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Health Insurance Plans Made Easy and Affordable
Trying to find the right health insurance plan for you or your family can be a complex, often difficult task. Just trying to find the best carrier can be stressful and confusing on its own. That is why the Health Insurance Solutions was founded - to take the stress and confusion out of the health insurance process. Our goal is to help hardworking men and women find the best protection for their unique needs.
Unlike some health insurance brokers, we make every effort to learn about the kind of health insurance you really need. When you speak with an agent from The Health Insurance Solutions, know that we will never try to upsell you on a plan that you can't afford. Instead, your knowledgeable, helpful health insurance agent in Folly Beach will help you navigate the uncertain waters of the health insurance world. Once we understand the health insurance plan you need, we will explore your options. That way, you can leave our conversation feeling informed about your health insurance options and confident that you are making the best choice possible.
We are proud to have served people just like yourself for more than 15 years at the Health Insurance Solutions. We have helped countless individuals, families, and business owners find the coverage they need at a price that won't send them into bankruptcy. If you know that you need health insurance but don't know how to start or what to look for, we've got good news - you're in the right place.
Do You Really Need Health Insurance?
Before we talk about the solutions that our health insurance broker in Folly Beach provides, we should address the elephant in the room. Everyone regardless of age or health, can benefit from a health insurance plan. Even the healthiest of people want to maintain their health and have protection in the event of a catastrophe. One of the best ways to stay healthy and plan for unexpected events is to visit your doctor for an annual check-up. When you have a health insurance plan, these visits are often fully covered by your insurance carrier when you choose an in-network doctor. Without health insurance, you will be responsible for the full cost of any medical care - even routine check-ups with your primary care physician. If something horrible happens, and you don't have health insurance, you may have to pay the full amount for the emergency care you receive. Even young, healthy individuals can benefit from the right health plan. After all, nobody plans on getting sick or injured, but bad things can happen to anyone. Something unexpected like a broken leg can cost more than $7,000 to treat when you don't have coverage. A three-day stay in a hospital can cost upwards of $30,000. That can be an incredible amount of money to pay out of pocket. Having a health insurance plan set in place can help you get quality care at a much more affordable price, especially if something unforeseen happens.
Who We Serve
At the Health Insurance Solutions, our mission is to educate and empower our clients so that they can get the best access to medical care possible. Because everyone has their own unique set of needs when it comes to health plans, we serve a wide range of clients.
Individual plans, also called personal health plans, are health insurance policies that you can purchase solely for yourself. When you work with Health Insurance Solutions, your health insurance agent in Folly Beach will go over your health plan options and help find the best fit for your needs. Individual health plans are not tied to your employer, so you can make a career change without having to worry about losing your health insurance. For individual plans, we offer major medical, short-term, and fixed benefit plans that include life, dental, vision, and other coverage options.
Finding the right health plan for your family can be a real challenge, but our experienced health insurance agents are here to help. We understand that not all members of your family will have the same needs. To help your family get the best coverage possible, we search for custom plans that will meet each of your family members' needs. Whether you're looking for major medical coverage or fixed-benefit plans with no deductibles, our experts are here to serve you. Common coverage options include vision, dental, life, STD and LTD, long-term care, and more.
Entrepreneurs have their own set of needs in terms of health plans and how much they can afford to spend on coverage. Once thought of as a small percentage of the workforce, 57 million Americans freelanced in 2019 alone, according to the Upwork and Freelancers Union. If you are a consultant, independent contractor, or freelancer, the Health Insurance Solutions will find a plan that caters to your current needs and future endeavors. Common health insurance plans for self-employed people include vision, life, dental, and stand-alone prescription coverage. We also offer major medical, supplemental, short-term, and fixed-benefit plans at a range of prices that you can afford.
