ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCBD) – The council chamber at city hall was filled with residents during tonight’s workshop as city officials and residents hoped to find some clarity on how they should handle this matter going forward.
Isle of Palms city leaders are listening to island residents regarding their stance on short-term rentals.
“Tonight is the third in a series of meetings we’ve been having on short-term rental workshops,” Isle of Palms Mayor Phillip Pounds said. “This is the first one in February; a series of just trying to define what success is going to look like at the end of the day. Make sure we good data, make sure we have good metrics.”
Leaders say they have hosted a number of workshops and listening sessions focused on short-term rentals in the last six months because they are vital to the city.
“Short-term rentals are critical to our island from a revenue standpoint,” Pounds said.
The number of short-term rentals on the island now exceeds 1500. City Council is now considering implementing a cap to limit that number; something several neighbors are in favor of.
“I do believe that it’s time to that council act on this particular item before it is too late,” one Isle of Palms resident said.
“Focus on restricting investment short-term rentals and protect the city,” one neighbor said, “and the residents you serve.”
“Do not make a deal with the devil,” one Isle of Palms resident said. “Do not sell our city, your city, to Airbnb and other STR companies.”
Neighbors believe the steady influx of short-term rentals will lead to the island losing its close-knit community feel.
“To leave the Isle of Palms as the only beach community in the region without a plan for limiting new short-term rental licenses,” one neighbor said, “will result in our neighborhoods being overrun by investment groups looking for rental property.”
As the island’s peak short-term rental season quickly approaches, Pounds says he hopes to have this matter resolved soon.
“All of our short-term rental licenses come due at the end of April this year,” he said. “So, I’d certainly love to have something decided by then, if not before, for sure.”
Folly Beach will vote on short-term rentals Tuesday, February 7.