Pressure Washingin Folly Beach, SC

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Power Wash Folly Beach, SC

Folly Beach is one of the best places to live in the United States. Between city's history, its location, food, people, and climate, few places mix southern hospitality with laid-back vibes, quite like Folly Beach. As locals, we love calling The Holy City home, but living here comes with its challenges, especially if you are a home or business owner.

Due to the tropical-like weather and high humidity, surfaces like concrete and wood are often riddled with algae and mold, in addition to common grime and dirt. These natural occurrences can affect the beauty of your home or place of business, resulting in an unkempt, neglected look. That's where Palmetto Pressure Clean Folly Beach comes in - to restore your home or your business back to its original beauty and prevent unsightly growth and grime from re-occurring over time.

When it comes to pressure washing in Folly Beach, SC, we strive to provide our customers with industry-leading service, every time we are hired. While some pressure washing companies in Folly Beach are known for lazy workers and mediocre services, we make it a point to exceed our customer's expectations. We do so by prioritizing quick responses, extra-hard work, ongoing training, and excellent customer service. We stand behind our work - check out our reviews on Google!

We're the best choice to protect your home or business not only from mold and mildew but from bugs, bird's nests, spider webs, and potential damage caused by less experienced pressure washers in Folly Beach. Our customer's health, happiness, and satisfaction always come first. We are a licensed, insured pressure washing company in Folly Beach. When you hire our company, know that we will treat your home as if it were our own.

At the end of the day, our mission is simple: give our customers top-notch service and beautiful results while remaining friendly, approachable, and helpful. We specialize in two forms of pressure washing: residential and commercial. Keep reading to learn more about our pressure washer process and the benefits of each type of service.

SERVICE AREAS

Residential Pressure Washing in
Folly Beach, SC

When you own a home in the Lowcountry, its exterior is constantly exposed to the elements, resulting in mildew, dirt, and pollen. When not properly cleaned, the exterior surfaces of your home like brick, stucco, and vinyl suffer. With time, they can even break down. At Palmetto Pressure Clean Folly Beach, we use a specially-crafted cleaning solution and time-tested techniques to remove hazardous contaminants safely and effectively.

Unlike some pressure washers in Folly Beach, we use a no-to-low pressure washing strategy for residential properties. Also called "soft washing," this process includes washing and rinsing your windows, along with the exterior face of your gutters. High-pressure tactics are effective against mildew, but they run the risk of causing damage to your siding and windows. Our soft wash cleaner is specifically designed to remove mildew and algae gently, yet effectively from many porous surfaces. Our professional pressure washers also manually brush your gutters with a stain-removing agent to remove unsightly black streaks.

Our soft pressure washing process not only cleans your home but protects it from high-pressure techniques that damage your paint and siding. With soft washing, you won't have to worry about diminished curb appeal or reduced resale value of your home.

These techniques use gentle water pressure and at the same time, apply an environmentally friendly cleaning solution to remove contaminants. With this strategy, your plants and other landscaped areas won't suffer any damage, which is why many homeowners prefer going this route. Once the cleaning agent has removed mold, algae, etc., our team thoroughly rinses the exterior of your home. After rinsing, your home will be left with a squeaky-clean appearance that will make your neighbors jealous in the best way possible.

 Power Washer Folly Beach, SC

Our residential pressure washing services don't end with soft washing. Here is a quick glance at a few other commonly requested services from homeowners just like you:

High-pressure cleaning with hot water. Our high-pressure cleaning services are great for many different surfaces, like concrete, brick, and stone.

High-pressure cleaning

Gutter and roof debris removal with subsequent flush and removal of bagged debris from property.

Gutter and roof debris removal

Low-to-no pressure roof treatment to remove black staining and unsightly streaks resulting from algae, mold, and other contaminants.

Low-to-no pressure roof treatment

Cleaning of wood decks, fences, docks, decks, and more.