Offering health insurance to your employees is one of the best ways to keep your team happy and attract diligent workers to your company. If you are a business owner who wants to provide health insurance to your employees but cannot do so because the cost of benefits is too high, worry not. Our experienced health insurance agents will work directly with your employees to help them find the coverage they can afford. We also offer hybrid plans that can be customized so that both you and your employee's needs are met. Whether you need a major medical package or voluntary benefits only, the Health Insurance Solutions has got you covered. Common small business health insurance plans include life, LTC, medical, vision, 401K administration, and dental insurance.
If you travel regularly for business or pleasure, it pays to plan ahead and protect yourself. Because unexpected events happen all the time, you could lose a lot of money if your business trip or vacation is canceled at the last minute. Situations like this can be particularly concerning on international business trips and on long vacations. Whether you get sick before your trip or have valuables within your baggage stolen, traveler's insurance can help minimize expensive cancelation fees and costs.
Most Popular Types of Coverage
Figuring out the kind of insurance you need is a crucial part of the health insurance process. Do you have a prescription for eyeglasses or contacts? Do you have a condition that requires you to visit the doctor on a regular basis? Health insurance plans change depending on what you need. At the Health Insurance Solutions, we will provide you with a trusted health insurance agent in Folly Beach to help you choose the best plan for your budget.
Here are a few of the most popular types of coverage that our clients ask about:
This type of insurance covers minimum essential benefits and meets the standards of the ACA for family and individual coverage. Major medical insurance is a fantastic option to choose if you want to be sure all of your medical expenses are covered. Major medical plans usually cover ten essential benefits:
- Outpatient Procedures or Ambulatory Care
- Check-Ups and Preventative Care
- Prescription Medications
- Emergency Services
- Pediatric Care Services
- Laboratory Services
- Newborn and Maternity Care
- Addiction Counseling and Mental Health Care Services
If your goal is to cover a full range of care, major medical plans are often the best choice. We recommend you contact our office today to learn more about the major medical plan options available to you. As a licensed, private health insurance broker in Folly Beach you do not need to wait until Open Enrollment to protect yourself with a major medical insurance plan.
From basic cleanings to complex procedures like root canals, dental work can be awfully expensive. When you have dental insurance, you will have peace of mind knowing that you won't have to pay for your procedure out of pocket. In general, a quality dental insurance policy will cover some or all of the following:
- Routine cleanings and checkups (copay may be required)
- Filling Cavities
- Bridges, Implants, and Crowns
- Root Canals and Repair Work
- Emergency Services Oral Surgery, etc.)
It should be noted that some types of dental equipment and services may be covered at higher levels of coverage. While preventative work like cleanings is typically covered, some procedures require out-of-pocket costs.
Usually purchased as an addition to your medical insurance, vision insurance helps cut back on costs associated with eye care Like dental insurance, vision insurance is great if you know that you will regularly visit the eye doctor or just want to protect yourself for a "worst case scenario." In general, a quality vision plan will cover some or all of the following:
- Routine Eye Exams
- Medical Eye Care
- Vision Correction Products (Eyeglasses, contacts, etc.)
- Surgeries for Vision Correction (LASIK, etc.)
It should be noted that not all types of vision insurance will cover medical issues related to eye care. For instance, if your optometrist discovers a medical problem during your eye exam, they may refer you to a different doctor. While vision insurance may not cover all eye-related medical services, major medical health insurance often does.
It might be hard to imagine at this stage of your life, but as you age, there is a chance that you will need long-term care services. The question is, how will you or your loved ones pay for this kind of care? Many people choose to eliminate the burden of senior care by purchasing long-term care insurance. Services like meal preparation, medication assistance, and help with day-to-day activities like bathing are not covered by regular health insurance plans. Long-term care insurance will help you or your children lessen the expense of care when you have chronic medical conditions, dementia, or disabilities. When you speak to one of our health insurance agents, ask if you can purchase a policy that reimburses you when you receive care in the following locations:
- Routine cleanings and checkups (copay may be required)
- In a nursing home
- In your own home
- In an assisted living center
- At a long-term residential senior facility
Expert Help Is Only a Phone Call Away
We call ourselves the Health Insurance Solutions because we are committed to finding you the best, most affordable options for your health insurance needs. We work with all the major insurance carriers, such as:
- Advent Health
- United Healthcare
- National General
- Many More
Unlike some health insurance brokers who only care about making a sale, we don't view you as a financial transaction. We believe that serving others never goes out of style. That's why we prefer to educate you on your health coverage options so that you can make an informed decision. As your health insurance agent in Folly Beach, we would be honored to help you seek out a plan that is the perfect fit for your life. You will receive the same excellent level of service whether you are a business owner with employees or a single individual.
