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Maui County Considering Ban On Short-Term Vacation Rentals

Ryan Piros
Maui County

WAILUKU — County officials in Maui are considering a ban on all short-term vacation rentals to combat illegal rental operations on the island.

The Maui County Planning Department has scheduled a public information meeting on the issue to solicit community feedback, Maui News reported Friday. The meeting is scheduled for March 6 at the Department of Planning building in Wailuku.

No bill or rule change is expected to be proposed, Department Director Michele McLean said, adding that the meeting is just to collect input on a potential ban.

Residents, property owners and others in the community can make statements and ask questions at the meeting, but it is not a formal proceeding with three-minute public testimonies.

The meeting announcement comes after the Maui County Council decided earlier this month to ban short-term rentals on Molokai, McLean said.

"The council’s action on Molokai was some of what prompted it, and also there were a few reasons,” she said. “One is that these have contributed to higher property values, which makes the cost of living here more expensive for everybody else.”

The original intent of the short-term rental home ordinance, which passed in 2012, was “to get all of the operations into compliance, but there’s still a lot of illegals out there, so it hasn’t succeeded in what its original objective was,” McLean added.

It could take a few years for the county to phase out short-term rentals, because permits would likely stay valid until they expire, county officials said. Bed-and-breakfasts would still be allowed, though the county would consider modifying what these establishments are so more operations would be eligible for a permit, officials said.

It is "certainly possible that people who were absolutely determined to do short-term rentals may do it anyway,” McLean said, but there are now higher fines for illegal rentals, which were enacted in December.

It costs property owners $20,000 initially for operating an illegal rental, and $10,000 every day after.

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