To the editor:
For nearly my entire adult life I’ve dreamt of owning a property in Conway. I often visited with my family as a child. I thought wouldn’t it be great to own a place someday and be able to frequent the area more often and provide my boys, currently 6 and 9, with the same experiences I had.
After 18 years or so of paying down student debt, forgoing any kind of proper vacation and saving every penny I could, my dream became a reality in April of 2020 when I fell in love with a newly constructed condo.
I also knew I wouldn’t be able to swing it unless I had some additional income coming in from rent generated when I was not there.
When I went through the purchasing process, I was honestly ignorant to any of the issues STRs were causing.
Now, barely one year into ownership with everything going great, I just heard the news regarding the vote and am in utter shock and disbelief. Renting out my property and the relationships I’ve developed with my renters has been incredibly rewarding to me.
I take every step possible to screen all my guests. My property is brand new and beautiful, if I do say so myself, and it is my sincere interest to keep it that way for decades to come. I take the time to call everyone before they arrive and have a conversation to make sure they don’t have any questions as well as just be able to take a self-assessment to ensure this is the type of renter I want occupying my property. I have met some incredible people during these conversations and after getting to know them a little bit can honestly say that they not only bring themselves to the region, but they bring their pocketbooks as well.
If I take a conservative estimate of spending about $200 a day, in the nine short months I have been renting, my renters have spent about $42,000 in town. This small sample is simply my unit and cannot imagine how badly a vote like this is going to affect the local businesses. The woman who cleans the rental is also on this call and she stands to lose her livelihood. From August 2020 through April of 2021 I have paid $11,000 in cleaning fees and have also paid almost $8,000 in occupancy taxes. Just in the time I have stayed and used with family and friends we’ve spent well over $10,000.
I want to make it abundantly clear that I am in 100 percent agreement that whatever issues the year-round residents have faced need to be addressed and resolved.
I firmly believe there is a much better approach here, with a resolution that not only upholds and respects the rights of property owners, but also ensures orderliness and the utmost respect of the town’s inhabitants. I, for one, am willing to adopt any reasonable measure that heads in this direction and provides for an ideal common ground.