Beaufort considers changes to short-term rental rules

Flickr user thetruthabout

In his latest, weekly email blast Beaufort Mayor Billy Keyserling says the City Council is considering changes to the city's short-term rental rules.

Short-term rentals in the city are anything less than 30 days, and right now they're largely not allowed.

Here's part of Keyserling's email:

the past several months, there has been considerable discussion about the
appropriateness of short term rentals outside of commercial areas.  A
focus group, including some who are supportive and others who are not has
been working and will eventually make a recommendation to City Council. 
To broaden the conversation and to ensure that as many people as possible are
heard, there will be a public meeting next Tuesday November 30th at 5:30 PM at City
Hall. I
urge those who can to attend, to learn about the issue and make your thoughts

The rest of the email is copied and pasted below, but again, the public hearing on this issue is Tuesday at 5:30 at City Hall.




City of Beaufort Department of Planning and Development Services




         Interested Persons

Libby Anderson, Planning Director  525-7012

DATE:         November
23, 2010

SUBJECT:   Ordinance Revision
to Permit Short Term Rentals in Residential Neighborhoods



The City of Beaufort has received an application to revise the
Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) as it pertains to short term rental of
residential dwellings. You are invited to a meeting on Tuesday, November 30 at 5:30
P.M., to ask questions on the proposed ordinance change and/or offer your
comments. The meeting will be held in the Council Chambers of Beaufort City
Hall, 1911 Boundary Street


Short Term Rental is defined in the UDO as follows:

Short Term Rental.
A single-family or individual two-family or multifamily dwelling that is
available for use or is used for accommodations or lodging of guests paying a
fee or other compensation for a period of less than 30 days.


Short term rentals are currently not permitted in
residential zoning districts (R-1, R-2, R-3, R-4, TBR, and GR). Short term
rentals are permitted in the Neighborhood Commercial, Office
Commercial, General Commercial, and Medical Districts. The permitting process
for short term rentals in residential neighborhoods is proposed to be through
a Special Exception. Special Exceptions are approved by the Zoning Board of
Appeals (ZBOA) under the procedures and using the criteria found in Section
3.16 of the UDO (see attachment). Review of special exception applications
include a public hearing which is advertised in the newspaper. The property
is posted with a sign and the adjoining property owners are notified by mail.
The Special Exception process allows staff and the public to take a close
look at the proposal and the impact on adjacent property. The ZBOA has the
authority to attach conditions to approval of a Special Exception to minimize
or mitigate any potential negative impacts.


The conditions under which short term
rentals would be approved are outlined in the attachment. These are the
minimum conditions under which the use would be permitted; the ZBOA can
attach additional conditions to their approval of the application. Note that
several alternatives have been proposed regarding condition #1 which pertains
to location of the activity. Staff would like your input on how and where you
think short term rentals should be located and how they should be managed. At
the November 30 meeting, staff will review the proposed amendment and then
open the floor for public questions and comments. Staff will take notes on
the public comments that the Planning Commission and City Council can use in
their deliberation on the issue. Note that the Planning Commission will
consider this ordinance amendment at their meeting on Monday, December 13.
Public comment is welcome at that meeting with begins at 5:30 P.M. and will
be held in the Council Chambers.


You may also want to pose questions or
comments on this issue by mail or e-mail. I can be reached at City of
Beaufort, 1911 Boundary Street, Beaufort, 29902; at (843) 525-7012; or I look forward to your comments on
this important issue.




Proposal Considered:


Short Term Rental in Residential

Proposed Conditions


1.      A.  Within a residential
zoning district (R-1 to R-4, GR, and TBR), only one short term rental is
permitted per block or every 400', whichever is less. (This is to prevent
an entire block or street from becoming primarily short term rentals.)


B. A short term rental unit must be located within 400' (about
one block)
of a commercially zoned lot. (This would prohibit short
term rentals from locating in the middle of a residential neighborhood, but
would allow them to locate a certain distance from a commercial corridor.)


