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Angry neighbors turn street into toll road to stop drivers from using it as shortcut

Cedar Landing and Creek Estates voted May 19 to change their street into a toll road. It's legal, because the road is private, says the Pender County Sheriff's Office.
Cedar Landing and Creek Estates voted May 19 to change their street into a toll road. It's legal, because the road is private, says the Pender County Sheriff's Office.

A North Carolina neighborhood fed up with tourists using their street as a shortcut has concocted a novel solution: They turned Cedar Avenue into a toll road just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

If you want to use Surf City's Cedar Landing neighborhood as a shortcut to the beach, it's going to cost you $5, reported TV station WECT.

The Pender County neighborhoods of Cedar Landing and Creek Estates voted May 19 to created a toll road, after documenting thousands of cars were using it as a shortcut between Highway 210 and Highway 50, reported TV station WWAY.

Surf City is a town of about 1,900 people on Topsail Island, one of the state's most popular beach communities.

Only 225 residents live along the half-dirt-half-paved road known as Cedar Avenue, yet neighbors counted 4,100 cars using the road last Memorial Day weekend, reported WECT.

The move to create a toll road is 100 percent legal, according to a Sheriff's Office press release sent this week to the Port City Daily.

In the release, the Pender County Sheriff's Office noted Cedar Avenue is a private road and "there are no laws that we know of that prohibit an owner of private property from charging for the use of that property," reported the Port City Daily.

WWAY visited the site Friday and found residents were keeping their pledge, charging strangers who attempted to use the street. Fifteen cars paid while the station was there and 15 others made a U-turn and drove away, WWAY reported.

“We’ll ask them to pay, and if they don’t want to pay and they refuse to move, then the sheriff’s office is aware of the situation,” resident Roy Ward told the station. "All we have to do is call 911, and they’ll send a deputy out to get them out of the roadway."

Response to the news prompted both anger and support on social media.

"Try as they will, many just won't pay," posted Tyson Sutton on Facebook. "I wouldn't pay."

"Going to cause a lot of problems," posted Donna Lynnette Coleman of Wilmington on Facebook. "Might as well set up check point before it.. Lots of drinkers take back road."

Logan Cambron wants to slow speeders in his Point Comfort Road neighborhood so he patrols it in a chicken suit. He signals motorists to slow down when his speed gun tells him they are going faster than the speed limit.

Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs
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