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New beach access fee frustrates some in North Topsail Beach

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NORTH TOPSAIL BEACH, Onslow County - North Topsail beachgoers will soon have to pay to use a portion of the beach - one where folks for years have been able to use for free.

The north end of Topsail Beach off River Road has long been a place that those with four-wheel drive vehicles would head to park for free. Starting July 10, you'll need a pass for that.

Becahgoer and local business owner Kim Nifong isn't a fan of the plan.

"I just feel like it's not gonna be a good thing and may hurt people in the area," said Nifong, who recently moved to the area to start a business.

North Topsail Beach Town Manager Stuart Turille said while the new pass system may be an inconvenience for some, it's a needed change.

"By charging a fee to what has previously been free, we hope to mitigate a lot of the peak demand traffic that affects the quality of life of the residents in the area," he said.

Residents with a "hurricane re-entry" sticker on their cars can still access the area for free.

Turille said it won't just be residents that benefit from the new $20 daily pass or $100 annual pass.

"We also think that by charging the fee, we'll reduce this traffic congestion that occurs at one peak time, so it'll improve the quality of the visit for those who are visiting as well," he said. "And that contributes to the overall enjoyment of the beauty of the island."

Get more information on the pass program on the North Topsail Beach town website, where beachgoers will be able to purchase the passes starting July 10.

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