This article was corrected at 11:30 a.m. Monday. The article previously reported Hollis Batson, Carol Batson, Lawrence Baldwin and Elizabeth Baldwin filed for a temporary restraining order against the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission and the N.C. Department of Transportation. However, due to an oversight by the reporter, the article didn’t mention this was for an extension of an existing restraining order signed March 3 by Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham. It has also been updated with additional events which have occurred since the article was first posted.
BEAUFORT — Several Down East Property owners received an extension to a restraining order against two state agencies working on utility lines for the proposed Harkers Island bridge replacement.
Hollis and Carol Batson, Lawrence and Elizabeth Baldwin and Baldwin-Batson Owners’ Association Inc. filed Feb. 28 with the Carteret County Clerk of Superior Court an application to extend a March 3 temporary restraining order, signed by Superior Court Judge Phyllis Gorham, against the N.C. Coastal Resources Commission and the N.C. Department of Transportation. After a hearing March 12, Superior Court Judge Charles Henry granted an extension of the existing restraining order until Monday.
The restraining order is related to three petitions filed July 3, 2019, by the Batsons and Baldwins, the third of which they filed jointly as an owners’ association. The property owners are seeking a hearing before an administrative law judge to contest a major Coastal Area Management Act permit for NCDOT to build a replacement bridge from the mainland to Harkers Island.
According to the temporary restraining order, the intent of the order has been to stop ongoing utility line work at the site of the proposed replacement bridge. The Batsons and Baldwins have alleged the proposed replacement bridge will affect their riparian rights, as well as have negative environmental effects on nearby Jane Creek.
The application for the temporary restraining order said its scope "is narrowly tailored to minimize any potential impacts to Respondent Coastal Resources Commission (CRC) and Respondent North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT).”
According to the restraining order, the NCDOT has been restrained from performing any further site preparation, staging, constructing, building or developing utility line work on the Harkers Island end of the proposed bridge replacement. It hasn’t, however, prevented work from continuing on the mainland end of the project.
NCDOT hasn’t been required to remove staged equipment and materials, except for any that were on portions of the Baldwin-Batson subdivision or “upon any portions of accreted lands as defined within (the) Petitioners’ Judicial Review Petitions.”
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