Mount P. annexation blocks Awendaw expansion south

Bulls Bay Golf Course has been annexed by the town of Mount Pleasant, and now forms part of the town's northernmost municipal boundary. The clubhouse is seen in the background in this 2013 photo. (D.Emch)

MOUNT PLEASANT — The town’s annexation of Bulls Bay Golf Club, nearly 4 miles north of Wando High School, marks an important change to Mount Pleasant’s northern boundary, one that defines the local government’s reach and halts any potential southern expansion by the neighboring town of Awendaw.

“Strategically, it’s significant,” Mount Pleasant Mayor Linda Page said. “The annexation of Bulls Bay blocks Awendaw, and it’s a very logical place for us to be bounded.”

The more than 400-acre annexation also adds millions of dollars in taxable property to the town’s tax base, with more to come as homes are built on the Rice Fields at Bulls Bay lots near the golf club. The 360-acre golf club itself is valued by Charleston County at $5.4 million.

Towns in South Carolina can grow by annexing adjacent, unincorporated properties. By annexing the Bulls Bay club and dozens of associated residential lots, Mount Pleasant created a northern boundary line that extends from the Wando River to the oceanfront marsh.

The town’s new boundary also abuts Awendaw’s southern town limit.

Before the Bulls Bay annexation, Awendaw could have extended its boundaries down the east side of U.S. Highway 17 nearly to Wando High School, although property owners would have had to agree to be annexed.

Awendaw Administrator Bill Wallace said the town is not troubled by Mount Pleasant’s annexation of Bull’s Bay.

“We don’t have any plans to annex anything down there, and we haven’t tried to,” he said.

Bulls Bay Golf Club founder and owner Joe Rice said he asked Mount Pleasant to annex the properties because the town “provides full services and security,” which would include police, fire and sanitation services.

Mount Pleasant has long been concerned about territorial boundaries at the north end of town because that’s the only direction the town’s growth can take. Mount Pleasant’s municipal boundary line now extends up Highway 17 to Awendaw’s border, but officials are also keeping an eye trained across the Wando River, specifically at unincorporated Cat Island, Paradise Island and the Woodville section of the Francis Marion National Forest.

“The city of Charleston could annex Cat Island, then Paradise Island and into Woodville,” Page said.

Mount Pleasant includes all three areas on the town’s web page promoting the benefits of annexing into the town.

Former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, who extended that city’s boundaries up the Cainhoy Peninsula across the river from Mount Pleasant years ago, disavowed any intent to annex 600-acre Cat Island while he was in office. Charleston’s current mayor, John Tecklenburg, has not considered Cat Island, spokesman Jack O’Toole said.

The island is privately owned, undeveloped, and has no road or bridge connections. Mount Pleasant has included the island in its “rural conservation” planning area, although the town has no jurisdiction there.

Reach David Slade at (843) 937-5552 or twitter.com/DSladeNews.