Special Report: Carolina Boundary Redrawn, Residents Moved
Updated: Friday, August 2 2013, 10:23 PM EDT
Bud Leonard's home on Panther Mountain Road looks like your average house. But what you can't see is that it's split in half.
"If we eat breakfast in the kitchen, we're in North Carolina, if we eat breakfast in the dining room, we're in South Carolina," says Leonard, while sitting in his living room - in North Carolina.
The newly reestablished state line - separating Greenville and Henderson counties - runs through Leonard's main hallway.
"Most of the garage is in South Carolina - the living room is North Carolina," described Leonard, pointing to a plat of his property - with the state line dissecting his home.
The Leonard's is the only house divided - but one of 125 properties that are being affected.
"We reestablished 334 miles of boundary," said Boundary Project Coordinator Alan-Jon Zupan.
After 18 years, three weeks ago Zupan - in Columbia - and his counterparts in Raleigh finished walking and marking the original state line.
"Neither state maintained the boundary by putting up boundary markers, for 200 and some years," said Zupan.
The King George III of England began marking the boundary with rocks and trees in 1772. The trees died and the rocks were moved. So, for the last two centuries county and state officials were estimating where the line was.
"There was a road for example, that neither state would maintain," said Zupan. "So it just became a big pothole ... we had a couple drug cases up there."
Sheriff's jurisdictions have been questioned, along with road maintenance; Duke power tried to sell thousands of acres but didn't know which state was the customer.
The carolinas have been estimating what land belonged to who for centuries, and now that the original line's being reinforced, it's causing problems.
"We knew that we were going to have to answer questions to the property owners," said N.C. Geodetic Survey Chief Gary Thompson.
No moving truck involved, some residents are now in another state.
That means new taxes, school districts, drivers license, voting registration, a possible new license for one doctor.
The worst situation, Zupan says, is a gas station owner along the border.
"He sells gas in South Carolina 18 cents a gallon cheaper in South Carolina. He sells fireworks - if he's moved to North Carolina - what happens to that? Fireworks are illegal in North Carolina," says Zupan.
The station also sells alcohol - the new Gaston County address is in a dry county.
"So you move him to North Carolina and you're destroying his livelihood - and you can't do that by law," sayd Zupan.
But another law - state's can't change the boundary.
"Any change in the state boundary would have to be done at the federal level - by congress," says Thompson.
So do you ask: Can you judge estimate, fudge a foot or a yard?
"You can't do that, you can't just draw the lines," says Zupan.