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Although several residents protested, Isle of Palms (SC) Town Council preliminary approved a short-term rental ordinance on Tuesday.

This ordinance will allow the Council to have time to address the growing concerns of noise, litter, night time parties associated with renters that visit the Island for a short rental period. In addition, homes have been being used as “mini hotels” where up to 20 people are staying together in a dwelling which is an illegal use, according to some individuals.

Currently the definition of a short-term rental is one that is three months or less in duration. It also sets guidelines as to the maximum occupancy per bedroom of at least 150 sq. ft. 2 people. It also governs the number of cars allowed. Please see the complete Post and Courier article by Prentiss Findlay (2/28/07) for additional information:

ISLE OF PALMS – Despite protests from residents, Town Council gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a short-term rental ordinance that seeks to strike a balance between homeowners and vacationers who stay in residential areas.
Supporters said it gives the town another tool for addressing concerns about late-night partying, noise, litter and other nuisances that have been associated with island visitors in town for a short stay. Opponents said it legalizes commercial activity in family neighborhoods.

The ordinance defines a short-term rental as three months or less. It establishes a maximum overnight occupancy of two people to a bedroom of at least 150 square feet. It also has provisions governing the number of cars allowed.
Councilman John Marino voted against the ordinance. “I am concerned about our neighborhoods,” Marino said. “The little mom and pop rentals, they weren’t a problem.”

Now, the problem is that the island has new homes with up to 12 bedrooms, so-called “mini-hotels,” he said. “I personally don’t think this is really going to help that much,” he said.

His statements drew enthusiastic applause from an audience of more than 100 people who seemed to be mostly against the ordinance. Robert Johnston said the town needs to enforce its existing laws to address problems with short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. Fred Young suggested that the council adopt a one-week minimum short-term rental.

Rene Mueller suggested that the short-term rental ordinance be sent back to the planning commission. “This proposal simply makes legal that which is currently illegal,” Mueller said.

Nancy Mackey said the residents will make their displeasure known at the polls. “All of us will stand in the voting booth and decide whether you made the right decision,” she said.

Town Council approved three ordinances that would establish standards for short-term rentals enforced through a new Livability Court. The proposed ordinances are the result of a planning commission study of the adverse effects of short-term rentals. Council deferred action on whether to have a short-term rental cap, referring the issue back to the planning commission for further study. The island has 4,600 residences, and it has issued 1,634 rental licenses.

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