Cleaning of wood decks

Benefits of Residential Pressure Washing in Folly Beach, SC

Your home's exterior is exposed to harsh elements all the time. After all, its job is to keep the elements out so that you can enjoy life inside your home. Natural conditions like wind, dirt, sun, UV rays, birds, bugs, and insects - not to mention things like smoke, acid rain, and car exhaust - are constantly beating on your home. With time, your home becomes discolored, soiled, and even damaged.

If you own a home in Folly Beach, pressure washing is the most efficient and effective way to keep your home's exterior clean while safeguarding your time, family, and investment.

A few of the most common benefits of pressure washing include:

 Pressure Wash Folly Beach, SC

01

Pressure Washing Prevents Damage

When moisture builds up in the summer and winter months, it can cause serious damage to your home's surfaces. Should you let grime or stains remain on your exterior surfaces for a long time, it can result in permanent damage. Contaminants like mold actually feed off of your paint and other finishes, essentially removing these accents from your home. Throw in hard-to-reach areas like cracks and crevices that are notorious for mildew growth, and there's a lot of potential damage waiting.

Fortunately, a professional pressure washer in Folly Beach, SC, can remove dirt, grime, mold, and other contaminants that can cause damage over time. This protects your investment and helps keep your family healthy.

02

Pressure Washing Primes Surfaces for Painting

If you have plans to resurface, refinish, or repaint exterior portions of your home, pressure cleaning is a great way to prep your work area. By removing all grime and dirt from your work surface, you can be sure that you're working on a smooth, clean area free of grit. Pressure wash first if you're planning on other projects like re-staining your deck or refinishing your in-ground pool. Doing so will help your outdoor surfaces hold their new finish easier.

03

Pressure Washing Protects Your Family

According to the ACAAI, some of the most common allergic triggers are mold, dust mites, pollen, and mildew. These contaminants can be harmful to your health. Having your home and its surfaces pressure washed at least once a year can be very beneficial for your family's health. This is especially true for people who are sensitive to allergens and mold. By removing contaminants and allergens from your home's surfaces, you can help prevent your family from getting sick. One of the best times to consider pressure washing your home is in springtime, when allergens are present. Our eco-friendly pressure washing solution will help remove and kill fungus, algae, mold, and even bacteria.

Commercial Pressure Washing in Folly Beach, SC

If you own a business with a storefront, you know how important first impressions can be. When customers walk up to your store and see it covered in mold, mildew, dirt, and grime, they may have second thoughts about buying your products. After all, if you can't take the time to make your business presentable for customers, why would you put any effort into the service or product that you're selling?

At Palmetto Pressure Clean Folly Beach, we work with business owners across Folly Beach who know the value of a professionally cleaned storefront. Some just don't have the time to pressure wash their business themselves. Others prefer to rely on our team of professional pressure washers to get the job done right the first time. Whatever your commercial pressure washing needs may be, we are here to help.

We offer our unmatched pressure washing services to a number of different businesses and organizations in Folly Beach, including:

  • Business Storefronts
  • Offices
  • Restaurants
  • Dumpster Pads
  • Churches
  • Apartments
  • Schools
  • Sidewalks
  • Windows
  • Much More!

Call our office today at 843-593-6815 to learn more about our commercial pressure washing process, and to set up quarterly or monthly service to keep your storefront looking fresh and clean.

 Pressure Washer Folly Beach, SC

Benefits of Commercial Pressure Washing in Folly Beach, SC

When your commercial property takes a beating from the weather in Chucktown, the best way to achieve a clean, new look is with professional pressure washing. Our team uses high-pressure washing solutions for areas like parking lots, sidewalks, masonry, and concrete. We then use low-pressure washing techniques on your siding, windows, and other areas that need a gentler touch.

