Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Pender County shows support for DIY toll road on Cedar Avenue

When local groups implemented tolls on their neighborhood road, increasingly popular as a shortcut to the beach, they weren't just trying to raise money -- they were trying to get the NCDOT to make Cedar Avenue a publically maintained road.

Members of the neighborhood road maintenance organization elected to collect a toll for through traffic traveling to Surf City (Port City Daily photo/Michael Praats)
Members of the neighborhood road maintenance organization elected to collect a toll for through traffic traveling to Surf City. The plan, so far, has been a success. (Port City Daily photo/Michael Praats)

SURF CITY — The Pender County Board of Commissioners is showing its support for the group behind the impromptu toll road in Surf City, approving a resolution asking the state to take over ownership and maintenance of Cedar Avenue.

Last month members of the Creek Estates and Cedar Landing neighborhoods in Surf City decided to take matters into their own hands and crack down on non-residents using their privately maintained street as a shortcut. The groups decided to implement a toll.

The move divided members of the community with some calling the move illegal, and others supporting it. But contrary to the opinions of some, the Cedar Landing and Creek Estates Road Maintenance Organization (CL-CERMO) was not enforcing the toll just to make money. The group has been trying to convince the North Carolina Department of Transportation to take over ownership of the road and make it open to the public.

Jeff Conerly, one of the members of the CL-CERMO said, “We are very pleased with the support from the Pender County Commissioners with the resolution that is to pass today, June 18. Additionally, the Town of Surf City will be passing a supportive resolution in support of the County resolution. Over the past few years, we have met and stayed in touch with our Pender and Surf City officials to keep them abreast of the worsening situation. These actions by the county and Surf City are greatly appreciated and have already been reviewed with a member of the NC Board of Transportation for the Board’s consideration.”

The resolution from the county acknowledges the limited routes in and out of Surf City and the increased traffic over the last few years.

According to the resolution, “Over the last several years, traffic has sought out alternative routes to avoid or reduce their travel time going to Topsail Island. Several private roads that are maintained solely through homeowner’s associations have not been able to address or keep up with the traveling public utilizing them for these alternative purposes. A majority of them are still un-paved. This has led to a burden relating to maintenance as well as (the) safety of the residents and motorists attempting to use these routes. Specifically, the route from NC 210 utilizing Cedar Ave.”

The resolution also the benefits of having the NCDOT take over Cedar Avenue.

“As an alternative route to access the Island, Pender County feels that this could be a benefit for the existing citizens as well as the general public as a strategic collector street to reduce a portion of the burden along the existing NC routes in the area. Pender County is respectfully requesting the attention of our State Legislators as well as NCDOT to seek a solution to this long-term issue to benefit the region and assure a safe and efficient transportation system,” the resolution concludes.

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