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Seabrook Island neighbors push for short-term rental cap, mayor says no cap needed

Published: Jun. 19, 2022 at 10:23 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 20, 2022 at 4:28 AM EDT
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SEABROOK ISLAND, S.C. (WCSC) - Seabrook Island neighbors are petitioning their leaders to cap the number of short-term rentals, stating there is overcrowding due to what they called over-tourism, but the mayor said the town has no plans to do so.

Seabrook Island homeowner Ted Flerlage says over 700 of his neighbors want to cap the number of short-term rentals on the island.

“What we’re trying to do is cap, not end the process of short-term rentals, cap at roughly the present numbers, evaluate what happens after that,” Flerlage said, “and then, determine whether or not we should lower the number of short-term rentals.”

As of June 19, there are 484 of these properties on the island, which residents said has led to overcrowding on the island’s streets and amenities.

Mayor John Gregg said for this year, data gathered over the past few months suggest otherwise.

“We’re not going to be looking at imposing limitations on the number of short-term rental units,” Gregg said.

Coastal Getaways owner Nancy Buck said more people are starting to call the island home, and good rentals are full for around 40% of the year.

She says all of her clients are property owners who rent to help offset the costs of the amenities, taxes and insurance.

“We’ve also gone from 35% permanent residents to 60% residents in the last two years,” Buck said. “Twenty-five percent of the properties have turned over since 2019.”

Buck also adds the majority of the amenities are mostly used by members and not rental guests.

However, the homeowners want the town’s government to hear them out.

“I’d like him to reconsider,” Flerlage said. “I’d like him to look at the reality and listen to the people who are property owners here, the residents on the island. You know, 700 people is a big number.”

“Let’s wait and see how this year goes,” Buck said. “They instituted the short-term rental ordinance couple of years ago, or actually, last year, so let’s give it a full year to see how it goes.”

Both Buck and the homeowners said they want to work out their differences over the next several months to come up with a solution that works for everyone.

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