Mayor Weaver Addresses Short-Term Rental Ordinance Revisions
Next week the Town Council will consider the revised short-term rental ordinance for final approval. Short-term rentals are an important part of the island’s economy, comprising over one-third of our properties. The majority of overnight visitors are generated through short-term rentals. They introduce future homeowners to the island and enable some property owners to make Kiawah their second home. Short-term rentals can also detract from the community. When not managed responsibly, they can detract from the quality of life for surrounding property owners. Concentrations of rental properties, regardless of how they are managed, can alter the overall character of neighborhoods.
The ordinance supports two distinct goals. The first is to regulate the operation of short-term rentals and provide more responsive enforcement of those regulations. The second is to preserve the residential character of the Kiawah’s single-family, residential neighborhoods. Establishing regulations that balance and satisfy the interests of everyone is difficult and probably not achievable. Over time, as the interests, ownership, and character of Kiawah change, I would expect these regulations to evolve as well, and future Town Councils will need to be open to making changes. My comments that follow describe the objectives of this ordinance and some next actions.