Isle of Palms City Council votes against short-term rental moratorium

Isle of Palms City Council members will hear the first reading of a plan to temporarily block short-term rentals in a special meeting Tuesday afternoon.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 2:08 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:48 PM EST
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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - The Isle of Palms City Council did not support a moratorium or pause on issuing new short-term rental licenses. The agenda item at a Dec. 6 special meeting garnered a lot of attention.

Many people spoke, both for and against the moratorium, at the meeting. One person presented a petition with more than 600 signatures she said was ‘mostly from residents’ against the pause. The property owner of Wild Dunes also spoke on behalf of some residents against the ordinance.

But Beverly Miller is one of many who said they wanted to see the moratorium pass. She has also owned a short-term rental on the island.

“Speaking for myself, I don’t want our city to be the last city who puts together any kind of restriction -- and I call it a restriction -- in order to find some balance between the residents and the short-term rental operators. Because having been on both sides, we’re not saying you don’t have any. You do want to accommodate the vacationers and the rental market. But you also need to find that quality of life for the residents,” Miller said.

Council member Blair Hahn voted against the moratorium.

“It appears to me that the issue is not so much short-term rentals as it is an explosion of traffic in noise and chaos on certain through freeways on our on our island. So if we can control that, I think we can control the concerns and the short-term rental issue will take care of itself,” Hahn said.

He said going forward the council will work hard to enforce speed limits, noise ordinances and other issues to protect the quality of life.

According to the council as of Dec. 5, 2022 there are 1678 licenses with 211 applications coming in since June.

Council member Jan Anderson says the more than 1600 licenses make up more than a third of the island.  She voted in favor of the moratorium. “We don’t want to kill the rental market. We just want to manage it.  We are now the only beach community in the Charleston area with an unlimited short-term rental opportunity.”

She goes on to say only 50 of the current short-term rental licenses are to residents. Council member Scott Peirce also expressed support for the moratorium as a short opportunity to evaluate the situation.

The council overall voted against the moratorium. For now, there won’t be a pause on issuing new licenses or a cap on how many are allowed.

City council asked staff members at its Nov. 15 regular meeting to prepare a 6-month moratorium for the council to consider at Tuesday afternoon’s meeting.

The agenda states the moratorium would “allow city council to evaluate the short-term rental regulations recommended by the planning commission.”

The document also says over the last few months the city received “several hundred new business license applications for short-term rentals which represents an exponentiation increase in applications.”

After Tuesday’s first reading, the moratorium must go through a public hearing and second reading before it could be ratified.