When you're ready to protect yourself and your family with quality health insurance, we will be here to help guide you along the way. Contact us today so that we may discover your insurance needs and provide you with a quality insurance solution that will give you peace of mind for years to come.
Latest News in Folly Beach, SC
The 10 Best Beaches in South Carolina
South Carolina is a southeastern state featuring miles of subtropical coastline. The area is a perfect getaway for families wanting fun in the sun or history buffs who love a good pastel-colored house. And the state has so much to offer when it comes to beaches, whether you are looking for luxury resorts on the water or a laid-back beach-bum vibe. Find your perfect summer spot with these t...
South Carolina is a southeastern state featuring miles of subtropical coastline. The area is a perfect getaway for families wanting fun in the sun or history buffs who love a good pastel-colored house. And the state has so much to offer when it comes to beaches, whether you are looking for luxury resorts on the water or a laid-back beach-bum vibe. Find your perfect summer spot with these top ten best beaches in South Carolina. Find out where they’re located, what they offer, and the activities nearby.
1. Hilton Head Island
Hilton Head Island offers some of the best beaches on the East Coast. Plus, it’s a recreator’s paradise, from hiking, biking, boating, horseback riding, golfing, paddling, and more. But, most importantly, Hilton Head offers a year-round paradise for beachgoers. The Hilton Head Island Beach offers swimming, fishing, and water sports. And there are lifeguards on duty from April through September. If you’re looking for a more secluded spot with fewer tourists, check out Driessen Beach. When you’re not sunning in the sand or splashing in the water, you can schedule a sunset dolphin cruise, visit a coastal museum, or eat delicious seafood on the docks.
2. Folly Beach
Located south of Charleston on Folly Island, this beach offers miles of sandy beaches, charming shops and restaurants, picnic areas, plentiful wildlife, and historic places. Folly Beach is also known for its pier that stretches over 1,000 feet into the ocean, giving you an excellent view. Swimming is allowed at the beach, with access down every block. There are multiple beaches on the island, but Folly Beach County Park is a favorite. You will find many amenities for your vacation, such as boogie boards, umbrella rentals, and places to ride your bike along the beach. There are also boardwalks, shopping pavilions, eateries, and hotels.
3. Kiawah Island
Kiawah Island is a golf resort and beach destination near Charleston. The area is known for its luxury resorts and beach homes for Hollywood celebrities, such as George Clooney and Reese Witherspoon. The beaches on Kiawah Island aren’t as open and accessible as Folly Beach, but they are definitely worth the visit. The public access beach is at Beachwalker County Park on the island’s west end. And if you stay at one of the resorts or rental properties, you will have access to the private beaches. The area is a natural paradise, featuring many parks for recreation and wildlife viewing. And, of course, a plethora of golf courses.
4. Myrtle Beach
Myrtle Beach is easily one of the most popular and well-known beaches in South Carolina. But after one visit, you’ll see why. There is nothing quite like a summer vacation to Myrtle Beach. You can chill near the ocean, hang out at the resorts, dine at delicious restaurants, attend an annual event, or play at an amusement park. While summers are crowded, it is still an excellent time of year to visit if you want the full experience. All of the beach access areas are perfect for swimming, sunning, and water sports. However, the city has strict rules about swimming too far out. If you visit during the summer, you will experience fireworks on the water, fair rides, and plenty of fun events.
