Parking rates on the rise in Wrightsville Beach

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Submitted: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 3:59am
Updated: Thu, 03/20/2014 - 1:22pm

WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — As you pack that beach chair, sunglasses, and sunscreen make sure you include enough coins for parking meters because rates at Wrightsville Beach are going up.

The hours will remain the same, but the cost of going to Wrightsville Beach will not thanks to the rising cost of beach nourishment.

“The amount we’ve been setting aside is really nothing compared to the cost of the project and I see this as a way to start generating funds,” said Wrightsville Beach Mayor Pro Tem Darryl Mills.

While you’re lying in the sand it’s going to cost you more to park on the pavement. The hourly rate is increasing to $2.50 per hour, a day pass will increase from $12 to $15, and a weekly pass will set you back $75.

“I guess in the grand scheme of things it doesn’t sound like a whole lot when you’re coming here for a few hours, but I’m sure there are people who are going to probably just go to other beaches,” said Robert Ray.

According to a Lanier Parking study the $.50 cent increase will generate an estimated $448,000, a portion of which can be used for beach nourishment.

“You have a fiduciary responsibility for this town over the long haul and that’s called our beach,” said one unidentified Wrightsville Beach resident. “Without the beach, no one is coming here!”

While many in attendance say they understand the move one local business owner says the board’s patience with the old pay rates expired faster than his parking meter.

“I can understand where they came from, but I just feel like this last year has been a struggle in Wrightsville Beach being a business owner and a resident with the bridge work that is going on, so there is the obvious thought that maybe this might add to the frustration,” said Ray.

The rate increase will become final on Tuesday during a special meeting that was needed to give the town attorney time to rewrite a final copy of the ordinance.


  • Dave says:

    Well sure glad I saw this news item. I was going to visit this summer.
    Screw you before you do me. I’ll go to some other beach that’s free.
    Sounds like the place is run by a bunch of greedy,stuck up pompous, Republicans.

  • Laurie says:

    Wrightsville Beach is a snooty, snobby beach. No drinking, no dogs, no smoking. I can understand only one of those restrictions. Parking is ridiculous. UNCW students help support their economy but they are totally unappreciative & make it almost impossible fir students to enjoy the beach there.

  • SouthEastNC says:

    If folks can’t afford to park here, we don’t want them. They can go to another beach with all the other poors. Or park at Harris Teeter and walk their lazy rears over. I know how those poors tend to be overweight, the exercise would be good for them.

  • disgusted says:

    Dude, you are such a loser. Trolling is what losers resort to when they apparently can’t seem to get any self gratification doing anything else. Too bad you’re greatest accomplishment is being a failure.

    Did this little blast provide you with enough self-loathing to gratify yourself?

    (FYI folks: This is the loser that on 2/28 in reference to “Man drives into Snow’s Cut in apparent suicide attempt” posted (he) “failed at killing himself… what a winner” and then said he did that because he “was just being a smart-alec.”)

  • Austin says:

    They should’t have raised the prices for parking. They SHOULD’VE raised the property tax for residents living on the island. I feel like this is the more logical option? It really sucks that Wrightsville did something that effects visitors and tourists. A lot of local businesses are going to suffer.

  • Guest2020 says:

    I can’t speak to their political associations, but your other assessments are right on the money.

  • I would feel better about the hundreds of thousands of dollars they rake in, if WB fully disclosed and publicly displayed their spending and accounting book entries. WB should be proactive in this, its the only way they can avoid public suspicion over potential dirty money and concealed corruption, given the over-whemling money they take in. I have witnessed more than once, 3 city workers watching 1 city worker cut down very small branches and slowly putting them in a pick up truck. Its fat money and they could do more good for the people giving them this money. I hate that WB has a local beach monopoly, this is what happens.

  • little t says:

    I will not be going to WB anymore and paying those exorbitant rates. Though I’ve not had a problem parking in the early afternoon I won’t “buy” into this. There is CB and KB as well as the southern beaches. WB can just go and shove it. The businesses will lose money if they don’t have their own parking lot. Sorry for them

  • Jami says:

    replying to poors comment. it is thoughts like yours”IF FOLKS CANT AFFORD TO PARK HERE, WE DON’T WANT THEM” Ignorance is still alive and well in this GREAT Country “THESE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA”. May God be mericiful to you and not treat you or think of you as you think of others WHO ARE NOT LIKE YOU!

  • beachesarenotfree says:

    Why should the property owners have to pay for all the extra services that are required in the summer due to the influx of summer visitors. The beach is for everyone, but that also carries some responsibility for sharing in the costs of keeping it open and clean for everyone. If you don’t think that property owners at Wrightsville Beach are doing their share, then just look at the New Hanover County budget, the amt of New Hanover County money that goes to Wrightsville Beach, and the amt of property tax that Wrightsville Beach property owners (and other beach property owners) pay into New Hanover County. You will find that the majority of tax money extorted from beach property owners by New Hanover county go to support county services….the beach property owners are what is keeping the tax rates for everyone else in New Hanover county low.

