Local News

Battle brewing over Topsail dunes

Posted July 8, 2015 7:04 p.m. EDT

— Jeff James is building a new home for Bill and Francis Moore on Topsail Beach.

The Moores had a beach house sitting on the exact spot when it was wiped out by storms in the 1980s. For more than three decades, the family has paid their property taxes and waited patiently for the beach to return to a build-able condition.

"They want their house back, and there's no reason why they can't have their house back, and I'm going to make sure they get their house back," James said.

James has all the proper permits, however the town is considering changing some rules to limit further development.

Commissioners will meet on Wednesday night to discuss changing driveway and parking requirements for new homes in the area, and adding a requirement that builders not flatten dunes under the homes for parking.

Landowners like the Moores feel betrayed, but others agree with the change.

"It's a very precarious piece of land," said homeowner Randy Avrem, of Durham. "When you start messing with it, it becomes more precarious."

"If I could stop it, it would have already been stopped," Topsail Beach commissioner, Julian Bone said.

Bone said about 30 lots along a thin strip of dunes have turned into a target for builders.

"The last six years we have spent $24 million on our beach," he said. "Why do we want someone to haul it off in dump trucks? It is just crazy."