5. Sullivan’s Island
At the entrance of Charleston Harbor lies a long barrier island called Sullivan’s Island. While the beaches at Sullivan’s Island are smaller than Folly Beach, there are also less crowded and feature more natural unspoiled beauty. It is home to over two thousand residents who enjoy the area with fewer tourists than other South Carolina beaches. Stay at one of the nearby hotels and take a sunrise stroll along the beach. Or visit the Spoleto Festival and eat delicious food. If you’re looking for a popular swimming spot, check out the Cove behind the island. There are also plentiful public beach access points throughout the island.
6. Huntington Beach State Park
Located in Murrells Inlet, Huntington Beach State Park is the perfect destination for nature and wildlife lovers. Along with the beach, the area has numerous wetlands housing birds, turtles, and alligators. You can hike along trails that feature boardwalks over a lagoon or hang out at one of the many beaches. It offers preserved beaches, where you can really take in the beauty and rich wildlife of the area. But the state park also offers the usual vacation activities, such as swimming, fishing, surfing, boating, and camping. You can swim at your own risk throughout the park. But there is also a designated swimming area at South Beach with lifeguards on duty.
7. Isle of Palms
The Isle of Palms is a quaint yet lively resort community. There are miles of beaches, parks, trails, restaurants, and live music venues. The area has an upscale vibe, perfect for families or couples looking for a relaxing and quiet getaway without all of the partying teenagers. It offers world-class resorts and spas and clean, pristine beaches. You can spend the day shopping, dining, and enjoying the wildlife. Or lay in the sand and splash in the water. It’s a place where you can golf, visit a farmer’s market, and listen to live music near the water, all on the same day.
8. Edisto Beach
Edisto Beach is in Coleston County and is known for its gently-developed beaches. The area is also very family-oriented, so it’s an excellent spot for those who prefer a more quiet, laid-back setting. However, swimming is at your own risk, as there are no lifeguards on duty. But the beaches are famous for their sea shells, which you can collect as you stroll along the sand. There are also plenty of areas for hiking and biking, with some trails crossing over boardwalks in the marshes. These trails are perfect for viewing wildlife, such as herons and egrets.
9. Pawleys Island
25 miles south of Myrtle Beach is a barrier island known as Pawleys Island. The island is four miles long and known for its pristine beaches, sand dunes, wetlands, historical areas, and gardens. This is another area that has a very laid-back vibe. You will find people walking barefoot, lounging in hammocks, and catching crabs in the creeks. There are also casual eaters with twinkling outdoor lights, featuring cuisines like shrimp creole, fried seafood, and oysters on the half shell. Pawleys Island is great for families, couples, and singles who want a fun, casual beach experience.
10. Surfside Beach
Nicknamed “the family beach,” Surfside offers two miles of coastline, hotels, restaurants, and a popular fishing pier. The area features family fun events all year, and their beach hotels have swimming pools and water parks right by the ocean. Ocean swimming is allowed in designated areas, and you can participate in water sports. It’s a short drive from Myrtle Beach but offers a more quiet, family-oriented vibe. The beaches are also less crowded, giving you more space for your family to enjoy.
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About the Author
Niccoy is a professional writer and content creator focusing on nature, wildlife, food, and travel. She graduated Kappa Beta Delta from Florida State College with a business degree before realizing writing was her true passion. She lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains and enjoys hiking, reading, and cooking!
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This Is The Most Hippie Town In South Carolina
I remember back in the day when my big sisters would wear bell bottoms. Now they are coming back in style thanks to Lainey Wilson;) It used to be the jeans of choice for hippies when my sisters wore them. According to the website, Thrillist, this is the most hippie town in South Carolina.Thrillist found the most hippie towns in all fifty states. So what do we mean by hippie? It used to be all about VW buses, flower power, free love and the smell of patchouli. But now all things hippie are coming back in style. Ashevi...
I remember back in the day when my big sisters would wear bell bottoms. Now they are coming back in style thanks to Lainey Wilson;) It used to be the jeans of choice for hippies when my sisters wore them. According to the website, Thrillist, this is the most hippie town in South Carolina.
