Proposed short-term rental regulations on Tybee Island

Proposed short-term rental regulations on Tybee Island

TYBEE ISLAND, GA (WTOC) - Changes could be coming for many of the people who visit and vacation on Tybee Island.

City officials are considering regulating short-term vacation rentals there, but it's causing a bit of confusion.

The goal is to address problems the island has had with past renters, particularly problems with parking, noise and over-occupancy of these rental properties. But it doesn't seem a solution is as clear-cut.

"This is the result of the apartment behind here - the little house that rents - because they drove over the yard," said Diane Hosti Ring, Tybee Island resident.

Ring and her sisters live near a number of vacation rentals on Tybee, and they had to install posts to keep those renters from driving and parking on their property. But for the most part, she said the nearby renters don't bother her all too much.

"Like I say, I love people, so it really is not an awful problem for me," said Ring.

That seemed to be a theme at Monday's Planning Commission meeting: confusion over pinpointing the source of the problem.

The commission was looking at two versions of the proposed ordinance. The shorter of the two would only require all rental properties to be registered with the city. The longer version is stricter and would impose limits on occupancy and parking among other regulations.

"We have a lot of these ordinances in place. Why do we need to go write another ordinance where we're repeating ourselves?" asked Tybee City Councilwoman Wanda Doyle.

That concern was expressed by both commissioners and those in the audience, that perhaps this proposal is too broad.

"If you're going to make an ordinance that applies to people's behavior, and that's really what we're talking about here, personal behavior, then that ordinance has to apply not only to the people who come here and spend their money as guests, but also people who own homes here and use those properties in the same fashion," said Keith Gay, Tybee Beach Vacation Rentals.

"No disrespect to the person that might have drafted these, but I think there does need to be some work done on this, and I hate to tell you, but I think you guys are the ones that ought to do it," said Lawanna Tsoulous, part-time resident and owns rentals.

That was the consensus of the Planning Commision Monday, that these drafts are not clear enough and there are still too many questions to answer. They recommended to city council that this proposal go back to the drawing board.