Isle of Palms special council workshops about short-term rentals

Officials said the 19-year-old also spoke about her alleged cancer journey at universities and on a podcast.
Published: Jan. 23, 2023 at 7:15 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 23, 2023 at 9:42 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - The Isle of Palms City Council hosted two special workshop meetings to talk about short-term rentals in the month of January. The meetings offered a period for citizen comments where people could sign up to speak for three minutes each, followed by discussion between council members.

Councilman Blair Hahn says the meetings are to formally establish facts and hear from people.

“There was a lot of confusion about how many actual licenses are out there on the licenses that have been issued, how many of them are active, and where they were. And we agreed as a council on a set of numbers,” Hahn said.

In early December, the city council voted against a short pause on issuing short-term rental licenses.

Hahn is one of the members who did vote against the pause and says the city is still working to achieve a balance using other measures like noise and traffic enforcement to maintain the livability on the island.

He explains there are two types of short-term rental properties for single family homes on the island. One is people that live in the house being rented out. They are referred to in documents as 4% residents because they’re permanent residents on the island and they can rent their houses up to 70 days a year and still keep their residence status for tax purposes. The other group is 6% renters who are property owners and are not permanent residents of the island.

“And so we are now looking at whether or not to limit both groups or limit just one group. And if so, how do we limit that group? And those are the issues that we’re currently grappling with. How it turns out - I don’t know right now. I can’t see any way where we would limit 4% rentals on the island. Whether or not we limit 6% rentals, I think is yet to be seen,” Hahn said.

Tony Santiago lives on Isle of Palms, and he says the city needs to diversify its assets which includes having residents and rentals. But he says the council ultimately should serve the interests of the people who live there full-time.

“We need short-term rentals to what degree we need commercial resort properties to a degree They’re here already. We’re not going to get rid of them. The question is in whose best interest. We’re a municipality. The voting residents should be the number one priority. That’s just that simple.

The City of Isle of Palms uses the technology company Granicus house digital records and streamline local government services. As of Jan. 6, 2023 Granicus research shows Isle of Palms has 1,539 rental properties with an active profile online for renting. Of that number, 1,216 have had a documented stay within the last year, according to Granicus.

Santiago calls the relationship between residents and renters symbiotic, like in nature. He acknowledges they need each other but says the people who live there are the soul and essential part.

“That’s what it was like in resort towns like we’re a symbiotic relationship, and we have to live to each other. But the primary core organism is the residents in the voting jurisdiction,” Santiago explains.

The data also shows there are 56 properties actively advertising and renting without a license. In the agenda for the special meeting workshops, the city says it is pursuing compliance with these property owners and 8 have pending short-term rental licenses. The city says there are 34 pending short-term rental applications and of those, 27 have been pending for a month or more.

Santiago wants to see a limit on the number of short-term investment rentals.

“They do not want us to be the only community in the area without any type of restrictions on short-term rentals. Everybody will flood to us. And eventually the quality of the life, the livability, why people came to the islands will be deteriorated,” Santiago says.

Hahn says the council may or may not take any official action at upcoming meetings about short-term rentals, but called the special workshops helpful because they showcased information.

You can read the breakdown of 2022 STR license and activity on Isle of Palms here.