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Pier Goodmann
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Folly Beach History and Perspectives

My campaign is active on social media and several posts have generated debate regarding the nature and history of the Folly Beach community. In an effort to give more perspective on the history of the island and why I am working to protect the balance of full time residents and short term rentals, I asked former mayor and author of Remaining Folly , Richard L. Beck, to share his thoughts on:

  • The Folly Community
  • How Rental Real Estate Has Evolved
  • How the Cap Insures Balance
  • How the Wait-list Can Address the STR Inheritance Issue

Folly Beach History and Perspectives

I moved to Folly in 1975. For forty-eight years, I have been working to keep commercialization and livability in balance. Please read my recent book Remaining Folly which recounts the history of Folly including a four-year period in the middle eighties when this community let it be known that it FIRST wanted to be known as a community that people would want to call home.

Evolving Rental Market

I think you will learn that while the community has always had a healthy rental component, that over the last 10 years, the nature of the rental market has changed from repeat rentals with a personal owner-renter relationship to one that is less personal and less compatible with the livability of the permanent residents. What used to be a three-bedroom two bath house for rent has become a six-bedroom six bath house. With that change, the character of the rental, the relationship of the renter to the owner and its impact on the community has become less desirable. In my mind, the protecting the right to a reasonable enjoyment of the homes of the people that live on Folly as permanent residents comes first. People want to visit authentic communities. That has always been Folly’s biggest draw.

You have challenged that point of view and I presume that you are encouraged and educated by the efforts of RPAC, a national real estate PAC that spent (by their own admission) 56 million dollars in the US in 2022 to elect people to local city councils that put real estate markets first.

The STR Cap Insures Balance

The cap is a reality. Folly is not alone in the desire to limit the commercialism of its residential neighborhoods. Mount Pleasant’s cap is 400, Greenville recently enacted a cap of 400 ISTR’s. I could go on but the point is obvious. A balance between commercialism and livability is important not only to the current permanent residents, but to the very future of the community itself. 800 is 30% of all housing units.

Folly Real Estate

Decreasing home values is happening nationwide. Possibly more so for the six-bedroom, six bath houses because their values were falsely inflated by the once unlimited potential for commercialization of the residential district and very low interest rates. This community chose to set limits to guarantee its future as a place to call home.

Prices have plummeted because interest rates have soared and the general market for ISTR’s became saturated (a bubble). Interest rates ballooned from 3.04% in Feb. 2022 to 7.05 in Feb. of 2023.Today’s conventional 30-year mortgage on a primary residence will cost you 8.109%. Using economics buyers have experienced a 50% decrease in their buying power since 2022. The decline in the value of a short-term rental house was declining before the cap was passed.

The STR Wait-List

Some argue that a ISTR Wait-list process will be too long. This perception appears to be misgiven as the number of ISTR licenses has decreased from almost 1200 this spring to about 960 today, so that the idea that the wait list is idea is not so farfetched as you describe.

Can the Wait-list be friendlier to transfers to heirs in legitimate cases of family-owned homes? Yes, it can, if done carefully. There are three pro resident candidates that have expressed a desire to see that happen as well as being creative about producing more long-term rentals for workers and city staff.

In closing, it is important to understand Folly’s history and its permanent resident’s insistence that Folly remain a place to build a community and to call it home.

Considerately, Richard L. Beck DMD

City Council 1978 – 1982, mayor 1982-1989

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