“Doughnut holes” a problem for efficiency of services in Summerville

SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – Unincorporated holes called “doughnut holes” can make the delivery of municipal services inefficient throughout towns in South Carolina.

In towns like Summerville, these unincorporated areas are completely surrounded by the town but are still outside town limits. The holes are created when properties that used to be in unincorporated areas opted to annex into the town while other properties nearby never did.

In South Carolina, towns cannot annex properties. Only property owners have the authority to petition for annexation.

The advantages of annexation include access to town services like trash and recycling pickup and water and sewer services. But annexation comes with the cost of higher property taxes.

Legislation that was introduced in Columbia could change the laws and allow municipalities to annex areas under certain circumstances. The areas would have to be surrounded by a town for at least five years and be no larger than 25 acres in size.

Residents who live within a “doughnut hole” near Summerville or live in areas adjacent to the town can petition for annexation by filling out an application on the Town of Summerville website.

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