County addresses resident concerns about boundary line change

Six months after the boundary line slightly shifted between Dorchester and Berkeley counties, resulting in Berkeley County gaining 2,900 acres, both counties are welcoming new residents and responding to community concerns.

Because of the change, more than 200 residences in Dorchester County became Berkeley County homes. Berkeley also received at least $250,000 in additional annual property tax.

On May 16, Berkeley County mailed letters to new residents in the affected “transition area,” which includes about 329 parcels, explaining pertinent information about county and emergency contacts. Residents will have a chance to voice questions during public comment time at County Council’s meeting on May 28.

The council meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. in the assembly room of Berkeley County Administration building, located at 1003 Highway 52 in Moncks Corner.

The dispute over the actual boundary was years long but finally resolved in November after the South Carolina Geodetic Survey confirmed the correct county line. The new line won’t be finalized until July 1.

According to the county, residents should be aware of the followings facts:

Q: Who will provide emergency services to those in the transition area?

A: Those with an emergency should immediately call 911. Emergency responders will continue to provide service to all of Berkeley County. The mutual aid agreements that were in place prior to the boundary line shift remain in place. Berkeley County has only been responding to calls for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, according to Dorchester County officials.

Dorchester County also continues to answer all fire and EMS calls in the transition area, Dorchester County said. Berkeley County receives the calls but transfers them to Dorchester County. Since January 1, Dorchester County EMS has been the responding agency to 152 calls in the transition area, and Dorchester County Fire Rescue has been the primary responding agency to at least eight calls in the transition area, according to Dorchester County.

Dorchester County officials also clarified that because part of the transition area resides within the Town of Summerville, the town’s police and fire personnel are still answering calls in town limits, while Dorchester County EMS responds to medical calls in that territory. Additionally, Dorchester County Fire Rescue maintains automatic-aid with the town’s fire department and will continue to do so after July 1.

Contact specific agencies for further questions:

Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office: 843-723-3800

Fire services: The responding fire service depends on the emergency’s location. Maps show the fire districts in the Northern and Southern parts of the transition area:

  • Lebanon Fire Department: 843-688-4074, Chief Nicky Sweatman
  • C & B Fire Department: 843-873-0714, Chief Joshua Woodall
  • Pine Ridge Fire Department: 843-875-1822, Chief Benjamin Waring

A: Berkeley County Emergency Medical Services has been and will continue to respond to emergencies in Berkeley County.

Q: Where should one go to drop off trash? Which county will provide trash pick-up services?

A: The transition parcels are eligible for trash pick-up services by Republic Services at the Berkeley County Franchise area rate. Those with questions should call Republic Services at 843-552-4751 or Berkeley County Solid Waste Department at 843-719-2386.

Residents may drop-off their solid waste at any Berkeley County Convenience Center or Drop-Off Site. The closest locations to those in the transition area are Oakley Road, located at 606 Oakley Road, Moncks Corner, SC 29461 and Poplar Hill, located at 1029 Poplar Hill Road, Ridgeville, SC 29472. Information about Convenience Center and Drop Site locations, hours of operation, and the types of solid waste that are accepted at each facility is found online :

Q: Who will maintain county roads?

A: Berkeley County Roads and Bridges Department will provide road maintenance and repairs for roads that were formerly-maintained by Dorchester County. To reach the Roads and Bridges Department, call 843-719-4129. South Carolina Department of Transportation (SCDOT) will continue to maintain state roads from the Moncks Corner and St. George offices.

  • Moncks Corner SCDOT office: 843-761-8481
  • St. George SCDOT office: 843-563-3451

Q: Will Berkeley County will be responsible for water and sewer services in the transition area?

A: Current utility providers will remain unchanged.

Q: Who is the district’s council representative?

A: Councilman Caldwell Pinckney currently serves District 7, which includes the transition area. He can be reached at caldwell.pinckney@berkeleycountysc.gov. All other council members’ information can be found online .

Q: Where do residents in the transition area pay their taxes?

A: Residents pay taxes at the County Administration building or online. The county administration building is located at 1003 Highway 52 in Moncks Corner, SC. To contact the tax assessor’s office, call 843-723-3800.

Items still to be resolved

Q: What is the status of any zoning changes related to the transition of my property to Berkeley County?

A: In March 2019, mailers were sent out to unincorporated property owners affected by the “Transition Area” explaining the process and recommended zoning districts. The rezoning process is underway, and the Planning Commission made recommendations for these properties for County Council’s consideration. A more detailed description of the process and scheduled County Council meetings is available on the Planning Department’s webpage .

For questions about the zoning district that has been recommended for an individually-owned property within a transition area, contact the Planning and Zoning Department at 843-719-4095.

Individuals can access an interactive map showing the zoning district and future land use map recommendations for individual properties. Berkeley County said after council members adopt the recommendations, a property owner or owner’s authorized agent will have the opportunity to request a change in the zoning that was established for the affected property.

To do so, owners can submit a rezoning application and any necessary supporting documentation to the Berkeley County Planning and Zoning Department pursuant to the typical processes and deadlines as established in Article 22 of the Berkeley County Zoning Ordinance.

Q: How are students who are now zoned for Berkeley County School District impacted by this boundary shift?

A: Individuals are urged to reach out to individual school districts — Berkeley County School District, Dorchester District Four, Dorchester District Two — for information regarding students affected by the line change.

Q: Where will those in the transition area vote? Do you need to change your voter registration?

A: New polling locations and district lines are currently being established by the state Legislature. When the county boundary changed, it left a gap between our precinct boundary and the new county boundary. Since all precincts are coded in law, the county cannot make any changes until the General Assembly updates precincts.

Sens. Larry Grooms and Paul Campbell have introduced legislation in the Senate, with help from the S.C. Revenue and Fiscal Affairs Office – Precinct Demographics team. The bill is in committee and was written with an effective date of any election taking place after June 30.

Once this law goes into effect, Berkeley County can then get the voters registered in the correct place and will mail a card letting them know their new polling location and districts. Those previously registered in Dorchester County will be notified prior to any November 2019 Municipal Elections. For more information on voter registration and elections, call 843-719-4056.

Dorchester County said the new boundary line has also split in half certain apartment complexes, including The Villages — previously known as the Presbyterian Home. The county has yet to determine a solution to the issue but said staff is working to iron out the details.