With rare exceptions of extreme seismic events, land generally does not move. So imagine the surprise one man got when he was told that his South Carolina property is about to be in North Carolina.
In the early 1800s, surveyors went to the trouble of documenting and marking the NC-SC border, making measurements and notes, notching trees and chiseling on rocks. Over time the actual lines became a bit blurred on the ground, with counties from both states putting signs and allocating properties into their respective counties, and thus, their states.
Because of historically inaccurate claims by land owners along the borders, the maps no longer matched the claims and exact locations of the boundaries came to be off by a couple of feet in some places and hundreds of feet in others. One man now finds his property on the verge of changing sides.
Lewis Efird, President of United Oil of the Carolinas, finds his 1.5 acre property, just a couple of miles west of Lake Wylie, smack dab in the middle of the disputed zone. He may very well see the state line relocate from the north edge to the south edge, effectively moving the land from South Carolina to North Carolina.
On that property, Victor Boulware owns and operates a gas station and convenience store, the Lake Wylie Mini Mart of Clover, SC. He will soon be operating out of Gastonia, NC in a matter of months. The NC-SC Joint Border Commission met on Friday (Feb 7) and has been meeting for years to begin correcting these border issues once and for all, and the members, pleasant as they have been, have very little ability to do more than help these land and business owners, and others like them, to prepare for the changes that will be coming.
For example, NC has a higher gas tax than does SC. That means the price of gasoline at that station would jump without increasing any profits to the station. Also, the sale of fireworks would have to be curtailed, since NC has long outlawed all but the tamest of sparklers. Additionally, many note the differences between alcoholic sales control and restrictions that have existed since the repeal of national prohibition since 1933 (NC controls hard liquor sales through the ABC).
While the impact may be extreme for some, there remains some hope. Even though the border is likely to be officially marked in it’s historically correct location, and there are those who have been placed in “incorrect jurisdictions” for decades, there may be a political solution whereby elected officials can grandfather existing businesses for as long as they remain in operation through the exception process when they pass new legislation, which is expected to be heard in both state houses later this year.
Palmetto or Tarheel, it’s good to see that Carolinians can work out issues peacefully.
Some facts were gathered from a Charlotte Observer article.