Tybee homeowners confront city council about property rights – WJCL News Savannah

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On Thursday night more than 20 Tybee homeowners spoke to city council at its council meeting, urging them to dismiss its short-term rental (STR) ordinance. The ordinance bans vacation rentals in residential areas; And less vacation rentals could mean less tourists. Each allowed three minutes, several owners spoke that the ordinance would not only affect their income, but the city’s as well. Jenny Rutherford, an 18-year real estate agent on Tybee Island, said local businesses will struggle to survive without the consistent revenue from the tourist season. “During off season our businesses experience a 70% drop in income. So, if it were off season all year long, then these businesses could expect to have up to 70% reduction in their income,” Rutherford said. While Mayor Brian West and other council members agreed with the STR owners, councilwoman Kathryn Williams had something different to say. “We’re only talking about residential areas,” Williams clarified. But Rutherford said residential areas play a big part in STR’s.When looking at the map, only the red and pink-shaded areas are commercial, meaning most of the island is residential, leaving STR’s renters with very limited space. But Tybee homeowners’ income isn’t the only thing being affected. Sherry Oxendine, a longtime Tybee Island owner, said the situation is forcing her to move out of Tybee and leave her family.”I’m going to miss my granddaughters growing up, but it’s either decide between my family or my finances,” Oxendine said, “And my family does not have the finances to take care of me when I get old.”At the meeting, the council said the STR ordinance will be on the agenda for the next council meeting.

On Thursday night more than 20 Tybee homeowners spoke to city council at its council meeting, urging them to dismiss its short-term rental (STR) ordinance.

The ordinance bans vacation rentals in residential areas; And less vacation rentals could mean less tourists.

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Each allowed three minutes, several owners spoke that the ordinance would not only affect their income, but the city’s as well.

Jenny Rutherford, an 18-year real estate agent on Tybee Island, said local businesses will struggle to survive without the consistent revenue from the tourist season.

“During off season our businesses experience a 70% drop in income. So, if it were off season all year long, then these businesses could expect to have up to 70% reduction in their income,” Rutherford said.

While Mayor Brian West and other council members agreed with the STR owners, councilwoman Kathryn Williams had something different to say.

“We’re only talking about residential areas,” Williams clarified.

But Rutherford said residential areas play a big part in STR’s.

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When looking at the map, only the red and pink-shaded areas are commercial, meaning most of the island is residential, leaving STR’s renters with very limited space.

But Tybee homeowners’ income isn’t the only thing being affected.

Sherry Oxendine, a longtime Tybee Island owner, said the situation is forcing her to move out of Tybee and leave her family.

“I’m going to miss my granddaughters growing up, but it’s either decide between my family or my finances,” Oxendine said, “And my family does not have the finances to take care of me when I get old.”

At the meeting, the council said the STR ordinance will be on the agenda for the next council meeting.

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