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The Post and Courier featured a story by Prentiss Findlay on Thursday, December 14, 2006, which discusses MAJOR changes to NEW BUILDING PERMITS IN FOLLY BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA.

The Folly Beach Town Council will prohibit any new multi-family or commercial building permits immediately. In addition, on January 1, 2007, all new single-family home permits will be stopped. The reason that they are stopping any new construction is that they are hiring an independent contractor to come in and review & make recommendations to the Town’s ordinances/zoning book. The moratorium will last 6 months. In order to read the complete article, I’ve pasted it below:

FOLLY BEACH – By the thinnest of margins, Town Council has moved to shut down the flow of new building permits for up to six months.

New single-family home permits will be halted Jan. 1. New multi-family and commercial building permits were banned as of Tuesday night, officials said.

“It stops all new construction of everything,” said Mayor Carl B. Beckmann Jr. He said the moratorium prevents demolition but allows remodeling. People who already have a building permit are not affected, he said.

Beckmann cast the deciding vote on the issue Tuesday when Town Council approved the moratorium on a 4-3 vote. During the new building permit ban, the town will hire a consultant to evaluate and make recommendations on its zoning and land-use rules, supporters said.

“We’re way past the time period of taking a hard look at everything. This will give us an opportunity to do that. I feel very strongly that this will work, and work to our benefit,” Beckmann said.

Beckmann, who was elected mayor in April, said he is fulfilling a campaign promise to listen to the wishes of the island’s 2,100 residents.

“This is drawing a line in the sand. It’s not a good time for everybody, but you have to do it. Six months is not going to hurt anybody,” he said.

On Tuesday, council gave second approval to the moratorium. A final vote will be Jan. 23, but the ban already is in effect, Beckmann said. He said he doubts council will overturn the permit ban.

Beckmann said there has been an explosion of new homes and that the town planner is overworked. The town needs a new comprehensive development plan, he said.

Councilman Wallace Benson voted against the ban. “If you own a lot, you have a right to build a house on it. I don’t think it would hold up in a court of law,” he said.

Benson said he did not oppose a moratorium on multi-family housing but objects to blocking construction of single-family homes. “The community has to show a necessity to do it,” he said.

Councilwoman Laura Beck said she opposed the six-month moratorium for permits for single-family homes. She said the town should first hire a consultant to help rewrite zoning and land-use rules, find out how long that would take and then consider a moratorium based on that schedule.

“We can rewrite our ordinances with or without a moratorium.” she said. “I think it’s a good idea. I think we went about it the wrong way.”

Councilman Tim Goodwin, an opponent of the moratorium, said the town could have a building permit cap program rather than stopping new building permits.

Goodwin said he’s not sure that six months is long enough to accomplish a review of town zoning and land use.

Longtime island resident Florence O’Donnell said a single-family home at Folly Beach has come to mean as many as seven bedrooms and five bathrooms. “We really have to define single-family,” she said. O’Donnell, who moved to the island in the 1960s, said a lot of her friends have left Folly Beach because they don’t like how it has changed. “The changes are too drastic. We’re not leaving anything to our children.”

More than half of Folly’s homes are rentals, which affects the quality of life for residents, Beckmann said. He said residents are tired of homes off the front beach being rented to parties who disrupt the peace of the neighborhood.

“They were tired of complaining all the time and … council not doing anything,” he said.

Beckmann said he has not considered putting short-term rental rules on the agenda for Town Council.

Sullivan’s Island does not allow new short-term rentals, and the Isle of Palms Town Council in January will consider rules for short-term rentals.

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