Additional benefits of commercial pressure washing include:

 Best Pressure Washer Folly Beach, SC

01

Commercial Pressure Washing Means Fewer Repairs

With time, dirt and grime will build up on your commercial structure's sides and roof. When you pressure wash regularly, you can prevent rot from taking hold in areas where fences, sidewalks, gutters, and other hard surfaces are common. In fact, our cleaning solutions can help prevent serious structural damage caused by mold, mildew, algae, and other contaminants.

02

Commercial Pressure Washing Helps Curb Appeal

If you are a business owner with a storefront, you have probably spent hours of time and thousands of dollars updating your facade. But when you don't take proper care of your businesses' exterior, all that time and money go to waste. Doing so gives customers a great first impression before they walk into your store. Additionally, you will almost certainly get higher offers on your store if it has been pressure washed and cleaned prior to listing it for sale.

03

Commercial Pressure Washing Creates a Healthier Environment

Pressure washing makes any commercial building cleaner, making it a healthier environment for customers and employees. Customers just feel better and more at ease when they shop in a store that is well cared for. They are also more likely to spend more time in your business and become repeat customers. Not only will customers enjoy the benefits of a cleaner building, but so will your employees. They'll be healthier, happier, and won't have to worry about health concerns from mold, mildew, and fungus. Happy, healthy employees mean more satisfied customers, which ultimately benefits your bottom line.

Trust the Palmetto Pressure Clean Difference

At Palmetto Pressure Clean Folly Beach, we are passionate about delivering quality pressure cleaning services for residential and commercial needs. We are committed to excellence, meaning our carefully selected pressure washers pay extra attention to detail and quality in every task they perform. We truly value each job, no matter how large or small they may be. Unlike some of our competitors in Folly Beach, we want to build relationships with our clients. We strive to get to know every home and business owner that we have the privilege of serving. Whether we're pressure washing a historic home off Queen Street or a popular business off King Street, we always aim to exceed expectations.

Interested in learning more info about our pressure washing services in Folly Beach? Curious whether pressure washing is appropriate for your home or business? Ready to set up an appointment? Our stellar team of customer service professionals is here to help, even if you have a couple of simple questions to ask.

When it's time to get cleaning, rely on the Palmetto Pressure Clean team to turn your dingy nightmare into a spick and span dream.

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Latest News in Folly Beach, SC

Oil spills in ocean, on surfers at Folly Beach

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – Officials say around 8:35 a.m. Wednesday morning, the oil spill was reported near the Folly Beach Pier. News 2 spoke with a beachgoer who says she, along with many others, were covered in oil.Cat Sidwell was on her surfboard when suddenly something fell from above.“Started to smell like oil and it was like real slick all over our skin and board and stuff,” Sidwell said. “And it kind of hit me first. I was like the closer one to the pier.”Soon, other surfers in the ...

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCBD) – Officials say around 8:35 a.m. Wednesday morning, the oil spill was reported near the Folly Beach Pier. News 2 spoke with a beachgoer who says she, along with many others, were covered in oil.

Cat Sidwell was on her surfboard when suddenly something fell from above.

“Started to smell like oil and it was like real slick all over our skin and board and stuff,” Sidwell said. “And it kind of hit me first. I was like the closer one to the pier.”

Soon, other surfers in the area felt the oil rain from above as well.

“Everybody was kind of yelling like, ‘Oh my god, we’re all covered in oil,’” Sidwell said. “It smelled, it was super strong.”

Sidwell says they confronted the construction company on the pier about the spill, but says they were dismissive.

“We kind of yelled up to the guys that were working on the pier like, ‘Hey, you’re spilling oil,’” she said. “And they just yelled back something silly, like laughing that it was biodegradable.”

U.S. Coast Guard officials say the spill was from a faulty hydraulic hammer used on site.

“They had spilled three to four gallons of organic hydraulic oil,” U.S. Coast Guard public affairs representative Vincent Moreno said.

Charleston Waterkeeper executive director Andrew Wunderley says the fact that it’s organice is besides the point.

