Is it Awendaw or Mt. P.? Confusion is spreading

Heather Peters walks with her daughter Lola in her new neighborhood, Tupelo Forest, which has an Awendaw mailing address, despite its location within the town of Mount Pleasant.

AWENDAW — When Heather Peters recently signed her son up for a program at Mount Pleasant’s Park West Recreation Center, she had some trouble getting the fee discount reserved for town residents.

After all, her mailing address and other state documentation say she lives in Awendaw, the small town just north.

“My license says Awendaw. Everything says Awendaw,” she said. “I had to bring in all these papers to prove I was in Mount Pleasant.”

Peters is among a few hundred residents who live just north of Wando High School in the once-rural area where Mount Pleasant and Awendaw are slowly growing together.

As she drives to her Tupelo Forest home from the nearest grocery store, she passes an automotive shop whose sign says it’s in Awendaw.

But Peters and her approximately 100 neighbors do live in the town of Mount Pleasant — and face a host of minor annoyances because so many official sources — including their own iPhones and Google maps — still place them somewhere else.

Mayor Linda Page has written two letters to the U.S. Postal Service asking that town residents who live in the 29429 ZIP code be allowed to receive mail addressed to them in Mount Pleasant rather than Awendaw, but she’s had no luck.

Darryl Martin, district manager for the Postal Service’s Greater South Carolina District, said his staff studied the request but found that the change would pose delays for mail sorted by hand, not by machine.

“All manually sorted mail would have a 50-50 chance of being sent to the wrong office, creating delays for potentially thousands of pieces of mail,” he said in a Dec. 10 letter to Page. “The outcome would create chaos for many customers who are currently satisfied with their mail service and result in a decrease in postal customer satisfaction and service scores, for which we are held responsible.”

But Page wrote back — and is asking the state’s two U.S. senators and U.S. Rep. Mark Sanford to intervene — saying that she understands city boundaries and ZIP code boundaries rarely match.

“The town (of Mount Pleasant) is the ninth-fastest-growing city in the country and it is time to make an adjustment to account for the massive change in boundaries over the past few years,” she said. “This is not a standard request that we make annually for simple annexation.”

Councilman Chris O’Neal, who lives in Carolina Park, said the problem affects those who live just beyond that neighborhood. The 29429 code line includes the area just east of Wando High School and Lieben Road. Page said the main affected neighborhoods are Tupelo Forest and Pepper Plantation.

Andrea J. Maroun, who lives on Tupelo Church Lane, said her Awendaw address has proven to be an inconvenience at times.

“When I am making appointments with doctors and they’re trying to give me directions ... they ask me if I’m in Mount Pleasant,” she said. “I say ‘Yes,’ but then when I give them an Awendaw address, several times they’ll call me back and confirm that I’m in Mount Pleasant. That makes it difficult.”

Over the years, Awendaw has expanded south, while Mount Pleasant has annexed north, and the two municipalities essentially began touching seven years ago, just across from The Center for Birds of Prey, Awendaw Town Manager William Wallace said.

Most confusion Wallace sees comes from residents whose property has an Awendaw address but still is located in unincorporated Charleston County.

Peters’ mother-in-law and neighbor, Sharon Peters, said she did not realize the address complication until she was closing on her second home in Tupelo Forest. Her husband, a banker, had trouble getting their accounts changed because of the address glitch.

She said she hopes Page’s and other efforts soon succeed in making a change.

“I’d feel better if it said ‘Mount Pleasant.’ It’s got a better tune to it when I go to sell” she said. “We’re told that we’re here, and we’re all paying all the taxes, so why can’t I use it as my mailing address?”

Reach Robert Behre at 937-5771.