Special council meeting debates rental rights in Mt. Pleasant

VIDEO: Special council meeting debates rental rights in Mt. Pleasant

MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC) - Mount Pleasant leaders will hold a special meeting Tuesday to revisit rental policies for homeowners, specifically the use of short-term rentals and accessory dwelling units.

The Old Village historic district is currently the only spot in town which does not allow short-term rentals. Some neighborhood groups have their restrictions, but town leaders are now trying to get on the same page on whether town rental rules need revising based on locals' feedback.

Some town residents say that not everyone is following existing rules on renting and more regulation is needed. Others say property owners should have a right to use their home as they want; some also say they rely on the supplemental income from renters.

Under current laws, an owner who does not live on-site may rent out their house for any length of time; however, an owner who lives on-site and wants to rent out one or more rooms short-term (less than 28 consecutive days), must apply for a Bed & Breakfast permit with the town in order to rent short-term.

A representative from Mount Pleasant's planning department said a total of six Bed & Breakfasts have been approved by the town. However, there are currently more than 300 hundred Mount Pleasant homes advertised on short-term rental site AirBnB.

On average, those homes rent for $170 a night.

Homeowners must also apply for a B&B permit to rent out accessory dwelling units. These are small, second homes on the same property lot, commonly referred to as "mother-in-law" suites.

Town council previously approved the building of accessory dwelling units as an alternative housing choice. The ADUs can't exceed 25 feet in height or exceed 850 square feet. These can be garage apartments, or other structures built adjacent or independent of the main home.
"The Town of Mount Pleasant has an ordinance in place regarding the use of ADUs and the requirements for property owners that may choose to rent there home on a short term basis," Mayor Linda Page said. "I am in support of short term rentals and ADUs in our community and the majority of citizens I speak with are not in favor of more government regulation of their property."

Under current town zoning, neighborhoods allowing ADUs include Carolina Park, Cassina Plantation, Central Mount Pleasant, I'On, Pepper Track, Pinckney Place, Seaside Farms, Wando Farms and Watermark.

According to Realtor.com, the median price of a Mount Pleasant home is more than $400,000.

Town council is expected to debate current rules at its 2 p.m. meeting. Councilman Gary Santos is hoping the planning commission will recommend action to town council.

Full information regarding ADU requirements can be found here: https://www.tompsc.com/DocumentCenter/View/1116

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