[image-1] Charleston City Council members tweaked the stricter short-term rental ordinance approved by Council a month ago Monday night, but decided to hold off on a final vote for another two weeks.

After months of work by the Planning Commission that included lessening the restrictions put forth by the Short Term Rental Task Force, Council voted to approve the Task Force’s recommendations instead during a packed three-hour discussion that veered toward protectionism and preservation.

City staff and the Short Term Rental Task Force initially recommended a 50-year age requirement for STR homes, but suburban residents and Council members like Gary White, who represents Daniel Island, argued that such a stringent requirement would effectively amount to a prohibition on short-term rentals in those areas.

Council decided on Monday that homes outside of the peninsula will not have an age requirement.

But the most impactful change is likely to come with the new prohibition on whole-house rentals. The Commission had previously recommended allowing whole-house rentals for 72 days out of the year, while some complained that it would wreak havoc in family neighborhoods concerned about loud party houses. Whole-house rentals are completely banned under the Task Force recommendations approved by Council.

In Class 1, which covers the Old and Historic District, Council agreed to keep the requirement that all homes operating STRs be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Class 2 covers the rest of the peninsula and carries a home age requirement of 50 years, meant to ward off opportunist developers and extra construction meant to be used as rental units on websites such as AirBnB and HomeAway.

Bed and breakfast and short-term rental rules for Cannonborough-Elliotborough overlay zone will not change.

Livability and Tourism director Dan Riccio went over enforcement tactics for listings that violate the proposed ordinance at a workshop earlier on Monday afternoon.

Riccio proposed having three city officers solely dedicated to enforcing the STR ordinance, monitor relevant software (Host Compliance, STR Helper), and investigate citizen complaints.

Mayor Tecklenburg also directed city staff to “standardize” the language on parking, bedroom and units amongst all three zones.

The ordinance was deferred for a second and third reading at the next City Council meeting on April 10 at 5 p.m. at City Hall.


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