Topsail Beach commissioners recently axed a consideration to place a four-month moratorium on dune permit issuances.


TOPSAIL BEACH | Topsail Beach commissioners recently axed a consideration to place a four-month moratorium on dune permit issuances.



Commissioners instead agreed to meet with the town’s planning board next week to discuss making changes to the town’s current dune permit ordinance, the rules of which are, in some instances, more restrictive than state permitting rules for oceanfront development, town officials say.



“We have an ordinance that’s kind of subjective at best,” planning board Chairman Frank Braxton said. “It’s not as clean as it needs to be. It’s confusing to us right now.”



Braxton said the planning board’s request for the moratorium was not meant to take away property owners’ rights, but rather “to make things right.”



Charles Riggs, a land surveyor from Jacksonville, said a moratorium would take building rights away from three property owners currently going through the permitting process. Those property owners, who plan to build at the southern end of town in a state-designated “Inlet Hazard Area” have already received Coastal Area Management Act minor permits to build.



The town’s dune ordinance requires such state permits to be obtained before the town will consider whether to issue a dune permit.



The N.C. Division of Coastal Management, which issues CAMA permits, does an “excellent job” at identifying oceanfront buildable lots, Riggs said.



Commissioner Julian Bone said the planning board needs the moratorium.



“All they’re asking for is some time to look at this thing,” he said.



He was the only commissioner to vote in favor of his motion to schedule a public hearing to discuss the moratorium.



Commissioners will meet with the planning board at 3 p.m. May 27 to specify whether they want to make the ordinance more or less restrictive and more clearly defined.