C. Short term rentals are only permitted in accessory dwelling
units where the owner lives on the premises in the primary dwelling. (This
would provide de-facto management of the unit and would limit short term
rentals to those lots that include an accessory dwelling unit. In this case,
the units might be permitted as conditional use-review by staff-rather than
going through the special exception process.)


A and C, or B and C.


Maximum occupancy to be determined on a case-by-case basis during the special
exception process based on the number of bedrooms in the structure and
parking availability.


Minimum 2-night stay.


Adequate on-site parking based on the number of adults that are permitted in
the unit. Parking must be located to the side or rear of the dwelling (i.e.,
the front yard cannot be used for parking). Tenants must use the on-site
parking and not park in the street.


On-site signage is prohibited.


No pets left unattended outside.


No outside amplified music.


A property management plan must be developed and approved as part of the
special exception process.


Before the business license is renewed for an approved short term rental
unit, an administrative review of any complaints or property maintenance will
be conducted.


Approval of the special exception runs with the ownership of the property. If
the property ownership changes, approval of the special exception is null and
void and a new special exception will be needed to use the dwelling for short
term rental.






(How Special Exceptions normally work)


Special Exceptions


Special exceptions shall be used to permit uses subject to the
terms and conditions for the uses set forth for such uses in this UDO. 
Uses permitted by special exception are declared to possess characteristics
which require certain controls in order to insure compatibility with other
uses in the zoning district within which they are proposed.  The Zoning
Board of Appeals shall hear and decide requests for special exceptions.


A special exception application form as published by the
Administrator and appropriate fee as required by Section 3.1 shall be
required, along with such accompanying material as is required to ensure
compliance with the criteria listed below.

Approval Process

Review and Report

The Administrator shall prepare a staff report that reviews the
proposed development in light of the Comprehensive Plan, the review criteria
listed below, and the requirements of this UDO.  A copy of the report
shall be provided to the Zoning Board of Appeals and the applicant before the
scheduled hearing.


A courtesy notice of any Special Exception Application shall be
provided by US Mail to all property owners within 200 feet of the subject
property. Failure to provide such notice shall not be considered a
jurisdictional defect, provided that published notice in accordance with
Section 3.1 has been provided.

Action by Board of Zoning Appeals

posted and mailed notice in accordance with Section 3.1 Approval Procedures,
the Zoning Board of Appeals shall hold a public hearing on the Special
Exception application.

review of the application and the public hearing, the Zoning Board of Appeals
shall make a written finding and approve, approve with modifications or
conditions, or disapprove the request.

approval, or approval with modifications or conditions is granted, the
decision shall be communicated in writing within 15 days to the applicant,
and the applicant shall then be authorized to submit a development permit
application consistent with this ordinance.

Special Exception Review Criteria

The Zoning Board of Appeals may approve an application for a Special
Exception where it reasonably determines that there will be no significant
negative impact upon residents of surrounding property or upon the general
public.  The Board shall consider the following criteria in its review:

the proposed use is compatible with existing land uses in the surrounding

the proposed site plan, circulation plan, and schematic architectural designs
are harmonious with the character of the surrounding area;

likely impact on public infrastructure such as roads, parking facilities, and
water and sewer systems, and on public services such as police and fire
protection and solid waste collection, and the ability of existing
infrastructure and services to adequately service the proposed use without
negatively impacting existing uses in the area and in the City;

the proposed use and designs are in general conformity with the City's
Comprehensive Plan and any other plans officially adopted by the City;

impact on public health and safety; and

creation of noise, lights, fumes, dust, smoke, vibration, fire hazard, or
other injurious or obnoxious impacts.


The Zoning Board of Appeals may impose such conditions and
restrictions upon the application as may be necessary to minimize or mitigate
any potential adverse impacts of the proposed use.


Any party aggrieved by the Zoning Board of Appeals' decision may
appeal such determination to the Circuit Court of Beaufort County by filing
with the Clerk of the Court a written petition within 30 days after the
decision of the Board is postmarked, in accordance with the procedures found
in Section 3.17 of this UDO.