NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH — As beach nourishment efforts continue in North Topsail Beach, the town is making sure there’s room on the beach for the construction work.
The town recently sent letters to oceanfront property owners to get easements for Phase 2 to 5 of the shoreline protection plans, which include all the town oceanfront south of the recently completed New River Inlet channel realignment project.
Town Clerk Carin Faulkner said about 700 letters went out June 22 and nearly 100 had been returned within the first week.
She said the town needs the easement documents to obtain access to portions of the dry beach where contractors may need to place equipment or do work related to beach nourishment. The access is only needed seaward of the dune, or from the toe of the dune to the high tide mark.
“We’re not taking property. It’s to allow use of a part of property for this type of activity,” Faulkner said.
The town did the same for Phase 1, the New River Inlet project, and is still going through the process though the inlet project was completed early this year.
Faulkner said the easements carry on beyond one project. For Phase 1, they were 30-year agreements, and phases 2-5 easements are perpetual agreements.
Legal notices were recently published in The Daily News and papers across the country advising of possible condemnation action for easement access against a number of property owners the town has never heard from.
Faulkner said no structures are being condemned.
Rather, she said, during the first easement process they ran into cases where land is now submerged and no longer privately owned. However, the town is legally required to use names that still exist on tax records.
In a couple of instances, she said, there has been no response to efforts to contact a property owner
Faulkner said they are still required to complete the legal process to ensure easement access.