Folly Beach City Council proposes new rules to regulate short-term rentals


Folly Beach city officials have proposed new rules to regulate short term rentals as cities across the Lowcountry try to adapt to the booming temporary housing business.

"We have seen an explosive growth in short term rentals out here on Folly," said Spencer Whetmore, the city's administrator. "Just in the past year we've seen about 100 new units come online, and I think like many of the cities in the Charleston region, we're just struggling with how to best accommodate that rate. We want to allow the rentals, but we don't overly burden the residents.

She said officials are trying to look at different ways to regulate short term rentals, especially in the residential areas. The main focus, she said, is on noise, trash collection, and using rentals and event venues.

"We want to try to limit the size of events and occupancy, so things that would still allow an owner of an house to use it as a rental if they wish without overburdening their neighbors," Whetmore explained.

The proposal is to limit events to 49 people, according to Whetmore. A second proposal would prohibit amplified music, DJs, and bands at short term rentals.

Whetmore said staff members gathered information from people in the community including current rental managers, current single-family residents and current multi-family residents to try to develop a package of rules that was comprehensive.

The ordinance that will be presented on Tuesday includes drafted rules. From there, the ordinance will be remanded to the city planning commission. The commission will then work through the rules and hold a public hearing before presenting recommendations to city council.

After that, city council will hold a first and second reading as well as more public comment.

City Council meets Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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