Glynn County is starting the process of regulating short-term rentals and may partner with a California-based company to create and enforce them.
Peter Murphy, Glynn County Commissioner for St. Simons, Jekyll and Sea islands, said he’s heard many complaints from his constituents about short-term rentals. Some have said they’ve seen busses dropping off 12 or more people at single-family residences, Murphy said.
Situations like that can be very disruptive to neighborhoods, Murphy said. He’s heard complaints about noise, too many cars parked in neighborhood roads, and trash cans being overfilled, he said.
Safety can be a concern as well, as most single-family homes aren’t designed for 12 plus people, he added.
There’s also the issue of an “uneven playing field,” Murphy said. Short-term rentals compete with hotels and motels, but don’t have to adhere to the same regulations. Many of them duck paying the lodging tax as well, Murphy said.
With more than 100 websites connecting visitors with short-term rental properties and as many 1,467 such properties in Glynn County, the issue isn’t likely to go away anytime soon, said Paul Hetherington, an executive with Host Compliance.
Hetherington based that estimate on a short survey of short-term rental websites, also finding that the majority of them are on St. Simons Island.
Host Compliance could help the county with collecting taxes and created new ordinances to regulate short-term vacation rentals, Hetherington said.
Glynn County would pay around $67,000 a year for the company’s services and could earn as much as $280,000 from taxes and annual short-term rental licenses, said Commissioner Richard Strickland.
Murphy said he would work with county staff and Host Compliance on new regulations to go along with the increased bed tax enforcement.
Public works manager Ben Pierce gave the commission an overview of three improvements on Frederica Road and three improvements on Sea Island Road on St. Simons Island.
All seven are estimated to cost more than $1 million in special-purpose, local-option sales tax revenue.
Most of them involved widening segments of the roads to create more lanes and restriping lanes at intersections. None of the improvements were new roundabouts.
Commissioners also heard an update on the Terry Creek consent decree between Hercules and the Environmental Protection Agency, talked about a change to its employee pension plan and confirmed they will vote on a Brunch Bill referendum on Thursday.