North Topsail Beach Moratorium Fails

On Wednesday, May 13, a Public Hearing of the North Topsail Beach Board of Aldermen was held to receive citizens’ comments on enacting a moratorium on building homes with more than six bedrooms.The hearing generated significant public comment, with BASE and the overwhelming majority of citizens present speaking in opposition of the proposal. The public comments stressed the importance of preserving property rights, room occupancy tax revenue from vacation rentals, and revenue from constructing the houses. BASE reminded the Board of SL2011-286 which prohibits the enactment of moratoria “for the purpose of developing and adopting new or amended plans or ordinances as to residential uses.” North Topsail Beach’s “need for additional development of regulations” through a moratorium is clearly inconsistent with the statute.

After 40 minutes of discussion, a motion was made to amend the proposal to establish a 60 day moratorium on building houses with more than seven bedrooms AND more than 5000 square feet.

After deliberation and calling the issue to vote, the Board of Aldermen:

-FAILED to pass the motion to enact a 60 day moratorium on building houses with more than seven bedrooms and more than 5000 square feet (one dissenting vote of four members present).

Many citizens agreed with the Board that trash, limited parking, and crowding are problems in the community, but suggested that they be solved as individual issues instead of halting development to fix them. The Board voted at the end to address these issues in the next Planning Board meeting in June.

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