Snapshot of the IOP tourist rental business - 2013:

  • Thursday, September 19, 2013

Goose or albatross - who profits, who doesn’t?

Members of the the Isle of Palms’s rental business lobby, well represented on Isle of Palms City Council, have famously asserted that tourist rentals are “the goose that laid the golden egg for Isle of Palms” and, even more famously, that they are “the best thing to ever happen on the Isle of Palms.”

Are those bold pronouncements anything more than self-interested marketing pitches? If so, this “best thing to ever happen” ought to be obvious to all and gratefully applauded by the homeowner resident community, yes?

One might ask, is the increasingly transient character of Isle of Palms neighborhoods a “golden egg” for which residents should be grateful? (If gratitude is not the emotion you experience, you aren’t alone).

Members of the lobby can’t seem to fathom how anyone could fail to grasp their private reality - if it’s good for the rental business, it’s good for the Isle of Palms.

There is this verifiable reality: U.S. Census figures published in 2011 showed that the Isle of Palms had lost 10 percent of its homeowner resident base since 2000, and 10- percent of its registered voters. Tourist rental properties increased by the same percentage that residents (and voters) were displaced.

Should this indicate to an objective observer that tourist rental density has reached

a tipping point in some areas and is motivating residents to vote with their feet?

(One apparently can’t see displacement if one only has eyes for golden eggs.)

The goose lobby’s marketing slogans should at least be amended to reflect this incontestable reality: The best thing to ever happen to Isle of Palms rental companies is the best thing to ever happen - to Isle of Palms rental companies.

Tom Gear is a 30-year resident of the Isle Of Palms and a former member of the isle of Palms City Council. Read Tom Gear’s blog “Isle of Palms Politics & Other Scandals” at www.Isle of PalmsDaily.com.

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