By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News
The city of Isle of Palms is continuing to tweak its noise ordinance, especially in Wild Dunes, where residents apparently are having issues with the Sweetgrass Inn. City Administrator Desiree Fragoso told City Council members at their Oct. 25 meeting that proposed changes in the law are based on the noise ordinance currently in effect on Kiawah Island. She said the city is seeking feedback from local residents and that staff has already met with people who live near the resort areas around 57th avenue. According to Fragoso, those wishing to file a complaint should contact the IOP Police Department’s non-emergency phone number, and an officer will respond. “It’s not good at all, and I think we need to do what we can to help them,” Council Member Jimmy Ward said. Council Member Katie Miars asked if the city has issued any citations for excessive noise.
“How many of these things are we letting go that are making people angrier and angrier?” Miars asked. Council Member Scott Pierce said he visited the area and that the resort has removed four of nine speakers, which, in his opinion, didn’t make much difference for nearby residents. “Just imagine nine surround sound Bose speakers up against your property that are playing music,” Pierce said. “Can the resort consider moving the remaining five speakers and replace them with directional speakers that are not pointed at the residential buildings? It seems to me that would be an easy fix.”’ Fragoso said city staff will ask the resort to act on Pierce’s request.
Police Chief Kevin Cornett told the Council that soon-to-be-operational software on the Department’s website will provide the opportunity for residents to complain about excess noise online and that a code enforcement officer would follow up on the situation. “In the meantime, our message is to call us, and we will respond,” Cornett said.
“The ordinance needs a little more work – a little tightening up,” Council Member Jan Anderson said. “Not just in Wild Dunes but also on Front Beach around the Windjammer.” In other action Oct. 25, the Council unanimously approved a plan to hire a full-time employee to serve in public relations and as the city’s tourism coordinator, with the salary and benefits costs shared by the city and the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The employee, who will report directly to the city administrator, will meet with the CVB once a week. The CVB’s share of the costs are to be paid out of the 2% state tax the city collects on short-term rentals.
The Council also heard from Rick Bradley about the results of a survey taken at three listening sessions on proposals to change the city’s zoning regulations concerning short term rentals. Bradley said 140 people attended the three sessions on Sept. 14, Sept. 21 and Sept. 28.