“Biodegradable or not,” Wunderley said, “it’s still hydraulic fluid and it has no place in the ocean. It doesn’t belong in our waterways, it doesn’t belong on the beach and it certainly doesn’t belong on people.”

Wunderley believes the company should have done more to notify beachgoers of the spill.

“We’d like to see, in this case, the responsible party take it a lot more seriously. It sounds like from what we’ve heard that they did a good job of getting it stopped, but they needed to go the next step and warn the public and say, ‘Hey, this just happened you need to stay out of the water. You need to use caution.”

And thinks they should be held accountable.

“The enforcement agencies in this case are the U.S. Coast Guard and DHEC,” Wunderley said, “and what we are calling on them to do is to investigate, and if there is anything out of the ordinary, they need to fine at a significant level in order to prevent this from happening again.”

The U.S. Coast Guard says the spill is contained and the incident is still under investigation.

Folly Beach City Council passes ordinance amending short term rentals policies

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) — Tuesday night, Folly Beach City Council passed an ordinance amending the Folly Beach Short Term Rentals policies with a vote of 6-1.Eddie Ellis was the only city council member to vote no.The ordinance means the city will continue to require renters to get a business license and a rental registration permit. Because the ordinance passed, there will now be a fee for rental registration.The amount would vary. A fee per $1,000 of income was presented last night.The city estimates shor...

FOLLY BEACH, S.C. (WCIV) — Tuesday night, Folly Beach City Council passed an ordinance amending the Folly Beach Short Term Rentals policies with a vote of 6-1.

Eddie Ellis was the only city council member to vote no.

The ordinance means the city will continue to require renters to get a business license and a rental registration permit. Because the ordinance passed, there will now be a fee for rental registration.

The amount would vary. A fee per $1,000 of income was presented last night.

The city estimates short term rentals end up costing the city about $1 million in public services and infrastructure, so they are trying to recover some of that cost with the new fee. Money is slated to also go towards hiring staff whose only job is managing short term rental licenses and violations.

As for revoking a license, the proposed ordinance suggested changing the current four strikes over a six-month period to three strikes over the course of a year.

“The strikes are only issued after conviction, so not on ticket or warning. But only if a ticket is written and the person is actually found guilty, then we'll issue a strike. So it's fewer strikes over a longer period, but a higher bar for the strike to be issued," City of Folly Beach Administrator Aaron Pope said.

The city will now require more information about the property, like parking plans. Events at rental properties will now have a limit of 25 people instead of the previous number of 49 people.

Paid parking- another problem that’s plagued Lowcountry beaches all summer- was also discussed during the meeting.

The city of Folly Beach submitted revisions to their parking plan to SCDOT in August 2020. That plan was just returned to the city last month.

At the City Council meeting Tuesday, Director of Public Works Eric Lutz presented the revised pay parking expansion plan. The new plan makes those changes laid out by SCDOT.

Pope said Folly Beach is proud that most of their parking is free, but they are asking to increase the amount of paid parking they have to roughly 33 percent of the front beach parking only.

"That's what paid parking is about. It's not about restricting access or discouraging people from coming. It's about finding ways to balance the costs of providing services," Pope said.

City council will share the plan with the public next. Once the city has received public comment, they will submit the proposed plan and public comments to SCDOT for their final approval.

Only after they approve it, can the city implement it.

Nearshore placement project at Folly Beach proves to be successful, another in the works

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — The Army Corps of Engineers is working to replenish Folly Beach by using what is called a "nearshore placement" project.&...

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) — The Army Corps of Engineers is working to replenish Folly Beach by using what is called a "nearshore placement" project.

"You would literally walk off the steps and the water would be underneath the steps. There's no beach at high tide at all, like down by the washout," says Folly Beach visitor Amy Heaton.

Beach replenishment projects are crucial in protecting beaches and buildings on Folly.

"This will help protect the infrastructure of the homes, the businesses behind the beach, as a protective structural measure," says Wes Wilson, project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers in Charleston.

