Short-term Rental Cap On Isle Of Palm’s Horizon

By Brian Sherman for The Island Eye News

The Isle of Palms Planning Commission is in the process of completing work on new short-term rental regulations that are similar to those that have been implemented on Kiawah Island, according to Director of Building, Planning and Zoning Douglas Kerr. Kerr updated the IOP City Council on the Planning Commission’s proposal at the Council’s May 24 meeting. He said the Commission’s recommendations probably will be finalized June 8 and that a workshop with Council members would be scheduled shortly after that. “What I believe they’re going to recommend is going to be a program that’s very similar to what Kiawah has successfully implemented,” Kerr told the Council. 

“It is a system that establishes a maximum number of short-term rentals in areas that currently have a low number of rentals.” Kerr said the program would exempt areas that already have a fairly high number of shortterm rentals, such as Ocean Boulevard, Palm Boulevard, condominium complexes, Palmetto Boulevard in Wild Dunes and the commercial district.

All other areas would have a cap that is approximately 10% above the current number of short-term rentals. 

“It gives a little bit of room. I guess growth is a bad term because it would be kind of a shuffling of numbers eventually, but it would allow some wiggle room and movement of rentals,” Kerr said. 

Council Member Katie Miars asked if the plan would include some sort of exemption for residents whose family has lived in a home for an extended period of time. “It’s obviously not someone who’s coming in from the outside and using this as a business opportunity but someone who’s using it as a “keep the house” situation,” Miars stated. Kerr said the IOP Planning Commission had discussed that scenario but added that under the Kiawah model, the short-term rental license does not transfer if a house is sold. He said the next person on the waiting list would get the license. Council Member Jan Anderson asked if the plan would account for people who obtain a short-term license specifically to increase the value of the home – even though they have no intention of ever renting it. 

Kerr responded that on Kiawah, there is a requirement for a certain level of rental income or at least proof that the owner is making a concerted effort to rent the house. “People with no intention of ever renting would potentially be denied the ability to get a license,” Kerr said. “The friction comes when we actually meet the cap.” 

Council Member Blair Hahn suggested that the committee talk with an attorney about the issue of transferring the short term rental license. 

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