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LAKE WYLIE, S.C. -- Advancements in technology provide many modern-day conveniences, but computers and GPS systems may result in a major inconvenience for Victor Boulware, owner of the Lake Wylie Minimart in South Carolina. Surveyors recently found that the border between North and South Carolina is actually 150 feet south of the one marked 240 years ago, placing 93 commercial and residential properties including the convenience store in a different state than before, according to an Associated Press report.
Operating in North Carolina would cause major problems for the c-store, which currently offers fuel prices at the 30-cents-cheaper South Carolina rate and benefits from the sale of fireworks. It is illegal to sell pyrotechnics in North Carolina.
"If I end up across the line, it is going to shut this business down," Boulware told the news outlet. Many of his customers are North Carolina drivers who stop by specifically for the cheaper gasoline.
The original surveyors who determined the border in 1735 operated on instructions from England's King George II: begin 30 miles south of Cape Fear River, then travel northwest to reach 35 degrees latitude where the border would head west to the Pacific Ocean. But the surveyors, who used poles, hatches, chains and their own math as tools, did not follow his instructions exactly, and the border became full of twists and turns between Charlotte, N.C., and the mountains, according to the news report.
The U.S. Congress later set the boundary based on the king's instructions, but state officials and mapmakers have called for a review of the state line for decades.
"This should have been done decades ago before all this growth. People called us, we're supposed to be the authorities on the state line and all we could say is we don't know for certain," said Sidney Miller, who is helping to lead the new survey for South Carolina.
The Joint Boundary Commission was formed with the cooperation of both states nearly 20 years ago. Although the new survey is not yet finished, few problems are expected around the portion of the border that extends to the Atlantic Ocean due to the rural area. The new boundary will be recorded using GPS coordinates and permanently marked with stakes and stones, but it will set some locations in a different state and bisect others.
The Joint Boundary Commission is expected to meet today in Rock Hill, S.C., where members will work on proposals for both states that would grandfather in landowners when it comes to school districts, utility services and back taxes.
Once the commission submits the adjusted border to South Carolina's legislature and North Carolina's Council of State, both states will have the opportunity to approve or disapprove the changes. Business owners like Boulware might prefer that it not be approved; however, if it is not approved, both states could be subject to multiple lawsuits, according to the report.