FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Folly Beach residents voted to decide if a cap should be placed on the number of short-term rentals on the island.
“This is our referendum vote today on whether to put a cap on short-term rentals,” Folly Beach resident Elton Culpepper said.
There are currently more than 1100 active short-term rentals on the island, however the cap would limit that number to 800.
“It was put in as an arbitrary number earlier on because basically that was at the time the petition was proposed,” Folly Beach resident Ann Peets said.
The petition was proposed by a group of residents who go by Save Folly’s Future. They say the presence of too many short-term rentals has diminished their quality of life.
“Some of them work really well,” Peets said, “the landlords are great, and they really manage them well. But the downside of others is that the partying has gotten out of hand. We have people racing golf carts in the middle of the night. We have people lighting up fireworks in the street.”
They also believe the rentals put a lot of strain on the city’s resources and infrastructure.
“It adds stress to the traffic on the island,” Folly Beach resident Bubba Catoe said. “It adds stress to the municipal works; the trash pickup, the response from our public safety.”
But some residents are against the proposed cap because they believe it would adversely affect their home’s property value.
“This cap starts us on the progressive path to becoming Sullivan’s Island,” Culpepper said. “They want 800 now, then they want 600 later, 400, 200. Sullivan’s Island doesn’t have the uniqueness we have here at Folly Beach. I don’t want that type of lifestyle.”
Residents are hoping Tuesday’s election turns out in their favor.
“I’d like to see the vote be yes in favor of an investment short-term rental cap,” Catoe said.
“I’m very optimistic,” Culpepper said.
“We’re hoping for a yes vote to cap those investment short-term rentals going forward,” Peets said.
The unofficial election results provided by the Charleston County Board of Elections: 655 YES // 578 NO.