Courts in North Carolina has been battling over whether huge oceanfront structures, designed to host major gatherings and events, qualify as single-family homes. If so they would be subject to residential codes that regulate issues such as fire sprinkler requirements, egress, and ADA accessibility.

Recently, a three-judge state Court of Appeals reversed earlier lower court decisions and ruled that a 20,000-square-foot compound in the Outer Banks is actually three separate structures, reports JLC's Ted Cushman. The 24-room building, which rents for $10,000 a week in the off season and up to $41,000 a week during the peak summer beach season, was permitted as a single-family house; but neighbors Michael and Marie Long sued in 2014, asking the court to overturn the decision to give the go-ahead for construction. A state Superior Court sided with the county and homeowner. But now the appeals court has reversed the decision.

Because each of the three 5,000-square-foot modules of the compound are equal in size, none can be considered an "accessory structure," the court reasoned; therefore, each must be considered a principal structure, the court ruled.

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