February 11, 2021
Dear Dewees Owners,
This Plan to reintroduce short-term renting of homes on Dewees was approved by the POA Board at a Special Meeting held on Friday afternoon last week and submitted to the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources on Monday. The Plan, dated February 8th, will be presented to the SCDNR Board at their meeting next week by in house counsel, Shannon Bobertz, who will also add our proposal to the agenda next month when her Board will decide if the Plan accords with the Conservation Easement.
Resolving the matter of STR on Dewees has been a long and difficult process of negotiation and compromise, and like most compromises, this one does not please everyone. The Past Presidents remain split 5:2, and our Board voted 6:2 (with 1 abstaining) last Friday in support of moving this proposal forward to the SCDNR; nevertheless, I remain optimistic that a large enough majority of our community will ultimately support the Plan in a referendum and allow its adoption.
As you review the document, I want to make you aware of certain changes from the straw poll last fall or from earlier iterations of the Plan you may have seen. The important changes are outlined below:
- Minimum Stay in the Summer. The minimum stay requirement of 14 days in the summer is now changed back to 7 days (as recommended originally by the Past Presidents) but with a new restriction added that limits the total number of non-owner STRs to two (2) during the summer. This approach, we think, is a more straightforward way of reducing pressure during the high season and still keeping limited STR viable. The 14 day minimum stay provision has been the most hotly contested negotiating point during my involvement with the STR matter. Those who don’t like STR won’t let go of it, and those who would consider renting their homes to non-owners say they can’t live with it. This compromise limits the number of rentals in the summer from four (4), as was originally recommended by the Past Presidents, to just two (2).
- Additional Holiday Restrictions. The prohibition on STR to non-owners during the weeks of Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years as represented in the straw poll and recent drafts is now removed. The original Past Presidents’ recommendation did not have any holiday prohibitions outside of the summer months.
- Costs and Fees. This section replaces “Impact Fee of 10%” in the straw poll with language that aligns better with our governing documents and states that the ongoing costs to the POA and impact on the island associated with unaccompanied guests, paying and non paying, will be the responsibility of the rental owners or owners sending unaccompanied non paying guests to stay overnight on the Island. These fees would not apply to any guests visiting owners on the island nor to family members staying on the Island unaccompanied. Service providers, such as house sitters, would also be exempt from any fees. Ferry fees associated with renters and unaccompanied overnight guests are also addressed in this revised section.
The POA intends to gage community support by conducting one more STR related poll, an “informal” referendum as it were, on the four page document itself sometime over the next 30 days. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions about the changes or any thing else in the proposed Plan.
Thank you for your interest in this matter and for your help finding a resolution.
President, POA Board