Monday, February 26, 2024

Topsail to move forward with additional paid parking lots

TOPSAIL BEACH — After multiple discussions and a workshop on the issue, Topsail Beach Board of Commissioners approved a preliminary plan for expanding its paid parking.

Staff indicated the additional revenue that could be brought in from allocating more parking spaces as paid would help offset its future list of infrastructure and capital improvements.

READ MORE: Topsail in favor of additional paid parking spaces, will vote next month

Ideas of exactly where and how to regulate parking have been tossed around, but commissioners unanimously approved moving forward with charging at 802 to 806 S. Anderson Boulevard, 814 to 816 Ocean Boulevard and 817 to 819 S. Anderson Boulevard.

One of the properties was purchased in 2003 for $214,000 and consists of 0.1 acre. The others, totaling 0.36 acres, were bought by the town over the last two years for a little over $1.5 million.

The areas are not set up at this time for parking, as they would require clearing, grading, gravel, curb stops and signage, town manager Doug Shipley confirmed. He also did not have a cost estimate or timeline for those expenditures.

As a result, the number of spaces that could fit on the collective properties also has not been determined.

While discussion in previous months centered mostly around implementing parking at the ocean-front public beach accesses, only two commissioners — Tim Zizack and John Gunter — voted for that motion, so it failed.

Commissioner Frank Braxton then made the motion to implement parking at what the town is calling the “tower lots.” He said it wouldn’t prohibit access to the ocean, which was his main concern for implementing paying for spots there.

“That makes us exclusive and will have a ripple effect,” Braxton said of enforcing paid parking for beach visitors.

The beach accesses would have comprised 174 spaces and bring in an estimated revenue of $61,000 to $120,000 annually for the town. The projections offered by Otto Connect, the parking vendor managing the town’s south end lot already, were net revenues, after it takes its 30% share.

A public hearing to hash out the remaining details is tentatively scheduled for March 30 at 5 p.m. at town hall, 820 S. Anderson Blvd.

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