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City Council continues regulatory discussions for Red Hill and vacation rentals

  Navy military Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility tunnel DVIDS
Daniel Mayberry/Naval Supply Systems Command Fle
(July 17, 2020) Fuels director, LCDR Shannon Bencs walks a portion of the 7 miles of tunnels of the Red Hill Underground Fuel Storage Facility. (U.S. Navy photo by Daniel Mayberry/Released)

The Honolulu City Council held its first meeting of 2022 on Wednesday and on the docket were two high-profile measures.

Bill 48 would allow the City and County of Honolulu to regulate underground storage tanks holding more than 100,000 gallons.

As the Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility tanks hold 25 million gallons apiece, the bill would require the Navy to get a permit from the city to operate the fuel farm.

The council action comes in the wake of the 14,000-gallon fuel spill in November that forced many military families out of their homes due to contaminated drinking water.

The Navy is already required to have a permit from the state Department of Health to operate the Red Hill Bulk facility. Its application for a new five-year permit is pending.

Another hot topic, Bill 41 would further crack down on illegal short-term vacation rentals. As drafted, it would raise the minimum stay requirement for short-term units to 90 days from the current 30.

This has angered some owners of legal units, who say it is more difficult to get visitors to sign leases for longer than 30 days.

The bill also further restricts where new short-term rentals can operate.

Both measures were up for second reading and public hearings at Wednesday’s meeting. If approved by the full council, they head back to their respective committees before returning to the full council for a third and final vote.

Want to submit testimony for any Honolulu City Council measures? Click here.

Scott Kim is a news editor at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Contact him at
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