COLUMBIA, S.C. (WCBD) – Leaders from across the Lowcountry were in Columbia this week talking about the future of short-term rentals in South Carolina.

Lawmakers were discussing House Bill 3253, which would take the power to regulate short-term rentals away from local municipalities and instead put it into the hands of the state.

Several mayors, including those from Mount Pleasant, Goose Creek, Isle of Palms, and Edisto Beach were in attendance and shared their thoughts on the proposed bill.

Some of the mayors were against the bill while others, like a business owner from Folly Beach, were in favor of the measure because they believe it would streamline things.

“Thirty years ago, Center Street was largely boarded up. There simply weren’t enough tourists coming to town to support businesses. Families were losing their homes because they couldn’t pay their rising property taxes – then something great happened. AirBnb and VRBO were invented. People could then rent out their properties directly, subsidize their income and pay their property taxes. Businesses began to flourish on Center Street.”

“We didn’t ban short-term rentals, but when they came about – before we had any regulations – the first thing to disappear from Mount Pleasant was the affordable housing that we had. It was the older houses, the ones that are not in neighborhoods that have the fancy new convenances and restrictions and HOAs that don’t allow them,” said Mount Pleasant Mayor Will Haynie. “So, in a town like Mount Pleasant- if you pass a law like this, you are really picking on people who live in older neighborhoods who have lived there longer who are going to see houses bought up in their neighborhood for investment purposes not to be neighbors.”

The committee will decide whether to advance the bill at a later date.