FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – The future of short-term rentals on Folly Beach are still up in the air after a long discussion from city leaders Wednesday night.
Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin says city leaders need to decide if there should be a cap on the number of rental properties are allowed as 41% percent of the beach is short-term rentals.
“I said to the council folks, this is a time for you to decide what you want it to look like. Do you want 80% residential and 20% rentals? This is where this is at,” says Mayor Goodwin.
Some city council members say looking at the best outcome for residents needs to be taken into consideration as well.
“We need livability and we have to control that. There needs to be a balance between short-term rentals and permanent residents,” says Folly Beach City Councilmember Billy Grooms.
Some people who live around town say new policies need to be in place.
“We’re never going to get rid of short-term rentals and that’s fine, but let’s just make them a little better for everybody,” says Mary Hadley, who lives on Folly Beach.
Hadley has lived on Folly Beach since 2014 and also works for a short-term rental company. She says she has short-term rentals in front and behind her house that are frequently rented out.
“It needs to be addressed more. There needs to be more accountability since more Vrbo’s and Airbnb’s have come up,” says Hadley.
Hadley says policies need to be enforced soon because she has seen dangerous rental situations.
“This spring we had over 100 underage high school kids renting the houses across from me. Their parents rent them illegally. It could’ve been an unsafe thing, but it was an unsafe thing,” she says.
Residents say they want what’s best for Folly Beach, but also what’s best for their own lives.
“It’s a beach community, we love it, and realize people want to be here. Let’s see what we can do to make it a livable place for those of us who are full-time,” says Hadley.
Mayor Goodwin says city council plans on having a first reading of the short-term rental ordinance by July or August.