VACATION RENTAL (10-12-07) ~
COUNTY HEARINGS ON VACATION RENTALS BEGIN...
Maui County began the hearing process for a series of five bills for ordinances that would set new rules for
Vacation Rentals in Maui County. The bills distinguish between Transient Vacation Rentals (TVRs) and Bed &
Breakfast (B&B) establishments by describing TVRs as those residential properties rented out short-term,
where the owner is not present. B&Bs are described as short-term rentals in which the owner is an occupant,
living in the same residence as the guest rooms. Ohana units could not be rented short-term. TVRs would
only be allowed in defined resort districts and mini-hotels of up to 20 rooms would be permitted in Business
Districts. TVRs would not be permitted in residential, rural, or agricultural districts. B&B would be allowed into
those districts, but in the agricultural district, the owner must also have $35,000 in gross agricultural income to
be allowed to apply for a permit.
In Maui County, the Planning Commissions from each of the three islands (Maui, Lanai, and Molokai) first hear
the bills and then make recommendations on amendments to the zoning code to the County Council, which
has the final say. On October 9, the Maui Planning Commission heard about four hours of testimony. Almost
all speakers, including RAM, supported the continuation of the vacation rental industry and opposed the
proposed bills because they seemed to be written to undermine the industry and the economy that has grown
up around it. Despite an honest effort, the Maui Commission was not able to complete its review of the bills.
The commission split on the question of whether or not to allow the use of ohana units as short-term rentals.
It agreed, however, to reject a Planning Department proposal to disallow conditional permits for TVRs. The
Maui Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the matter again on October 23.
In other vacation rental matters, the Hawaii Association of REALTORS
® agreed to match RAM's initial $12,500
contribution to an action plan aimed at bringing a positive solution to this issue, creating a combined fund of
$25,000. HAR also supported RAM's request that the National Association of REALTORS
® match that $25,000
with national Issues Mobilization funding, to create a $50,000 fund to address this issue. Initial planning for
those funds is to underwrite an economic impact statement on the forced shutdown of this industry; to conduct
a public opinion poll on the subject; and to conduct a media-based education campaign about the issue