In The Court of Appeals

Beaufort County, South Carolina, and John H. Webber,        Appellants,


The Town of Port Royal, South Carolina, Rose Island Properties, Inc. and George Stephanis,        Respondents.

Appeal From Beaufort County
A. Victor Rawl, Circuit Court Judge

Unpublished Opinion No. 2003-UP-703
Submitted September 17, 2003 – Filed December 3, 2003


Jack M. Scoville, Jr., of Georgetown, for Appellants.

David L. Tedder, of Beaufort, and William B. Regan and Francis I. Cantwell, both of Charleston, for Respondents.

PER CURIAM:  Beaufort County and John H. Webber challenge the legality of the annexation of Rose Island Properties into The Town of Port Royal.  They appeal the trial court’s grant of summary judgment.  We affirm. [1]


The Town of Port Royal annexed Rose Island, previously an unincorporated area in Beaufort County, pursuant to a petition signed by the chairman and the managing member of Rose Island Properties, Inc., a planned unit development.  Thereafter, Beaufort County and Webber, a taxpayer and resident of Port Royal, filed this action against Port Royal, Rose Island Properties, and George Stephanis, Rose Island Properties’ managing member. The county and Webber contended the annexation ordinance was void because the island was not contiguous with the town, the annexation petition was invalid, the annexation was an arbitrary action, and the annexation failed to comply with the federal Voting Rights Act.  The trial court granted the defendants’ motion for summary judgment, finding the plaintiffs lacked standing to assert several of their causes of action and ruling each of their challenges to the annexation was without merit. 


The parties agree the annexation in question was accomplished by petition from 100% of the freeholders of the area to be annexed.  See S.C. Code Ann. 5-3-150(3) (Supp. 2002).  “In order to challenge a 100% annexation, the challenger must assert an infringement of its own proprietary interests or statutory rights.”  St. Andrews Pub. Serv. Dist. v. City Council of Charleston, 349 S.C. 602, 604, 564 S.E.2d 647, 648 (2002).  The only “outsider” that is entitled to challenge municipal annexations is the State through a quo warranto action.  Id. at 605, 564 S.E.2d at 648.

Here, neither Beaufort County nor Webber owns property in Rose Island and thus the annexation cannot infringe upon either’s proprietary interest.  Further, Webber has failed to allege the annexation infringes on his statutory rights.  Instead, he alleges he has taxpayer standing.  This contention is contrary to the ruling in St. Andrews Public Service District.  As to Beaufort County, although it alleges the annexation deprives it of its statutory authority to govern the annexed area and generate tax and franchise revenue from it, it has failed to allege a sufficient infringement of any of its own statutory rights to achieve standing to challenge a 100% annexation.  Beaufort County is a creature of statute and the “rights” it alleges each either belong to the people of the county or are mere recitations of the county’s authority to operate a government to protect its citizens and their rights.


HUFF, STILWELL, and BEATTY, JJ., concur.

[1]        We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.