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Honolulu measure to further crack down on illegal vacation rentals heads to final council vote

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A controversial bill to further crack down on illegal vacation rentals heads to the full Honolulu City Council for a final vote after a committee approved the measure on final reading Wednesday.

The Blangiardi administration filed Bill 41 in order to curtail the number of illegal vacation rentals in areas like Kailua on Oʻahu that are not zoned for tourism, but have become hot spots for visitors.

Dozens testified at a meeting of the Zoning and Planning Committee on Wednesday.

Supporters of the bill say visitors disrupt residential areas, while opponents say the city already passed a measure to crack down on illegal rentals several years ago, and Bill 41 would only hurt those operating legally.

The committee approved the bill with several amendments, prompting Councilmember Heidi Tsuneyoshi — who is not part of the committee — to express concern that there is still confusion over the bill.

"The work that’s been done in committee has brought it to such a much better place, but as noted in much of the testimony, there isn’t clarity from people who are reading the various versions of bills to know what the final version — even today after amending — looks like. So I would hope that we would have one more chance in committee for people to read what you’re amending today, that people can provide their comments based on the amended version of the Bill 41 CD 2," Tsuneyoshi said.

The measure raises the minimum amount of time a unit can be rented from 30 to 90 days across the majority of the island, and restricts new vacation rental permits to resort-zoned areas such as Waikīkī and Ko Olina.

Among the amendments approved by the committee: the clarification that short-term renters cannot park on public streets, a reduction in renewal fees for rentals from a proposed $2,000 to $500, and stipulations on how many renters can occupy units in certain areas.

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