North Topsail Beach will begin serving alcohol at 10 a.m. Sunday and the approval of the CAMA Land Use Plan has been postponed for a couple of seasons.
These issues and more were discussed Wednesday night at the town's Board of Aldermen meeting, which covered nearly two hours and had a few people speak up with their opinions.
To find out more about each agenda item, see how they voted below.
• A presentation about a rescue tube project was brought to the board. The cost was estimated at $90 per beach access to add a rescue tube, which someone could throw to a person in danger rather than putting themselves in danger, too. The town’s attorney voiced concerns over liability and possible lawsuits, so the board asked the town’s attorney and manager to look into the idea.
• The suggested updates to the CAMA Land Use Plan included deleting a section that prohibits rezoning conservation classified areas as well as other changes and updates. The aldermen agreed they would prefer more time to look over the updates and procure more information about them after hearing feedback from residents. The board voted to postpone approving changes and to continue workshops before opening another public hearing. The next time the changes could be made would be in the spring.
• The board approved adopting the brunch bill, which now allows the sale of malt beverages, unfortified wine, fortified wine, and mixed beverages as early as 10 a.m. on Sundays.
Vote: Aldermen Don Harte, Richard Peters, Joann McDermon, and Dick Macartney voted yes; Alderman Walter Yurek voted no.
• The board approved adding an additional $72,490 to the town’s fiscal year budget. Of the total, $16,190 will go toward updating the IT system, which is currently in danger of losing data if the servers are hit by lightning or sustain a serious attack. The rest of the money, $56,300, will go toward renovating Town Hall and the Police Department after a longstanding mold problem caused by humidity. The money, which will be pulled from the sales of surplus land, will also help fund a dehumidifying system to prevent the deterioration from occurring in the future.
• A new weekly fee of $60 has been added to the town’s Permissible Driving Area permit to be a median ground for vacationers who want to drive onto the beach. Permits were previously only available for one day for $20 or one year for $100. The board also approved a penalty for those who don’t first obtain permits as a way to deter people from constantly going against it. The penalty will now be double permit fees plus a $200 fine.
• The decision on how to make the Grant Street access more user-friendly for kayakers was postponed so the town’s attorney can find out if there are any potential legal issues with the proposed ideas.
• The board authorized the town to perform an estimated $75-to-100 title search for a property on 22nd Street to find out who owns it. A property owner requested a public beach access crossover be made at that area but ownership of the land has to be established before moving forward.
Reporter Amanda Thames can be reached at 910-219-8467 or Amanda.Thames@JDNews.com