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As a result of the natural setting plus poor development and management decisions, the town of North Topsail Beach on Topsail Island, North Carolina, is the state's most vulnerable barrier-island community. It is our view that this very narrow, low, and duneless island community is the most hazardous on the U.S. East Coast. Although most of North Topsail Beach was designated a CoBRA unit under the Coastal Barrier Resources Act of 1982, the area has been developed extensively (mostly post-1980), starting with “mom and pop” beach cottages, and evolving into large single-family rental houses, duplexes, and several medium- and high-rise...

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