Thrillist found the most hippie towns in all fifty states. So what do we mean by hippie? It used to be all about VW buses, flower power, free love and the smell of patchouli. But now all things hippie are coming back in style. Asheville of course was named the most hippie city in North Carolina. Where can we find it in the Palmetto State? According to Thrillist the honors go to Folly Beach!
I can believe it! Our former sales manager, our beloved Billy Grooms, retired there a few years ago and he went from suits to board shorts, growing his hair to his shoulders and generally feeling a little more “free” to be himself. Folly Beach is just a few miles from nearby Charleston and is home to “Bert’s Market”. It is a 24 hours store where their motto is “We may doze but we never close”. Love it. To learn more about the most hippie towns in all fifty states, get all the details from Thrillist right here.
Folly Beach is also one of the most beautiful beaches in South Carolina. Picture compliments of my friend Billy.
This South Carolina Beach Is One Of The "Greatest Beach Towns In America"
If you grew up in the Carolinas chances are you have a favorite beach town you grew up going to. Or one you take your family to now. We have no shortage of fantastic seaside escapes. Even growing up in North Carolina I have to admit I’m typically a South Carolina beach person. While I tend to go to the general vicinity of the Myrtle Beach area (thanks to friends who have houses and free is for me). I’ve already read quite a lot of these types of articles and now have several other SC beaches on my must-visit list. Just need to find the time to get to them! Recently I came across yet another publication naming some of the best beach vacation spots. And my interest peaked like always. And of course, somewhere in South Carolina was included when Thrillist created a list of “The 20 Greatest Beach Towns In America”. But with so many fantastic destinations, which made the cut to be recognized?
The list compiled by writers at Thrillist details 20 of the nation’s beach towns in a variety of states. In addition to a general summary of the destination, they also make sure to let you know the must-eat spots and what you can’t leave without. You can read their full article here. Or keep reading to see which South Carolina town was named one of the 20 Greatest Beach Towns In America! And a couple of others that stuck out to me as personal favorites of mine or bucket list destinations!
Folly Beach votes to cap short-term rentals at 800 in closely watched election
FOLLY BEACH — In a referendum locals viewed as a battle for the future of this barrier island, Folly Beach residents narrowly voted to limit the number of short-term rentals that can operate on one of Charleston’s most popular beach communities.The vote for tighter restrictions is expected to slowly shrink the number of short-term rentals that can operate here.“It looks like the citizens want to have a year-round community, not just a weekly community,” Mayor Tim Goodwin said after the results were in....
FOLLY BEACH — In a referendum locals viewed as a battle for the future of this barrier island, Folly Beach residents narrowly voted to limit the number of short-term rentals that can operate on one of Charleston’s most popular beach communities.
The vote for tighter restrictions is expected to slowly shrink the number of short-term rentals that can operate here.
“It looks like the citizens want to have a year-round community, not just a weekly community,” Mayor Tim Goodwin said after the results were in.
A narrow majority of voters, 53 percent, said “yes” to the only question posed by the Feb. 7 referendum. The results will be certified on Feb. 9.
Island residents were asked to decide whether short-term rental licenses on Folly Beach should be capped at 800.
According to unofficial returns from the Charleston County Board of Elections, just 77 votes separated the results.
Some 655 of the island’s registered voters agreed with the restrictions, compared to 578 who did not want to see the limit imposed.
At the heart of the one-question issue was a central concern shared by many Charleston-area beach communities: How do communities balance all that comes with being a tourist destination while still preserving what makes a place special?
Tuesday’s vote adds a fresh layer of local oversight but the impact of the decision could take years to materialize. Goodwin and city staff estimate it could take about three years for Folly Beach to drop down to that 800-mark.
Property owners have had to apply for short-term rental licenses since 2018. Currently, there are more than 1,100 active licenses on the barrier island, which accounts for some 40 percent of the island’s properties.
Under the proposed ordinance, owners with short-term rental licenses may continue to operate and keep their licenses until there’s a transfer to a new owner or family member. No new short-term licenses would be granted until the number of active permits falls below 800 — a figure based on the number of pre-pandemic licenses in 2020.
