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Bissen quick to offer bill to regulate Maui vacation rentals

May 3—1/1

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CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / DEC. 15

A brand new Maui County bill proposed by Maui Mayor Richard Bissen would section out vacation rentals in West Maui. Above, vacation rental items on the Kapalua Golf Villas in Lahaina.

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From as little as $12.95 /mo.

Maui Mayor Richard Bissen wasted no time in proposing a county bill that will section out 2,200 vacation rentals in West Maui house districts by July 1, 2025 — and finally all 7,000 items in house districts throughout Maui.

If Bissen’s plan will get permitted, there can be no authorized vacation rentals in Maui house districts beginning Jan. 1, 2026.

The proposal first can have to go earlier than the County Planning Commission after which the complete County Council, the place Council member Kani Rawlins-Fernandez expects her colleagues to move it.

Bissen introduced his proposal a day after the complete state House of Representatives voted to ship Senate Bill 2919 to Gov. Josh Green, who’s anticipated to signal it into regulation as we speak.

SB 2919 provides every county the authority to regulate vacation rentals on its islands, together with the potential of banning them.

Rawlins-Fernandez joined Bissen at a information convention Thursday, together with members of Lahaina Strong who referred to as for a ban on Maui short-term vacation rentals

within the aftermath of the Aug. 8 wildfires, which displaced 12,000 residents and exacerbated Maui’s scarcity of inexpensive housing.

Following Bissen’s announcement, Paele Kiakona — one in all

Lahaina Strong’s organizers —

introduced that the group would stop its housing-related occupation of Kaanapali Beach.

Kiakona, Rawlins-Fernandez and Bissen repeatedly mentioned adjustments want to be made to Maui’s vacation rental trade to present inexpensive housing and assist stop residents from leaving for extra inexpensive states.

“Our families are being uprooted and moving away every day,”

Rawlins-Fernandez mentioned, “over the

interests of offshore investors” who generally personal “second, third or even fourth homes” on Maui.

The rental items have been initially designed as workforce housing however transitioned over the many years into profitable vacation rentals that few working residents can afford, particularly as landlords proceed to cost larger rents within the fires’ aftermath.

“It’s important to note that most, if not all, of these TVRs (transient vacation rentals) impacted by this legislation were previously built and designed for workforce housing in West Maui, and our goal is to return them to their intended purpose,” Bissen mentioned.

But Sne Patel, director

of gross sales and advocacy for Maui Resort Rentals, instructed the Honolulu Star-Advertiser after Bissen’s announcement that the sale and rental costs for short-term vacation rentals are doubtless to stay out of attain for many working households on Maui.

So banning vacation rentals in house districts is unlikely to lead to the purpose of making extra inexpensive housing for residents, Patel mentioned.

“That’s not really going to happen because the price points of these condos aren’t going to be reachable for the people we’re trying to help,” Patel mentioned. “Has anyone asked the individuals that were looking for housing if a 500- or 600-square-foot unit for a family of four or six is even going to work for them?”

Rents are working $1,800

a month “right off the bat,” and gross sales costs — particularly for items close to the ocean — typically include “high maintenance fees,”

Patel mentioned. “Especially the ones built in the ’60s and ’70s have deteriorating infrastructure … and limited parking.”

Bissen, a former choose, expects authorized challenges, and Patel agrees, saying, “One hundred percent, I would anticipate individuals wanting to protect their investment and make sure they’re not going to lose out, whether that individual be from the mainland or local.”

But SB 2919 will bolster the county’s arguments

defending its place on vacation rentals, Bissen mentioned.

“We anticipated a legal battle already,” Bissen mentioned. “This puts us in a better legal position.”

Owners shall be confronted with changing their items into long-term use or promoting them, hopefully to native residents, Bissen mentioned.

His plan goals to repeal “an injustice” that is been in impact for the reason that Nineteen Eighties that allowed “offshore investors” to “capitalize” on Maui’s vacation rental market, Rawlins-Fernandez mentioned.

The Council Council, on the time, tried to restrict short-term vacation rentals to lodge districts in 1989.

But an opinion written by then-Deputy Corporation Counsel Richard Minatoya exempted items constructed earlier than March 5, 1991, Rawlins-

Fernandez mentioned.

The exempted items are actually often called the “Minatoya list,” which Bissen’s bill “seeks to repeal,” Rawlins-

Fernandez mentioned.

State Sen. Jarrett

Keohokalole (D, Kaneohe-

Kailua) launched SB 2919 to give counties the authority to regulate vacation rentals as they appear match.

He significantly needed to make clear a 1957 regulation enacted earlier than statehood that was efficiently used towards Honolulu within the case of Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance v. City &County of Honolulu.

On Dec. 21, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson granted the Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance a everlasting injunction that exempts present house rental house owners from a provision in a 2022 metropolis regulation that sought to improve the minimal rental interval for residential properties on Oahu to 89 days from 30 days.

SB 2919 drew appreciable pushback and criticism because it moved by the Legislature this 12 months on its means to Green’s desk as we speak.

Bissen’s announcement, Keohokalole instructed the Star-Advertiser, represents “vindication that this bill is needed. It hasn’t even been signed yet, and action is being taken.”

“The fact that Maui County is taking such an aggressive position shows that the bill is needed and we did the right thing. We did it for them,”

Keohokalole mentioned. “It’s not an easy issue. Our kuleana is done. We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”

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