Folly Beach votes against capping short-term rentals

Published: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:00 PM EDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2022 at 11:49 PM EDT
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FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - A Lowcountry seaside city’s leaders voted against placing a cap on the number of short-term rentals allowed before a packed house of homeowners Tuesday night.

The city was expecting such a large crowd for Tuesday’s meeting that it put out signs all over city hall warning of the capacity of City Council chambers.

But after more than a dozen neighbors spoke, council members voted 5-2 to deny a proposed cap of 800 properties that are taxed as non-primary residences. Properties taxed as primary residences would not have been subject to the cap if the ordinance had passed.

A separate ordinance would have mandated that short-term rentals in single-family homes would have to rent for no shorter than a week.

City Council later amended that ordinance to say that all short-term rentals on the island must rent for at least two straight nights.

However, some homeowners say they were in favor of the cap, stating the proposed cap of 800 equaled a third of the available properties on the island.

“It will set a limit for investment STRs, and it will establish for the first time a clear and fixed ratio between resident housing and investment STRs, and I consider that very important,” Folly Beach resident John McFarland said.

Some neighbors say they would not be opposed to a question being added to the November ballot whether to cap short-term rentals.

However, the fate of that and this ordinance remains unclear.

correction: Editor's note: An earlier version of this story featured a quote from a Folly Beach resident. Folly Beach Municipal Clerk Wes Graham reached out to inform us that the quote was misattributed. We have since removed the original quote.

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