  • freedabeaches says:

    The only people this new plan is going to affect are the day trippers. Which in most cases are New Hanover county residents and the employees who work at businesses on the beach. Most people that vacation at WB stay in rentals or hotels both of which provide free parking. I haven’t paid for parking in WB in years and in the summer I visit everyday for several hours. If you are willing to park a little bit away from the beach and walk or ride a bike you can visit everyday and use the towns infrastructure for free. If the town really needed money for beach maintenance they should bring their tax rate to the same level as the rest of the coastal communities in the state. Instead they have the lowest coastal rate on the east coast.

  • Robert Green says:

    Topsail Island is the place to be in the summer. WB will still generate the revenue given the limited number of spaces on their exclusive island. Why not charge $ 5 per hour. Gullible tourist will pony up the money to visit but if you are a local I would look to go elsewhere. They are intentionally trying to drive away people with their restrictions , i.e smoking ban. They love the idea of being the Island of Arrogance. As a New Hanover County native , I have lost nothing at WB. Let the free market forces play out.

  • GFO says:

    I may not be current on my facts, but to my knowledge municipalities receive federal funding for beach renourishment, if their beach is open to the public. Figure Eight is not open to the public, therefore they do not receive federal funding for beach renourishment, it is funded through an increased property tax rate.

    My questions for the people who are current on these facts are:

    1)By raising your parking rates, are you making the beach unaffordable for the general public: Thus, making your public beach not so “public?”

    2)I understand users should pay user fees to cover the cost of their impact on municipal services. However, since the board is concerned with funding beach renourishment, are they also considering a property tax rate increase to cover the cost of the residents impact?

    3)Why are you changing your rate structure, in the middle of the fiscal year? Municipalities operate on July 1 – June 30 fiscal year. The budget that is adopted effective July 1, also includes the newly adopted fee schedule. Was this item misbudgeted? or did you not meet projections? Either scenario would normally be handled with budget cuts and an appropriation from fund balance, with an increase being recommended to the board in the upcoming budget.

    If your answer was less users, theoretically, less users equals less impact, equals decreased expenses to go along with the decrease in revenues.

  • SouthEastNC says:

    Is it any different than a hotel tax? Try to make money from outside visitors when you can.

  • kingstonman says:

    I moved to New Hanover County almost 50 years ago. One of the first things I heard about the town of Wrightsville Beach is how they hated being a “tourist town” and would love to become a private beach. Lucky for all of us North Carolina has laws in place to prevent that from happening. But then Wrightsville Beach came up with the plan of having such high parking fees and folks would stop coming. So now I hope the town is happy as none of my family members that come in from out of town to visit during the summer will be visiting your beach again. There are other beaches available and it may be a few miles further but the parking fee’s savings will way more than cover the cost of gas to go there. And while they are at other beaches they will be visiting restaurants and stores spending their “tourist dollars” for those beache’s economy.
    Just hope when the town of Wrightsville Beach sinks it doesn’t try to throw the state a help line as all this may come back to bit them in the rump!

  • Guest of the Week says:

    Have you people actually seen the traffic coming into Wrightsville Beach during the beach season? It’s often backed up past Military Cutoff and once you actually get to the beach area, you could spend 20 minutes driving in circles looking for an open spot, and perhaps another 5-10 camping out waiting for someone to pack up their car and back out. You people actually think a half dollar hourly rate hike is going to put even a dent in this? How comical.

  • guest1974 says:

    Let’s see… That comes to roughly 2.5 million dollars annually for parking on your little strip of beach. Way to go!! You know, though, visitors are NOT responsible for erosion. Nature is. Erosion is a natural occurrence which wouldn’t really matter much if it weren’t for all the structures built on your tiny island. Scalping visitors to insure your precious oceanfront property is just wrong. Why don’t you convince the state to let you take over the public boat ramp. I am sure you could get away with charging at least $70 per boat. Hurry, you are missing out.
    I hope people wise up and stop visiting your beach all together. How would you make out without them?

  • missing nc says:

    what they charge? People will still be there and unless you get there before 9am in the summer you won’t find a parking spot anyway. They could charge 10.00 an hour and there would still be enough people to fill the spaces. If you look at historic pictures of the NC coast you will the see the coastline retreating. One day,long after I’m gone from this earth the waves will be lapping up around mayfair. Landfall,the lifestyles of the not so rich and famous.See ya at the beach.

  • rickc says:

    The parking is still free before 9 am and after 6 pm. Ever been there mid-day during tourist season? It is a zoo! Why would anyone want to wade among the unwashed masses in 90+ heat?

  • JSDude1 says:

    Like myself, why would I ever go to WB during the summer months when 2.00 was already outrageous.

    I live in Wilmington, and I think you’ll find that you may generate some income, but others will get smart and just visit surrounding beaches that don’t charge anything for parking, or much, much less..

  • little t says:

    I will not be going to WB anymore and paying those exorbitant rates. Though I’ve not had a problem parking in the early afternoon I won’t “buy” into this. There is CB and KB as well as the southern beaches. WB can just go and shove it. The businesses will lose money if they don’t have their own parking lot. Sorry for them

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