Call Colllett: Road riddled with ruts goes unclaimed, search for owner begins

Call Collett

Following a Count on 2 investigation in February, The City of Charleston hired a title abstractor to officially determine who’s responsible for a road riddled with ruts.

“It’s narrow. It’s not marked. There are deep ruts on each side,” David Largent described Rivers Reach Drive.  He lives at the end of the road, which was built in the 1980’s to connect one neighborhood to Clements Ferry Road in Berkeley County.

Since then, the City of Charleston annexed most of the land around the road and approved several more neighborhoods. Hundreds of people take the skinny road to and from home every day.

“It could turn into a really bad situation. No one seems to be concerned about this road,” Largent says, adding upkeep has been scarce.

That could be because no one is sure who’s responsible.  Berkeley County initially told News 2 the road belonged to Homes Unlimited of Charleston INC. We discovered that company dissolved in 2008.  Upon a second round of questioning, the County said the City of Charleston annexed the road, and it was their responsibility.

 “When the city approved annexation in 1995, the road was specifically excluded,” The City’s Deputy Director of Public Services, Mike Metzler, told News 2.

It’s a unique twist in determining who’s responsible, because that’s not a common practice.  It usually only happens for one of two reasons.  The first is if the road was private, and the owner didn’t want to make it public.  The second scenario happens if the road didn’t meet city specifications, and the owner didn’t want to bring it up to codes. 

In this situation, there are no records to indicate why it wasn’t annexed in 1995.

City records indicate builder D.R. Horton owns the road.  

When News 2 reached out to them, the story took another turn.

According to D.R. Horton, they aren’t responsible for the road and never were.

And that’s why the City hired the title abstractor.

“When someone is buying a house we get a title abstract and look back years to see who all owned the house,” Dixon F. Pearce, II, real estate attorney, explained. He expected it would take seven to ten days to determine the ownership history of Rivers Reach Drive.

“It probably started out as some type of driveway,” he explained. “You hope to see at some time the city or county accepted a dedication and is maintaining it.”

But since the road isn’t being maintained, determine who actually owns it is a start to getting it fixed.

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