The Town of North Topsail Beach will be implementing “Paid Parking” at all town-controlled parking lots effective March 1, 2021. Parking on side streets will be prohibited unless specifically designated as a paid area.
Paid parking has been under consideration by the town’s Board of Aldermen for a number of years since the costs associated with beach maintenance have grown dramatically. In addition, exploding growth in the area has resulted in ever-increasing crowds at the area beaches with increased sanitation issues, water rescue demands, and police requirements. These costs have been borne by residents and property owners through property taxes, and by short term renters through Accommodations Taxes. None of these costs have been borne by day visitors.
The need for additional revenue became critical this year with the approval and funding of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Storm Damage Reduction Project. This $237 million initial project, designed to engineer a portion of the oceanfront and protect the beach for the next 50 years, required cost sharing to the tune of $3 million per year for North Topsail Beach. Paid parking, along with an effort to increase Accommodations Taxes, will help mitigate the tax impact of the project on our residents.
Parking in North Topsail Beach will be administered by Otto Connect, a Surf City company. Their “Surfcast” program will require the beachgoer have a smartphone, download their app, register their vehicle, and select a payment option. The plan will have hourly, daily, weekly, and annual rates, along with special rates for the 4X4 Beach Access at the north end of North Topsail Beach. Enforcement will be conducted using license plate scanning technology.
North Topsail Beach property owners will be able to register two vehicles for parking at no charge. Onslow County residents using town lots will be required to pay, but it should be noted that Onslow operates three beach accesses with parking lots within the boundaries of North Topsail Beach. These lots will remain “free” unless the County chooses to make a change.
Please check the town website for rates and details as the program is finalized over the next few weeks.