Ocean Ridge Plantation is a residential beach and golf club community in coastal North Carolina featuring four championship golf courses, world-class amenities and exquisitely designed homes. The moderate North Carolina coastal climate and abundance of coastal activities, including an oceanfront beach club, contribute to Ocean Ridge being a perennial award-winning community.
The Ocean Ridge Master Association, which is the property owners’ association for Ocean Ridge Plantation®, and the Ocean Ridge developer jointly selected Mark Hamlet, a respected lawyer with Hamlet & Associates, PLLC in Wilmington, NC, to mediate and finalize the lawsuit between the parties regarding overbilling of assessments by the owners’ association. The series of events leading to the lawsuit began when the governance of the association was turned over to board members elected by the property owners. Prior to turnover, the Ocean Ridge developer had contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the association, allowing it to build healthy reserves, and as allowed by North Carolina law, the restrictive covenants call for the developer to be exempt from property assessments. Unfortunately, after the association was turned over to board members elected by property owners, the exemption provision was overlooked, and developer companies managed by Mark Saunders were billed and paid for assessments on home sites they owned. To avoid any question of a statute of limitation defense, Saunders filed a lawsuit in Superior Court of Brunswick County, NC (16 CVS 2340) last year.
Mark Hamlet is certified by the North Carolina Dispute Resolution Commission as a mediator for NC court mediations and is a member of the New Hanover County and NC Bar Associations. He formed Hamlet & Associates, PLLC in May of 2012. Hamlet & Associates, PLLC assists parties in dispute to identify the issues that need to be resolved and guides them through the decision making process.
While the terms of the settlement, including the total sum paid, are confidential, the association did refund a portion of the assessments, and contributions also were received from insurance companies who were representing the parties involved. The association’s current and future budgets account for the developer’s recognized dues-exempt status.
“We have always had a cordial and productive working relationship with the association members, who are an important reason that Ocean Ridge Plantation® has thrived,” Saunders said, “and, while the lawsuit was unfortunate, it is good to get the issue resolved. We look forward to continuing to work with the association’s board of directors.”