One of the ways to replenish beaches is through a project that has worked before.

"The nearshore placement project is a really innovative approach that the Army Corps is taking to utilize sediment that is being dredged for navigation purposes and to keep the boating channels clear, and then take that sand and help to feed the beaches in a different way than traditional beach nourishment," says Nicole Elko, president of Elko Coastal Consulting.

The last nearshore placement project took place in 2021. The Army Corps of Engineers and City of Folly Beach dredged up 50,000 cubic yards of sand from the Folly River, took it to the northeast end of the beach and dumped it about 200 to 300 yards offshore.

It proved to be successful thanks to the tracer monitoring contract and some colorful markers.

"The contractor used orange and pink dye in some of their sand loads and disposed of it. They sampled it and determined where on the beach those particular deposits landed," says Wilson.

These placement projects come with a lot of benefits.

"It is known to be a lot more environmentally friendly, too. That's one of the things we look for. The three "E's" is engineering, economics and environmental. The economics- that's cheaper; environmentally more friendly; and the engineering is constructible," says Wilson.

Another project is already being designed due to the success of the first. It is projected to wrap up by late spring of 2023.

These projects are federally funded.

Hurricanes threaten SC’s precious beaches. What can save them before the next big storm hits?

The last time a hurricane reached the Grand Strand, it obliterated North Myrtle Beach’s sand dunes and ripped the Sea Cabin Pier in Cherry Grove in half.That was just two years ago.Repairs after Hurricane Isaias, which was “only” a Category 1 storm, cost millions of dollars. It wasn’t a hurricane that required major evacuations, but it was a sign of how a single storm, even one that isn’t ...

The last time a hurricane reached the Grand Strand, it obliterated North Myrtle Beach’s sand dunes and ripped the Sea Cabin Pier in Cherry Grove in half.

That was just two years ago.

Repairs after Hurricane Isaias, which was “only” a Category 1 storm, cost millions of dollars. It wasn’t a hurricane that required major evacuations, but it was a sign of how a single storm, even one that isn’t a Hugo or a Katrina, can do massive damage to one of South Carolina’s most precious resources — the beach.

Protecting beaches is a crucial task for federal, state and local officials. Without the sand that defines the Grand Strand, Charleston’s barrier islands or Hilton Head, the state could lose billions of dollars in tourism. Anyone who grew up in South Carolina during the 1970s and 1980s can share how the near-total erosion of Folly Beach devastated that town’s economy and made it a place to avoid.

“The beaches are a very, very valuable resource for the state of South Carolina, for the country, but they’re under very significant and increasing pressures,” said Paul Gayes, executive director of Coastal Carolina University’s Center for Marine & Wetland Studies. “That’s a significant management challenge, and now the question is how long can we can we manage it as we have?”

In 2018, Folly Beach along with a 26-mile stretch of the Grand Strand underwent emergency beach renourishment to restore sand lost from Hurricanes Matthew, Irma and Florence. The damage was so bad that the Army Corps of Engineers paid for the entire cost of renourishment. Normally, the federal entity would pay for just 65% of renourishment in the Grand Strand and 85% in Folly Beach. The remaining cost would be passed off to state and local governments.

Sand dunes themselves are important ecological habitats for grasses and other forms of coastal wildlife, but humans have a more selfish reason for maintaining them.

Dunes protect the buildings and infrastructure that sit behind them, particularly by breaking up storm surges, Army Corps of Engineers project manager Wes Wilson said.

As storms come in, they bring in particularly strong waves that sometimes have enough force to topple building, wash away cars and toss boats from marinas onto highways.

Sand dunes, for their part, take the first brunt of that force, Gayes said. The strength of the impact of the storm surge depends largely on how fast the waves are moving. If a dune can slow down a powerful wave by even a couple seconds, that can exponentially decrease the water’s force when it makes impact on whatever lies beyond.

