We are full and part-time residents, former City Council members, former committee members and former Planning Commission members. We are dedicated to preserving the residential nature of the island through the limitation of short term rental business licenses. We are not against short-term rentals. We are determined to maintain the equilibrium on the island so that the quality of life for residents does not diminish.
Why Us? Why Now?
It is evident from the workshops held to date that the majority of City Council likely will not act in a way that serves the best interests of the residents or preserves the residential nature of the island.
If any action is taken, it will be reduced to limitations so high they would be meaningless, or no cap at all.
As we look to Folly Beach, we realize those residents were forced to present a petition for referendum in order to be heard. While we cannot predict at this point what Council will do, it seems we are on a similar path.
The proposal we support is a clear compromise between high/unlimited licenses and the 33% saturation historically referenced by the real estate industry on the island.
A General Statement of Our Position Regarding the Impact
of the Issuance of an unlimited number of
Short-Term Rental Licenses (STRL) on the Isle of Palms' Quality of Life
We are dedicated to democratic participation and discussion. Our current positions and STRL amendment recommendations are not etched in stone and are subject to further discussion and refinement. We strongly believe that a thorough consideration of a proposal benchmarked against our historically referenced 33% short term rental footprint can lead to a broad consensus about the proper regulatory approach regarding STRL's. We support the following general principles and observations regarding STRL's on the Isle of Palms:
Health & Safety of Residents
Residential housing, and thus one’s home, is a critical component in sustaining a sense of community on the Isle of Palms and for enhancing the quality of life and the health, safety, and welfare of all those who reside on and visit the Isle of Palms.
Livability on IOP
An imbalance of transient housing on the Isle of Palms substantially changes the livability of Isle of Palms neighborhoods for those who live here full, or even part-time.
Protect Welfare of those who live & work
The principal role of Isle of Palms City Council is to protect the quality of life and the health, safety, and welfare of those who live, work and play on the island. The primary means to preserve these essential community goals available to Isle of Palms officials are business regulations and zoning ordinances.
Quality of Life
The failure to enact amended and updated short term rental license regulations and limitations as soon as possible on IOP will lead to additional adverse effects on the quality of life on IOP and deleterious impacts on infrastructure. IOP residents are either already experiencing or can foresee future problems with water and sewer capacity, traffic & parking congestion, environmental impacts, and the availability of long-term rental housing.
Act More Proactively
The Isle of Palms has quickly fallen behind its neighbors with regard to Short Term Rental License limitations. For example, Sullivan's Island, City of Charleston, unincorporated Charleston County, Kiawah Island, James Island, Mt. Pleasant, Folly Beach, Myrtle Beach and Beaufort all have more strict limitations. As these neighboring jurisdictions increasingly place more significant limits on the licensing of short term rentals and strengthen the rules by which short term rentals are regulated, the Isle of Palms will become a magnet for commercial short term rentals unless similar new limits are proposed, adopted, and enforced.
Maintain Recommended use of properties
Business regulations and ordinances and land use (zoning) should take precedence over the existing Isle of Palms Short Term Rental Ordinance. To reverse the priority of these ordinances would be to place the transient use of property associated with short term rentals and governed by the Short Term Rental Ordinance above the full and part-time residential use of property on the Isle of Palms as outlined in the relevant Isle of Palms zoning ordinances.
Control Zone Manipulation
Residential districts are the primary zones in which most dwellings and residences exist on the Isle of Palms. Their purpose is “To provide for quiet, low-density residential neighborhoods.” Short term rentals, particularly those that are created or developed for commercial or investment purposes, have, by their very nature, different uses or purposes than the intended purpose of this land-use ordinance, namely compatibility with single family residential living. Thus, the unchecked and unlimited issuance of STR licenses will overtake and undermine the original purpose of these zones.
Left unchecked and given the economics of supply and demand for short-term rental licenses, Isle of Palms will become an island dominated by transient housing. Homes and undeveloped lots are being increasingly sold and marketed on the Isle of Palms as either full-time or part-time short term rentals. Commercial enterprises are increasingly drawn to the Isle of Palms for the sole purpose of creating and developing short term rentals in these communities as investment opportunities and profit generators.
The majority of Isle of Palms residents support a diversity of housing uses, including full or part-time residences, as well as vacation rentals. Isle of Palms sense of community will be preserved if a balance of housing uses is maintained.
before it's too late
The significant increase in requests for short term rental licenses on the Isle of Palms and elsewhere in the Lowcountry of South Carolina has happened so rapidly that it has perhaps been challenging to regulate in a fair and balanced manner. However, the time to act is now. The Isle of Palms officials who support the proposals offered herein will earn support from our residential community.
iop revenue not affected
The proposal does not support a reduction in short-term rentals, hence no impact to current city financials.