A waiting list would be established for future permits, but there are a lot of unanswered questions about further specifics or effects the limit would have.
Katherine Meader, who is one of those owners, voted “no” to the cap. As a mother of five, she said her vote was about protecting the future of her five children.
“They’re the ones who are going to carry it on. I just want them to be able to do the same thing that their mom has done without having to get in line behind someone who may have moved here a year ago,” she said. “I don’t want my kids to have to get back in line to apply for a license that might already be at its cap.”
Others saw short-term rentals and the flow of transient guests staying in them as a threat to the established community and its longtime residents who don’t want new neighbors every week.
Two advocate groups were especially vocal about the vote: Save Folly’s Future, which was pushing for the cap; and Folly United, which opposed the cap proposal.
Neither leader of the rival vote efforts could cast a ballot because they do not live on Folly Beach, but pro-cap John McFarland sat outside the polling place from 11 a.m. until polls closed at 7 p.m.
For Colleen Lamar, the vote “yes” was about preserving a place she loves.
“This will be my home until they carry me out in a box,” she said.
The referendum, at times, pitted neighbor against neighbor, with dueling yard signs along residential streets.
Folly is the latest beach community to make a decision about how to handle short-term rentals. Sullivan’s Island banned short-term rentals more than two decades ago. Isle of Palms could be next. On Feb. 6, the eve of the Folly Beach vote, a roomful of people attended a special workshop hosted by Isle of Palms City Council on short-term rentals.
Folly Beach receives millions for emergency beach renourishment
Folly Beach received a significant amount of federal funding for emergency renourishment following beach damage from Hurricane Ian.Published: Thu Mar 02 2023|Updated: Fri Mar 03 2023FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Folly Beach received a significant amount of federal funding for emergency renourishment following beach damage from Hurricane Ian.The September storm washed away sand dunes and caused erosion to take away parts of the beach.The $27 million of funding will work to get the beach back to normal with sand replac...
Folly Beach received a significant amount of federal funding for emergency renourishment following beach damage from Hurricane Ian.
Published: Thu Mar 02 2023|Updated: Fri Mar 03 2023
FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCSC) - Folly Beach received a significant amount of federal funding for emergency renourishment following beach damage from Hurricane Ian.
The September storm washed away sand dunes and caused erosion to take away parts of the beach.
The $27 million of funding will work to get the beach back to normal with sand replacement.
“This is not a full renourishment, but it does allow us to get a little more beach back in place for the protection of infrastructure and recreation,” Folly Beach Mayor Tim Goodwin said.
Around 900,000 cubic yards or 90,000 dump trucks of sand, will be replaced, and the city plans to use sand from the Folly River.
“That kind of does two things,” Goodwin said. “It helps us refurbish the beach with beach sand that just kind of washes around in the river, and it kind of opens up the river for the boaters, gets rid of some sand bars.”
The mayor believes beachgoers will be excited about the project, but they are not the only ones who will benefit.
Safety is a concern when the beach is in its current state.
“A lot of people don’t understand but especially in medical emergencies, we have a lot of equipment to carry, so it’s helpful when we can bring that one a cart or a four-wheeler, and with a small beach that’s impacted by the storm, it makes it pretty difficult or impossible to do, so getting this sand is a huge help for us,” the City of Folly Beach Director of Public Safety Andrew Gilreath said.
The sand is also crucial for those who rely on the beach for business.
“Just makes the beach so much deeper, so much more room for everybody, everybody’s not shoulder to shoulder stuffed on the beach, so once we get that new beach it’ll be glory days for us,” Sun & Ski Beach Service Owner Andy Pracht said.
The project most likely will not get underway till after the busy season.
“Everybody just has to work together to get through the summer,” Pracht said. “It’s going to be crowded. It kind of is what it is. Hopefully, we could have a new beach by this summer but we’re not going to. So, if we have one by next summer that would be awesome.”
City officials say this will be the first emergency renourishment Folly has needed since 2018.
They say It will be a few months before a timeline is laid out for the project.