“It takes a long time for a dune to recover,” he said. “It may take weeks and months, even years to build a strong, healthy dune system, but a storm can come in and remove that dune in six hours.”

The dunes are strong, but brittle. They sometimes can’t survive more than one major hit.

“If another storm comes in before it’s recovered, it’s not there to do the protective services that was there before,” Gayes said.

Protecting sand dunes and the beaches in front of them is a circular endeavor. Tropical weather and general erosion over time wash away the sand, and governments have to spend millions of dollars to put the sand back, repeatedly. The task sounds futile, but Wilson says it’s worth it.

“After a hurricane has hit, the beaches that have been renourished and have sufficient protection measures such as dunes in place, fare far better than those that have not,” Wilson said.

The process to actually put sand back can be an irritating one for homeowners and visitors unlucky enough to be at the beach when renourishment is happening.

“We always say it’s a short-term inconvenience for a long-term benefit,” Wilson said. “As the contractor’s working in front of your house for a day or two, they can be kind of loud and kind of noisy. But as soon as they move on, within a day or two, you’ve got a brand new beach in front of your home and reduce the risk of damages not only your home, but the structures behind your home.”

There are a lot of reasons beaches erode. The most constant one is a sort of “river of sand” that is perpetually moving from north to south along the East Coast.

This movement causes some beaches to erode and others to grow, though as the sea level rises, the sand frequently disappears into the depths of the ocean, rather than flowing south to, say, Pawleys Island, Hilton Head or Florida.

“Over the long term, we are always losing sediment,” Gayes said. “That’s why we do renourishment, which is putting sand ‘back in the budget’ by artificial means.”

The more noticeable reason for beach erosion tends to be storms, experts say.

Isaias, for example, was particularly notable because of the damage its storm surges did to the low-lying sand dunes of North Myrtle Beach.

The storm surge’s strength came from both the power of the Category 1 hurricane itself but also the fact that it made landfall during the so-called “King Tides.” These appear several times a year and are known as the highest tides seen in the Grand Strand. When the King Tides reach North Myrtle Beach, particularly the Cherry Grove neighborhood, many roads flood, even without any rainfall or tropical weather.

The wind and storm surges that come with tropical storms and hurricanes break up the sand on the beaches and drag it back into the ocean, Gayes said.

Frequently, the sand will return on its own, but hurricanes can interrupt that process.

“It can move off shore enough that it won’t come back,” Gayes said.

This happened notably from 2016 to 2018, when a series of hurricanes — Matthew, Irma and Florence — tore up South Carolina’s beaches.

Their devastation was amplified by the fact that the hurricanes, particularly Matthew and Florence, were preceded by other tropical weather in the weeks leading up to them. That one-two punch left the beaches with no time to recover between storms.

“It’s not always a given storm that comes in that is the particular problem. It’s what’s happened a week or two weeks or 10 days before some of the big flooding events,” Gayes said. “If you’ve had a storm come in and kind of made the beach go away by moving material out of the upper beach and then the next storm comes in — it’s disproportionately more impactful.”

As a result, the Army Corps of Engineers spent $60 million on an emergency beach renourishment spanning 26 miles of the Grand Strand and all of Folly Beach. Other parts of the state also had to do emergency renourishments, but the funding came from other sources, such as local accommodations taxes.

That renourishment required 3 million cubic yards of sand — the equivalent of 300,000 dump trucks — to be pumped from deep in the ocean onto the Grand Strand’s beaches alone.

Even a few years later, without any major storms, there is already some visible sand loss, Gayes noted. Garden City in particular, being on the edge of the renourishment project, has several blocks with at-risk structures as the ocean creeps in.

Not all storms do as much damage as Isaias, Florence, Irma and Matthew. A host of factors, from the speed at which a storm makes landfall, whether it’s a direct hit, the strength of the storm and even the direction it makes contact can all influence how badly the beaches are affected, said Victoria Oliva, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office.

