Endorsed by the Community
Five years ago, there was one short term rental in our quiet, residential neighborhood. Today, that rental is one of five we can see from our kitchen window. Each of these residences represents a friendly face who has moved away as house by house our neighborhood is becoming a revolving door of weekly visitors in the season and darkened windows in the off-season. Though we feel extraordinarily lucky to live in a place where so many people can only visit, it’s not the beaches, the restaurants and the conveniences that root us here. It’s the people. In 30 years of home ownership we have never experienced anything like the community in Isle of Palms. It’s unusually special and extraordinarily rare. While we understand that living in a vacation destination comes with compromises, we are seeing visual evidence of that balance gradually eroding. This is why we’re so passionate about protecting what remains.
Former IOP Councilmember
Doing nothing about STRs right now is like Blockbuster Video ignoring Netflix. If we don't act now to define the community we want and build policy to support that definition, IOP will forever lose our small-town residential vibe. As a 3rd generation IOP resident (raising 4th gen kids!), I'm not trying to fight change. I am trying to preserve the community I've loved all my life. As a former council member, I know how our budget works and I understand the need and desire for STRs on the island. What I don't understand is the lack of common sense policy protecting our neighborhoods. At some point along the way we began ignoring the “family” part of our single-family residential districts and the “residential” part of our Planned Residential Development District. It is time to rediscover those definitions. I am begging my neighbors, this community, and our leaders to take meaningful action to protect our residential areas.
Former IOP Councilmember
Isle of Palms has for many years maintained a fragile balance between residents, day trippers and vacation renters. Forces outside our community are leading to significant increases in traffic and modest family homes being replaced by mini-hotels. Many other communities have already acknowledged this trend and have acted by placing caps and controls on short-term rentals. Our City Council has chosen to ignore this gathering storm and left us, the citizens, to fend for ourselves. When the government won’t act, the citizens must. It is time to take our island’s future into our own hands and leave City Council to its well-practiced “talk, talk some more, do nothing, repeat”. Time will not stand still while we wait. I support Preserve IOP Now and a referendum initiative
Former IOP Councilmember
When I started my civic engagement with the Isle of Palms back in 2007, there were powerful forces at play then just as there are now. But I had one vision then and it remains the same today. “To preserve my DREAM of a residential island with a sense of community”. Let’s continue to build that community, it’s a never ending process.
As full time residents and one time rental property owners, we understand the concern one may have about restricting the right to use your property as you please. The restriction of rental property licensing here on Isle of Palms has been discussed for at least 20 years that we have owned property here. We truly believe we are at a tipping point and now is the time to do something about it. If we don’t, what was a nice quiet residential Island with some rental properties will become a rental property Island with a few residential homes. With that being said, we believe Councilmember Pierce’s plan as supported by Preserve IOP Now, addressing the residents’ concerns for the increase in short term rentals, as well as property owners who want to rent, is a good one. We unfortunately have a council who is not totally supportive in addressing the residents’ concerns and this issue will not take care of itself. If we don’t get something approved through council, we recommend doing what is necessary to get the plan on the ballot as a referendum item and let the residents decide. A reminder to everyone should be how difficult it is trying to get off and on the island at check out or check in time on any given Saturday or Sunday in the summer and the fact that this is just the beginning.
Christine Owens & Vincent DiGangi
Former IOP Planning Commission Member
The failure of our IOP Council to impose a moratorium has now led to increased urgency to “simply do their job.” Their job is not more “due diligence”. It is to act based on the best available data and vote to place a reasonable cap on STR’s. The IOP Planning Commission, and past Councils have debated this issue for many years. The proposal put forth by Councilman Pierce protects the property rights of all current IOP property owners. Failure to pass a reasonable cap will most assuredly lead to a binding voter referendum. This will be a divisive community embarrassment to Council, as the likely outcome will mimic the results of Folly Beach. IOP can not be in the position of being “ the only dry sponge in the puddle” with an expectation of absorbing all local corporate/commercial STR investor interest or new 6% off-island non-resident interest.
Former IOP Councilmember
As a former member of the Board of Zoning Appeals, I support the efforts of Preserve IOP Now to have reasonable limitations on short term rentals in our residentially zoned neighborhoods enacted by City Council. The integrity of our established residential neighborhoods can only be maintained by limiting the number of commercial short term rental uses in them. I spent my tenure on BOZA upholding our zoning ordinances. In the course of our meetings, we routinely granted approval of home business occupations. In doing so, we often imposed reasonable restrictions on home businesses, including a limit on the number of home business occupation-related visitors per day and the frequency of any deliveries. Short term rental use in those same neighborhoods should be reasonably restricted as well
Former IOP Board of Zoning Appeals Member
As the Project Leader for the Island Turtle Team under SCDNR, I have seen a deterioration of sea turtle nesting habitat in the last 25 years. Once dark beaches with wide dunes and houses set back from the ocean, are being replaced by massive houses, with lights looming over the beach that discourage nesting sea turtles and sometimes disorient loggerhead hatchlings. It seems that the time has come to consider some reasonable conservation of the nesting habitat and the quality of life for our residents that we have left before it gets even worse. Likewise, I am concerned about negative impacts on our water quality, air quality, traffic congestion, and the amount of litter and pollution on our beach and elsewhere on this island if there are more people on the beach and more houses. I am not advocating getting rid of any rental licenses, but only hoping for a balance and keeping things the way they have been before it gets out of control.
Island Turtle Team & IOP Enviornmental Advisory Committee Member
It is an axiom of nature that systems seek equilibrium. The human body is a perfect example, in order to maintain its well-being it seeks to keep all of its systems in equilibrium for its health. The same is true for a healthy residential island community. It too has many systems but the keys to the previous statement are the terms residential and community. Communities cannot exist if there are no residents. So to protect the island we so dearly love it is necessary to encourage, promote and protect the residential characteristics of this island. That is why we have zoning. Its job is to maintain equilibrium through a healthy balance of residential properties, investment properties and commercial properties.
I encourage all residents to take the time to study the facts on the Preserve IOP Now website and consider the reasonable proposal presented. If we don’t rein in the influx of STR’s operating commercial businesses in our residentially zoned neighborhoods, as ALL the surrounding communities are doing, we risk losing our island’s sense of community and the very reason we all moved here. If this city council fails us and refuses to protect the residential character of our neighborhoods, then it is incumbent upon us, the residents, to act.
IOP Resident for 31 years
The Isle of Palms hasn’t “always” been any one thing. There have been, are and will be various elements at play on the island and these elements should be managed in a way that allows each to thrive. The enactment of limitations on short term rentals by surrounding municipalities means the Isle of Palms can no longer live in the past. Pressures from those limitations will change us from a family-friendly residential island to the only investment option in town, driving up demand and irreparably damaging the residential nature of the island. The key to a sustainable residential future rests in the proposal advanced by Preserve IOP Now. It is rooted in compromise and should be embraced by every element of the island as a way to preserve our historic, fragile balance.