A contract should be awarded in late summer/early fall and construction will start shortly after.
Copyright 2023 WCSC. All rights reserved.
Editorial: Folly Beach voters should say ‘yes’ to short-term rental limit, find a balance
THE EDITORIAL STAFFhttps://www.postandcourier.com/opinion/editorials/editorial-folly-beach-voters-should-say-yes-to-short-term-rental-limit-find-a-balance/article_3c45c71c-9b4c-11ed-aa69-1fc8c9097e3e.html
Few local referendums have stirred as much passion, especially on a per-voter basis, as has Folly Beach’s upcoming vote in which city residents will decide whether short-term rental licenses should be capped at 800. We urge them to vote “yes,” because we believe every community should seek a responsible balance in its neighborhoods between full-time residents and commercial use.While visitors from near and far have always made up a large part of Folly’s identity, many residents fear the balance is tipping perma...
Few local referendums have stirred as much passion, especially on a per-voter basis, as has Folly Beach’s upcoming vote in which city residents will decide whether short-term rental licenses should be capped at 800. We urge them to vote “yes,” because we believe every community should seek a responsible balance in its neighborhoods between full-time residents and commercial use.
While visitors from near and far have always made up a large part of Folly’s identity, many residents fear the balance is tipping permanently away from those wanting to live there full time. The island has about 2,600 properties, of which more than 1,000 — or about 40% — are now licensed and registered short-term rentals. More ominously, the city’s population has dropped sharply, from 2,617 in 2010 to only 2,071 a decade later, a 20% decline during a decade when our region saw a surge of new people moving in.
Folly residents took their concerns to City Council last summer, specifically asking it to consider this cap, and they were shut down within minutes. They then turned to a little-known and even less-used state law allowing them to put a proposed ordinance up for a binding public vote, provided they collect enough voters’ signatures. They did, and election day is Feb. 7.
Folly is far from the only municipality that has been seeking a proper balance between the economic vitality of short-term rentals and the relative stability and quietude of neighborhoods with mostly full-time, year-round residents. We have consistently urged local leaders to heed residents’ reasonable concerns about commercial encroachments along their residential streets and the problems with noise, parking and litter that some rentals bring.
Most cities allow short-term rentals, but with restrictions. Some have capped such rentals at a far lower number than Folly, while others have allowed homeowners to rent out only a room or two, provided they continue to live in their home. It’s an ongoing balancing act. Meanwhile, Folly has seen an increase in whole-house rentals that are altering the feel of its residential neighborhoods and creating mini-hotels in what once were single-family homes. If the trend continues unchecked, it’s reasonable to wonder if Folly will become so popular a place to go for a week that no one will want to live there year-round.
It’s important to note what this ordinance will and will not do. Those with short-term rental licenses may continue to operate, but it could be difficult or impossible to pass their license on to a new owner unless the city’s overall number of rentals dips below 800, which may take years. It’s unclear what effect it might have on homes currently under construction with the anticipation of getting such a license. In essence, investor-owned short-term rentals will remain a huge chunk of Folly’s housing stock in the years to come; the question voters will answer is whether those rentals gradually decline or continue to climb toward 50%, 60% or 70%.
But Folly voters should understand the Feb. 7 vote is by no means the final say. Even if voters put the ordinance on the books, Folly Beach City Council could amend it or repeal it down the road. And there certainly will be legal challenges.
While very few South Carolina municipalities have used this state law to set a binding vote on a proposed ordinance, the Folly Island Residents’ Association petitioned in 1984 for referendums on setting a height limitation of 40 feet in the commercial district and on rezoning a 57-acre tract for single-family homes, although no public vote was held until the balance of power on City Council shifted a year later.
Commercial interests and some individuals who own a beach house they rent out part time to help pay its expenses are urging residents to vote “no” on Feb. 7, arguing that a new cap of 800 short-term rentals could limit how fast Folly’s home prices climb. Voters ultimately must decide what they value most: their potential financial gain or their desire to ensure that most Folly homes remain places where people live for more than 30 days at a time.
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