“The storm surge is tied to the strength of the storm. The stronger the storm, the stronger the winds and the greater the surge,” Oliva said. “The greatest threat as far as surf goes is the stronger storms that are coming head on and pretty much coming head on for quite a while.”

This story was originally published September 6, 2022 5:00 AM.

Editorial: SC legislators should help local governments wrestling with short-term rentals

Early last week, the S.C. Department of Revenue sent out a public notice with tax tips for people renting rooms in South Carolina, noting that beginning Oct. 1, they must have a retail license and electronically file and pay accommodations taxes, just as hotels and motels do. It was a reminder that the short-term rental business continues to grow for better and, at least sometimes, for worse.Currently, two different types of businesses pay these taxes. Those operating single-unit rentals must provide the location address of their rent...

Early last week, the S.C. Department of Revenue sent out a public notice with tax tips for people renting rooms in South Carolina, noting that beginning Oct. 1, they must have a retail license and electronically file and pay accommodations taxes, just as hotels and motels do. It was a reminder that the short-term rental business continues to grow for better and, at least sometimes, for worse.

Currently, two different types of businesses pay these taxes. Those operating single-unit rentals must provide the location address of their rental property on their tax account, but property management companies and third-party booking sites have been allowed to report lump sums by municipality. A new state law requires that latter businesses also provide the department with a list of all addresses that they are reporting sales for.

We urge the department to share that information with municipalities, several of which continue to struggle to find the right balance between supporting property owners interested in offering short-term rentals — and the tourism benefits they provide — with legitimate local concerns that many such rentals worsen a housing affordability crisis, erode neighborhood cohesion and create problems with noise, trash and parking.

Having additional data from the state about the specific locations of these rentals will help local officials find the right balance between letting homeowners rent out part, or in some cases all, of their property and ensuring that the home’s neighbors and the wider community are not adversely affected. It’s a debate that has flared up anew not only in coastal cities such as Isle of Palms, Folly Beach and Port Royal but also in Columbia, Greenville, Spartanburg and Rock Hill.

Several local governments have had to go to the expense of buying software to identify short-term rental locations because not all property owners were stepping forward to get their proper licenses and pay accommodations taxes. In Port Royal, for instance, the software helped town officials identify more than 100 such units when the town previously had known about only 60-65 of them. The town has sought more information from the Revenue Department, with no luck so far. “Their argument is they don’t have the manpower or software to track this thing,” town manager Van Willis tells us, “but if they can do this for Ubers, they can do it for a house that’s not moving.”

It would be helpful if municipalities could get information on short-term rental locations within their city or town limits without having to spend tax money buying software, says Scott Slatton with the Municipal Association of South Carolina. We agree, and should companies have proprietary concerns, those could be addressed along the same lines as information about business revenue, which is reported to the state to calculate taxes and business license fees but is not available to the public.

“From the statewide perspective, the biggest help cities and counties can get with short-term rentals is getting an inventory of all of them. Where are they?” Mr. Slatton notes. “It’s first and foremost an issue of ensuring the character and quality of life within our cities and towns. That’s the first concern. The revenue comes into play, but that’s not the motivating factor for wanting to figure out where they are.”

While short-term rentals have been around for generations in some form, the advent of websites such as Airbnb and VRBO has led to tremendous growth. Municipalities have responded differently, with some mix of new laws, some more controversial than others. These include hotlines for complaints, guest limits, parking requirements, limits on the number of guests and more. While a state legislator filed a bill to prohibit cities from banning all short-term rentals within their jurisdiction, we know of no city that has attempted such a step.

But as local debates continue on adopting or refining short-term rental rules — as they most certainly will in the months and years to come — everyone should agree that the first, best step toward responsibly balancing all the interests involved is getting reliable data on where the rentals are occurring.

Get a weekly recap of South Carolina opinion and analysis from The Post and Courier in your inbox on Monday evenings.

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