Carolina Beach grants Freeman Park passes to some property owners for free

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 3:15 PM EDT
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CAROLINA BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - Do property owners at Oceana and Spinnaker Pointe in Carolina Beach have property claims to the Freeman Park Beach Access? That’s the question we asked last year.

Now, thanks to public records, WECT has found out that property owners in both subdivisions are getting Freeman Park passes free of charge. It’s a big deal since prices for passes have steadily increased over the years, and property records show that the owners of Oceana and Spinnaker Pointe are guaranteed access and use of the land.

Last year, after searching through property records and deeds dating back decades, it was determined the land the town claims as its own — the spot where the entrance to Freeman Park is located — has been challenged by some people in the past.

Records indicate that property at the entrance was owned by property owners at Spinnaker Pointe and Oceana, and then the town was granted easements to use the land by each property owners association. But according to deeds, that land was the individual property owner’s land, not the land of the HOA to give away.

After searching the town’s public email terminal, documents show in March, the town decided to start issuing free passes to property owners in both neighborhoods.

“We have agreed to issue Freeman Park passes to property owners of Oceana and Spinnaker Point. The property owners will need to still submit the required paperwork and go through the normal process except for payment. Attached is a list of owners of both developments so we can cross-check them,” an email from Town Manager Bruce Oakley reads.

The town previously declined interviews on Freeman Park ownership and referred any questions to an attorney, but Oakley did provide a comment on the issuing of free passes to these residents.

“When Oceana Limited Partnership deeded the Town the property which now serves as the entrance to Freeman Park, the rights of the Oceana and Spinnaker Point owners associations to use and enjoy the property as common area were reserved. This year, for the first time, members of those HOA’s requested they be provided vehicle passes. This request was deemed to be consistent with the rights reserved,” Oakley said.

So far, there have been a total of 28 free passes issued to residents there.

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