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Isle Of Palms Tackles Noise Ordinance

By Kathryn Casey, Island Eye News Staff Report


Over the past year, some Isle of Palms residents have been complaining to city council about the noise levels on the island, emanating from both restaurants and bars, and residences. Some residents have expressed a desire that the city enact a stronger noise ordinance, others that the current one be enforced more stringently. Those opposed to any changes say that the commercial district and the music it produces gives the island its “chill vibes,” as well as generating substantial revenue for the island.

At the city council meeting held on July 28, 2015, council voted on a new ordinance requiring short term rental owners to post written notices with information about the city’s noise ordinance on exterior decks, porches, patios, pools or other gathering areas. This new ordinance is designed to help mitigate the frequent complaints to the police by residents of noisy short term rentals throughout the season. Prior to the vote, some members of council were not in favor of the new ordinance.

The ordinance is only as good as its enforcement,” councilmember Loftus said, implying that simply posting more signs on properties won’t do anyone any good unless the police are enforcing the ordinance itself. However, as the discussion continued, most of the council voiced approval of the added ordinance.

What the signs look like will go a far way,” councilmember Bergwerf said. In the end, the motion carried with a unanimous vote in favor of adding Ordinance 2015-7 to the city’s books.

The existing noise ordinance also manages the sounds emanating from island restaurants and the commercial district. This winter there were numerous complaints from neighbors about the outdoor music played at Morgan Creek Grill. These prompted council to consider altering the current noise ordinance. Last October, Morgan Creek Grill was forced to cancel all live music played outdoors at the establishment, and the management has been working with the city to mitigate the perceived noise issue. This summer, a “sound dimming” outdoor stage was constructed and, with permission from the city, Morgan Creek Grill has begun testing this past month, starting on the morning of Tuesday, July 28. The tests have been conducted over a three hour period, often during happy hour, and include different types of musicians and instruments.

After last week’s storms, the final days of sound testing have been postponed and will finish up this week.

If you are a neighbor or local resident, the Morgan Creek Grill encourages all to come by during and after the sound tests and give feedback, or contact Carla Pope at or 843.810.2098.

The results of the sound testing will be presented and discussed at the next IOP city council meeting on Tuesday, August 25 at 6 p.m.


    • Kathy on August 22, 2015 at 12:50 pm

    Have you seen what the placard says? This greatly concerns me as an owner of a vacation rental on IOP. I would not have even known about this unless your paper had published this. I contact the city to get a copy of the ordinance and the placard. The placard reads:
    “Please respect the privacy of your neighbors. The noise ordinance is strictly enforced and prohibits any noise that disturbs the quiet, comfort or repose of any person in any dwelling at any time. Additionally, absolute quiet is required Sunday through Thursday from 10pm to 10am and Friday and Saturday 11pm to 10am.”
    First, there is a huge security issue. My home is on Palm Boulevard and people coming to the beach are allowed to park directly in front of my house. My porch is highly visible. Placing this sign “outside in a conspicuous place” on every balcony, deck and outdoor area where people might gather which the ordinance requires, places my property at risk as it publicly announces this is a vacation rental and might be unoccupied.
    Second, how do we tell our guests to avoid “any noise that disturbs the quiet,comfort or repose of any person in any dwelling at any time”? How do we accomplish “absolute quiet”?
    Do these very difficult strict standards for noise apply to residents as well?

    • Marvin on November 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I feel two signs placed most visible would be less sight and still effective.

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