Over the course of the last several years issues with boundary line agreements on Lake Greenwood became a contentious issue. Earlier this year, members of council expressed their displeasure with the current standard practice and asked county staff to draft a new policy. Council voted unanimously to approve the new policy at their regular meeting last Tuesday.
In essence, the new policy states the county will accept the current 440 contour as the boundary line for properties on Lake Greenwood. The 440 contour is the line which represents 440 feet above sea level. That boundary was established in 1938 in the scope of work for the original Buzzards Roost Dam project.
The source of contention has mainly been fact that the county purchased the property around Lake Greenwood to a line representing the 440 contour, which was surveyed to the given tolerances at the time. More than 70 years later, those tolerances are much narrower, leaving the exact location of the boundary in question. Larry Smith, county engineer for Greenwood County, noted earlier this year that the surveying tolerance in the 193os was about 10 feet. Today, that tolerance is about 10 inches.
According to South Carolina law, ownership is determined by the original plat, but taxes are assessed based on the most recent plat filed. This has caused many lake residents to feel the county has taken property from them. In the past, when a boundary line agreement was needed, Smith and his staff would go through a lengthy and difficult process to determine the location of the boundary to today’s standards. Property owners could then purchase the property form the county if they desired, though the county gave them full right of way and access to the lake.
In February, council members, particularly Steve Brown and Mark Allison, began to raise questions about the boundary line agreement process. In March, council held a public hearing on boundary line agreements. The discussion was again taken up in July, when Brown asked the standard practice to be reevaluated. Council tabled the discussion of boundary line agreements in August.
Council voted unanimously to adopt the new policy for boundary line agreements. Under the old standard practice, the county would pay for the deed to be drawn up at a cost of about $250. Under the new policy, the property owner will be responsible for all expenses related to the boundary line agreement.