Dare Will Now Classify Non-Resident Property Owners as Residents in Health Emergencies
The Dare County Board of Commissioners held a special meeting on Monday morning, July 6, to settle a lawsuit by agreeing to classify non-resident property owners as resident property owners in any future health emergencies.
The board first met in a closed session to consult with an attorney regarding the lawsuit in question, Bailey v. Dare County, which was filed in federal court after non-resident property owners were not allowed into the county during the COVID-19 quarantine that started in March. Access into the county was restricted to residents only from March 20 to May 4. The plaintiffs claimed that their Constitutional rights were violated when they were denied access to their properties.
In order to settle the matter without further litigation as the result of recent mediation, the commissioners voted unanimously following the closed session to re-classify non-resident property owners as residents, allowing them the same entry into the county as full-time residents, in future public health emergencies as defined by the World Health Organization. This new classification does not apply to other county emergencies, such as hurricanes.
As part of the approved settlement, Dare County also agreed to pay $16,500 in legal costs.
Dare County Manager Bobby Outten told the commissioners that the settlement is not an admission of fault or liability on behalf of the county.