February date set for Folly Beach residents to vote on short term rentals in special election

A date has been set for Folly Beach residents to vote on whether or not the city will limit investment short term rental licenses.
Published: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:07 PM EST|Updated: Dec. 29, 2022 at 4:28 PM EST
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FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - A date has been set for Folly Beach residents to vote on whether or not the city will limit investment short term rental licenses.

This comes after a citizen petition to cap short term rental licenses at 800 units, which represents about one third of the island.

After verifying the signatures, the city decided not to outright adopt the petition, but to put it to an island-wide vote.

Now residents are preparing to cast their ballots. The special election will be Feb. 7, 2023. The election is at-large and by majority. Permanent residents, or people whose primary address is on Folly Beach can vote. Voters must be registered by Jan. 8th to participate.

Ann Peets, a nearly decade long Folly resident, has been actively following the petition.

“Basically it’s every single-family homeowner with 4% tax status. Any condominium owner or any long-term renter whose primary residence is Folly Beach can vote,” Peets says.

The following precincts will be able to participate: Folly Beach 1, Folly Beach 2, James Island 1A, and James Island 1B. Polling will be from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Baptist Fellowship Hall (61 West Indian Folly Beach) on the day of the election.

Peets signed the original petition for a cap and plans to vote in favor of the cap. She says it’s important that every resident is prepared to vote and knows how the petition will affect them and Folly as a whole.

“For any information or answers or frequently asked questions as you’re getting ready to vote, we encourage you to check the Folly Beach Residents Facebook page, where we post all the facts and frequently asked questions,” Peets says.

If you cannot vote in person on Feb. 7 in the special election, you can vote early or absentee. Early voting is from Jan. 23 – Feb. 3 of 2023. Early voting hours are 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m., Monday through Friday at the Charleston County Board of Elections office (4367 Headquarters Rd. North Charleston, SC 29405). To learn how to absentee vote you can reach out to the Charleston County Board of Elections at 843-744-8683.

On behalf of those who signed the original petition, Peets says she is looking forward to the vote.

“We feel like we had a really good, high number of people turn out for the petition to really share their views. And we just hope that everybody remembers that to take it all the way through. They’ve got to go to this referendum and cast their ballot. But we are feeling very positive. We feel like there’s a lot of groundswell around making sure that Folly stays Folly and stays funky and family and livable, and basically that we can strike a balance with the investors on the island so that everybody can kind of keep things in a nice balance between us,” Peets says.

For full election board information, click here.

Click here to read the petition and its definitions.