Property Owners Find Out They've Moved From South To North Carolina

Back in the days of yore, say, a few hundred years ago, when you needed to mark a state line, well you could just hack a mark in a tree with a hatchet. But in the case of North and South Carolina property owners, when those trees eventually cease to exist, residents have to deal with the repercussions, as many are finding out they actually own property in the other state.

The Associated Press (via MyrtleBeachOnline.com) reports on the problems citizens in those two states are having, now that surveyors have redrawn and shifted the state line, moving it hundreds of feet in some cases.

Because surveyors used such an impermanent method to mark boundaries in the 1700s and didn’t have GPS to draw as precisely as today, new work on the state line is causing major issues for some residents. The Joint Boundary Commission is overseeing the first full survey of the state line since it was first drawn, and is trying to deal with those problems.

For example, one man owns land where he built a gas station in what he thought was South Carolina, but is now revealed to be North Carolina. He says his station will be worthless due to higher gas taxes in North Carolina, and that the business-boosting sales of fireworks is now illegal.

“We invested based on the location of the property, taxes rates, underground storage tank rules, alcohol avaibility. Had this property been in North Carolina, had we known that when we purchased the property in the early ’90s, we wouldn’t have purchased it,” he said.

About 90 properties have been affected in a certain stretch, but only around two dozen have expressed concerns, said one official. Changing property taxes is one of the main obstacles many owners are facing, because of each state’s rules. The whole situation is pretty unfamiliar, as other state boundary disputes have dealt with shifting rivers or were settled in the 1800s.

“I can’t assure you everything is going to be resolved in a way to the liking of each and every citizen,” said a lawyer with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office. “But I can tell you we are working on it.”

*Thanks for the tip, Rob!

Committee tries to lessen state line change impact [Myrtle Beach Online]