The Topsail Beach Board of Commissioners has made the decision to postpone any changes to the town’s paid parking system until further notice. The decision comes after four months of discussion, planning for different scenarios, and soliciting public feedback for parking systems to be used for the beach, sound side, and public access lots.
As a result of the Commissioner’s decision, the Town of Topsail Beach remains among the few locations in the Topsail region not requiring community-wide paid parking for residents and visitors.
We should note, the paid parking system that has already been implemented at Serenity Point (on the Southern end of Topsail Island) will remain in effect, and that data from that system was used in the community’s decision-making process.
Serenity Point Parking Lot Data
Topsail Beach Board of Commissioners worked with Otto Connect, the facilitator of the paid parking system in use at Serenity Point, for historical data as well as their input.
In 2022, Serenity Point’s 27-vehicle lot contributed $83,306 in revenue to the Town of Topsail Beach. Additional considerations were raised for Commissioners as they also heard evaluated expanding the system to cover more than 400 parking spaces throughout the community.
Area Residents Submitted a Petition in Opposition
A public petition was submitted to the Board of Commissioners by Nancy Thomason and Penny Burrell after it had accumulated 177 signatures in opposition of the proposed changes. Among several key points, the petition suggested that “paid parking would put a financial burden on residents as they would have to purchase a parking pass…”
Next Steps for the Town of Topsail Beach
Pairing up paid parking data, public feedback and publicly holding several meetings as well as the hearing, the town decided to postpone any changes or expansions of their paid parking program.
While it is easy to see how the paid parking system could boost town revenue, there are costs to consider as well. Grading, clearing and establishing signage for the expansions were forecast to cost the town more than $163,000.
Residents of Topsail Beach’s southernmost neighborhoods did ask for the Town’s support in improving the Serenity Point area. Expressing concerns over camping, partying, and requesting an overnight parking ban – the primary issues are what’s happening between dusk and dawn.
In the upcoming Commissioners’ meeting, Topsail Beach staff will present two distinct ordinances for deliberation. The first ordinance would look to restrict overnight parking exclusively in the Serenity Point lot, while the second would focus on prohibiting overnight parking at beach access areas.