Neighbors opposed to proposed development on southern end of Topsail Island

Neighbors opposed to proposed development on southern end of Topsail Island
Published: Jan. 25, 2023 at 10:45 PM EST
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TOPSAIL BEACH, N.C. (WECT) - The overwhelming majority of comments about a proposed development at The Point, the southern end of Topsail Island, have not been in favor of the Topsail resident hoping to build a nearly 17-acre family compound.

“I think we’re all really disappointed,” one resident, Barry Moore, said.

Todd Olson is currently under contract to buy the nearly 150 acres of conservation area.

Many conservation areas are owned by state or federal agencies, but this particular property is privately owned by the McLeod Family, according to Olson’s application. The application also shows that the land is valued at just under $3 million.

Olson is planning on building a family compound with six homes, a pool, and beach shelter, just to name a few, but neighbors in Topsail Beach aren’t happy about it.

“It doesn’t matter if you develop a third of it or all of it, you’ve impacted the ecosystem, in a lot of ways, set aside the personal feelings of the humans, but you’re going to impact the ecosystem, no matter what you do,” Moore said. “I’m really disappointed, though, that a person would be willing to do it. And that if they change zoning, and ever does go through that it was successful, because today, I mean, they’re shutting down pieces of land large pieces, because a tiny fish that still exists somewhere, and not allowing farmers to farm in different parts of our country. And so, I would be really disappointed if something this pristine, is able to be developed. It does have a huge impact on the ground, for sure.”

Another resident, Michele Rivest, said, “That’s just a true treasure for thousands and thousands of people and home to wildlife. Where are they going to go, you know, when we crowd them out because of development?”

Other concerns include making sure that the remaining conservation acreage is untouched if Olson’s development plans are approved.

“If he’s sincere about conserving the beauty and the wilderness of the island, then we, we believe he should put that into a public land trust, you know, conserve it for all future develop future generations. So that there is no other possibility of more development, either by him as an owner, or that he sells that and then it’s open for broader development,” Rivest added.

Moore added that there is plenty of undeveloped land on other parts of the island that he believes Olson could develop for him and his family.

“There’re still old places, and there’s new places, but nobody is doing anything to The Point, we’re just letting The Point be The Point. And that’s what we love to see happen, you know, build along the ocean, build along Topsail Sound, there’s lots of places for you there. And take advantage of that and leave that little piece of land.”

Topsail Beach’s mayor, Steve Smith, said he’s heard from both sides, those for and against.

“I think we need to have the patience and the respect to listen to the information shouldn’t make sure we’re dealing with the facts and not the hearsay or rumors or half-truths that sometimes come out of a discussion that has this high emotion. We need to be tolerant of others as we listen to them,” Smith said. “We will work through this process. And I believe everybody will have an ample, ample amount of time to voice their opinions on how the town should proceed.”

The town’s planning board met Wednesday morning but did not make any decision. They are waiting for input from state and federal agencies.

Residents said they hope that Olson at least listens to their side of the argument. Olson did meet with neighboring residents last year but many of those residents said they were left with more questions than answers.

While Olson’s application was submitted in late December, the planning board is still reviewing the application and has not yet determined the application to be complete. Once the planning board hears back from other agencies and determines Olson’s application is complete, they have 65 days to make an official recommendation to the commissioners.

Olson’s application is attached below, or you can click here to read it.

WECT has reached out to Olson for comment but has not heard back.