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Expanding the “835” Cottageville Working to Spread Town Limits

Cottageville leaders are actively working with some of the towns could-be residents to expand the town’s actual limits, a move that would allow Cottageville to take in more of the county turf and would make more people actual Cottageville residents.

The annexation efforts have been going on behind the scenes in Cottageville for several months, with many residents from along Burr Hill Road coming to Cottageville Town Council meetings and asking for the annexation. On Monday, another such of those meetings occurred.

About 15 residents along that road are requesting the change. These residents, who live on Burr Hill Road from Jacksonboro Road to U.S. Highway 17A, want to be officially put into the town’s limits.

Burr Hill Road is one of several roads that Cottageville leaders are actively trying to annex. Other pockets of residents who live along Rowe Drive, Gaines Circle, Bama Road, Winter Drive and Rehobeth Road are also petitioning the town for annexation,” said Cottageville Police Chief Jeffery Cook.

“These areas get a lot of calls for service to the sheriff’s office, and they do respond. But it takes 30-45 minutes and that’s just because of distance. It’s not because of any reason than distance, and we are right here,” he said.

The primary reason for the residents’ wanting to annex into the town is safety, according to Cook.

“The area (of Burr Hill Road) really doesn’t get that patrolled that much, and there are issues on this side of the county,” he said. “And there are people who would rather us get to them because we are closer, instead of waiting 30-45 minutes on the county,” he said.

The Cottageville Police Department has a mutual aid agreement with the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office. This means when someone who lives in the unincorporated area of Cottageville calls 911, they will be helped by county deputies. Cook says the town’s police department is usually located within “five minutes” of the person who needs help; however, they cannot be the first to respond because of these areas being officially located in the county, he said.

“That’s not the sheriff’s fault or anyone’s fault. Colleton is just a large county and people near town limits shouldn’t wait on the county when we can get there faster,” he said.

In order for any area to be annexed into the town, town ordinances require that 75 percent of all residents in that area agree to the incorporation. Then, the issue must go before the entire town for a popular vote in the form of a referendum.

“I believe we already have that,” Cook said, speaking about the majority of residents along Burr Hill Road who want to be a part of the town.

According to Cook, the area of Burr Hill Road has numerous complaints of narcotics issues and some reported public disturbances. There is also a reported problem of some people who have rights to a familial cemetery not being allowed access to that cemetery because of disorderly citizens. Additionally, Cook says there have been reports of gunshots fired in the Burr Hill Road area. “There is also a large problem with speeding,” he said. “There is a posted 35 mph limit, and I have been on that road and documented speeds upwards of 60 mph.”

Cottageville is currently one compass mile long, along U.S. Highway 17A.

“The mayor’s goal is to have Round O Road to the river to be in Cottageville. That’s the ultimate, long term goal,” said Cook.

Cook says the town’s leaders – including Mayor Tim Grimsley – are actively working toward creating a referendum for the annexation. Once this occurs, however, the town will then need to address more resources for the Cottageville Police Department.

“We do have enough officers to handle the areas who want to come into Cottageville, and we will be giving them 24-hour service,” said Cook, “But, soon we will need more officers. And that costs money. But we are up for that challenge. We are ready for it.”

Heather Walters (1194 Posts)