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Folly Beach short-term rentals rule change discussion moves forward

Folly Beach short-term rentals rule change debate heating up (WCIV)

New rules for short-term rentals was the hot topic at a Folly Beach City Council work session Wednesday.

City leaders discussed a proposed new ordinance adjusting rules for short-term rentals. They say the goal is to create a healthy balance for renters and year-round residents.

“The biggest thing is we’re a great destination for weddings and big events, and we have houses that cater to these big events,” said D.J. Rich, Folly Beach City Council member. “The problem is we also have residents that live here year-round and some of these events get out of control.”

Some of the changes proposed in the ordinance include:

  • The business license for a short term rental be revoked or suspended after the police or other City officials have issued four warnings or citations in a calendar year to tenants.
  • That the purpose of the regulations of short term rental licenses be expanded to include protection of the residential character of residential districts.
  • That all language referencing joint liability between owners and tenants for violations of nuisance ordinances (noise, trash, lighting, etc) be removed from the ordinance.
  • That the maximum overnight occupancy of a short-term rental be limited to 2 people per bedroom, plus 2 people per floor.
  • That short-term rental managers be required to evict any occupant receiving two citations during their visit. (Pending review by city attorney).
  • A 49 person event limit and the amplified music limits take effect on 8/1/18.
  • Prohibition on amplified music be extended to all amplified music, both indoor and outdoor.
  • A Neighborhood Preservation Overlay application process be removed from the ordinance.

The work session Wednesday came after the city's Planning Commission held two public hearings to discuss the ordinance. City officials say they got a significant amount of public feedback on the proposal, both at the hearings, and through email.

Folly leaders say the major areas of concern for stakeholders in the discussion were owner liability and a proposed neighborhood preservation zoning overlay. Occupancy limits and quality of life protections were also raised as concerns, city council members say.

City council will vote on the ordinance at its December 12 meeting.

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