The Onslow County Board of Commissioners and the North Topsail Beach Board of Aldermen have scheduled a joint special meeting next week to discuss the town’s desire for money from county occupancy tax coffers to pay for beach nourishment.
The meeting is set for 10 a.m. Tuesday in the commissioners’ chambers at the Onslow County Government Center, 234 NW Corridor Blvd., Jacksonville. No action is to be taken during the meeting.
The session is a follow-up to a discussion earlier this year about the county providing North Topsail Beach financial help with beach nourishment.
According to the county’s public notice, the county and North Topsail Beach boards are meeting to discuss tourism funding and the appropriate use of funds from the county’s room tax and a dune restoration project at the county beach access No. 4 at 484 New River Inlet Road, across from the town park.
North Topsail Beach in March put in place paid parking at all town-controlled parking areas to collect revenue to pay for regular beach maintenance and nourishment. Failure to pay the $5 hourly or $25 daily parking fee can result in a $50 fine.
For decades, Onslow County has provided free public beach accesses in North Topsail Beach and distributed funding from county tourism revenues to offset the town’s costs for providing beach parking. The town’s move to charge for parking led to a dispute over its use of these funds to pay rent for parking areas in which the town was charging for parking.
Adding to the tension between town and county officials, North Topsail Beach had not included in its dune restoration plan the dune area in front of a county beach access. County officials applied to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for a separate dune restoration permit for that area, but FEMA responded that the entire North Topsail Beach project was to be covered under a single contract.