems to be all over southeastern North Carolina, and as land becomes scarce, some developers have turned to reclaiming golf course fairways and turned into alleys. This is what happened with the Masonboro Country Club golf course located in The Cape subdivision.

Owners and the neighborhood homeowners association were dismayed when they found out the course was closing following damage from Hurricane Florence in 2018, so they took legal action against the course owner. That lawsuit went all the way to the North Carolina Court of Appeals, and the judges ruled, at least in part, in favor of the HOA.

The court ruling says a New Hanover County judge erred in granting summary judgment to the golf course owner who claimed he had an express easement to use neighborhood streets and dismissed the ruling to court for annulment.

Hurricane Florence devastated the Cape Fear area and caused billions of dollars in damage to the state, but for the owners of The Cape, a subdivision in the southern part of New Hanover County, the storm caused not only physical damage, but HOA President Bill Conley. said, caused a rift in the community.

“We lost the sense of community because all the amenities left when the golf course closed. The pool had already been demolished, the clubhouse had already been demolished, everything had to be restored, and it was never done,” he said.

They quickly discovered that plans to redevelop the land were underway and understandably they had concerns.

Neighbors wanted a say in what would be built and its impact on the neighborhood as a whole, and developers claim they had easements that would allow unimpeded use of neighborhood streets without having to maintain them.

“Our concern was not road compensation. Ours is what they were going to build, how they were going to build it, and how it would impact flooding in the neighborhood,” Conley said.

When the lawsuit was filed, the HOA argued that the developers had no right to use the roads in the neighborhood with the easements originally granted when the neighborhood was built.

“A key issue that has been argued is that the Cape Roads belong to Cape HOA and we are communicating that we were unwilling to give permission under the current circumstances to use our roads unless we were able to achieve the agreement, the negotiations of which have led nowhere. ,” he said.

A lawyer for the owner declined to comment for this story, and there is no timeline yet as to when the Superior Court will hear the case again.

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