The Mount Pleasant Planning Commission deferred taking action on the town’s proposed short-term rental ordinance Wednesday night after commissioners said they had too many questions to make a decision.
The proposed ordinance will be discussed by Planning Commission at a special meeting next month instead of its regular meeting in order to allow for discussion without delaying other items in front of the commission. The Planning Commission is made up of residents appointed by Mount Pleasant Town Council.
“This ordinance is too important, and I think as commissioners, we need time to really digest what our citizens have said to us,” said Kathy Smith, a commissioner. “I am very much in favor of a special meeting, quite honestly. It affords us the time and it affords citizens the time.”
The Planning Commission heard nearly an hour of public comments, mostly from people supportive of the proposed ordinance and looking for a few changes, before commissioner Roy Neal made a motion to defer the short-term rental ordinance.
“I agree that there probably should be some type of program in place … but the reason I’m saying I think we should defer it is there are so many items,” Neal said. “And I could sit here and take staff’s time for the rest of the night just with my questions.”
Questions from the commissioners involved fire safety regulations, why a permit cost $400, parking requirements and whether it would be possible to create different tiers of short-term rentals within the regulations, among other things. Commissioners agreed to send their questions to Planning Commission Chair Joseph Wren, who will forward them to town staff to answer at the next meeting.
Mount Pleasant Planning Department staff has been working on an ordinance in conjunction with the town’s Planning Committee, which is made up of council members, for almost a year. Staff researched local trends, spoke with other municipalities, received public input and produced multiple ordinance drafts before Planning Committee voted last month to send the proposed ordinance to Planning Commission.