New bill could make it easier to close 'doughnut holes' in SC

HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - A proposed bill could make it easier to close those areas of unincorporated land surrounded by a city or town, referred to as "doughnut holes," in South Carolina.

Doughnut holes have caused problems due to uncertain public safety responses.

"Annexation is a major issue for the municipal association and all cities and towns every year," Scott Slatton, a S.C. Municipal Association legislative and public policy advocate, said.

Right now, if an area would like to annex, it would have to get approval from city council and then get signatures from all registered voters who live in the area before going back to council to be approved or denied.

This is a process Magnolia Pointe in Myrtle Beach is very familiar with. The development has tried to become part of the city three times.

"We have been involved or made attempts to become annexed into the city. We've had several cases over the years where issues that occur at night, and we do have our own security, but they had to call for a city officer and we had many cases where it's taken over an hour, sometimes closer to an hour and a half, for an officer to arrive," Magnolia Pointe POA President Larry Reiter said.

The new bill would make the annexation process easier for cities.

"It would allow the city council to decide whether or not to annex an enclave that's been surrounded by the city for five years or more and is comprised of an area of 25 acres or less," Slatton said.

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