NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - North Myrtle Beach city leaders hope a new ordinance that changes zone regulations for short-term rentals is part of the answer to the city’s parking shortage.
An ordinance passed Monday night clearly defines the terms “short-term rentals” and “sleeping areas.” Those guidelines limit how many people can stay in a short-term rental house.
Short-term rental homes are defined as any residential unit offered for lease for a period of 90 days or less. They’re in zoning districts that only allow a specific number of bedrooms, and require a certain amount of parking spaces for those bedrooms. For example, as it stands now, a short-term rental home with five bedrooms is only required to have three parking spaces.
City officials say they’ve noticed a trend of people in the short-term rental industry putting sleeper sofas in rooms that aren’t categorized as bedrooms—which means more people staying there, taking up additional parking.
“Some of our zoning districts are only allowed to have five bedrooms but we found that they have five bedrooms and then they have a media room, a living room and a game room. Suddenly you see four sleeper sofas in the media room, three sleeper sofas in the living room. So you have a five bedroom house that sleeping 25, 30 people,” said James Wood, Director of Planning and Development for the City of North Myrtle Beach.
That’s why they’ve now broadened the definition beyond bedrooms to what they call “sleeping areas.” These areas include all rooms except kitchens, hallways under 7 feet wide, mechanical rooms, bathrooms and small closets.
Wood says City Council will have a workshop to decide how to regulate zoning under these new definitions.