Special Mt. Pleasant meeting to debate short term rentals

Special Mt. Pleasant meeting to debate short term rentals
Some Mt. Pleasant neighbors aren't feeling very neighborly toward each other these days. On Tuesday, they met to sort out their differences through the help of a town committee.

"This is a terrifying thing to stand up here because basically I'm being outted today, Laurie Bixler said. Those of us who are short term rental owners in Mt. Pleasant and in Charleston were in hiding, whether we're doing the right thing or the wrong thing."

Bixler lost her businesses in the recession. She's been able to keep her Mt. Pleasant home by renting it short term and stays in her guest house while visitors are sleeping in the main house.

In fact, websites like VRBO and Airbnb feature hundreds of homes in Mount Pleasant, Charleston, and the beaches for short stays of a couple of days, or longer.

Property owners like Bixler say there's a benefit, especially as she relies on the extra income from guests

"There are people here, that want to remain in their houses, Bixler said. I would have lost my house. I don't know what I would do."

Short term rentals by owner, of less than 28 days, are currently allowed in Mt. Pleasant.  Neighbors aren't happy about extra noise and traffic.

"Neighbors don't want people coming for a week at a time, Tommy Knisley said. They've purchased that home. That's their family's home.

There's a place for rental properties at the beaches or other neighborhoods," Knisley added.

Starting Sept. 1, the Homeowners Association in the I'on neighborhood has banned short term rentals as well as bed and breakfast companies.

Short term rentals are illegal in most neighborhoods in the city of Charleston.

Mt. Pleasant officials are looking for a balance between property owners' rights--and the rights of their neighbors.

"I think it's very important we get so clear legislation, Rashanda Grant said. No one is saying that we don't want to pay taxes or that we should be completely exempt. That's certainly not the case.

Grant is a seventh generation Charlestonion, who inherited her familys James Island house. She now uses short term rentals to help maintain the home.

"If you have short term rentiers or you think theres a short term renter in your neighborhood, talk to your neighbors, Grant said. That's really what it boils down to."

"Talk to someone whose doing it, because I think a lot of the time it's a just a fear of the unknown that's causing a lot of the apprehension we've seen here today."

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