Pender County neighbors divided as neighborhood introduces toll on crowded cut through


PENDER COUNTY, NC (WWAY) –  Visitors to Surf City this Memorial Day weekend get ready to pay a toll, but not where you think.

A neighborhood is setting up a toll on their private road in hopes to prevent heavy traffic. Last summer, neighbors say they counted an average of 2,000 vehicles used the dilapidated road daily during the 4th of July holiday. Now, neighbors are fighting back with a new toll set to begin this weekend, but several say it will only bring more problems.

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“Since its private, if you want to cross it, you’ve got to pay five dollars to cross it,” said Jeff Conerly, who serves on the Cedar Landing II and Creek Estates Road Maintenance Organization.

The RMO was created after neighbors say the developer decided to no longer maintain the road starting in 2015. It is a registered non-profit with the county that serve to take homeowner fees to patch up Cedar Avenue.

Neighbors in Cedar Landing and Creek Estates voted on May 19th to set up tolls. The road is a mix of handmade speed bumps and pot holes that eventually turns to dirt. It is private. Conerly says, several times, school buses as well as the local fire department have threatened to not come down the road because of its condition. Yet it is a renowned shortcut to the Surf City.

“The objective is not to make is difficult for the property owners and friends,” Conerly said. “The objective is to keep the general public from using this as a shortcut.”

Conerly along with the non-profit’s president, Carl Mounts, says the road can be so crowded over the summer, it is a miracle no one has been hurt on it. Conerly tracked motorists last summer and counted more than 8,200 used the road the week of the July 4th holiday. He along with neighbors Anita and Bobby Phillips hope the toll with reduce the summer swell.

“We hope that it will cut down on the traffic through here,” Anita said. “And let it just be for the people that live here.”

There are some neighbors and plenty of outsiders who are not sold on the toll. Amanda Porter is one of them. She sees it as more trouble than a solution to traffic.

“I don’t think that this is the best way to solve the traffic problem.”

Conerly and the non-profit have handed out stickers for neighbors to place on their cars to show they live there.
Porter believes the system they’ll use to monitor it will not cover everyone who needs the road.

“There is business to be had down here. We’ve got Lanier campground down there, there’s vacationers down there,” Porter said. “You know I have family and friends coming down here this weekend and it’s just an inconvenience.”

WWAY’s Andrew James reached out to county leaders and the Sheriff’s Office to find out if what the neighbors are doing is legal. They could not confirm if the toll is legal or not, but we plan to follow up with them before the weekend gets underway.