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Vacation Rental Regulation Plan Finds Little Support from Residents

Wayne Yoshioka

The Honolulu Planning Commission held a public hearing yesterday on several proposals that would change the way Temporary Vacation Units, or TVU’s, operate on Oahu. Dozens of Oahu residents appeared in person to testify.

For several years, state and city lawmakers have been unable to reach an agreement on how best to regulate vacation rental services like Airbnb, VRBO, and Home Away.  

In the latest effort, four bills containing various regulatory measures have been submitted by members of the Honolulu City Council. A fifth, competing bill was drafted by the city Department of Planning and Permitting.   

Over 80 Oahu residents appeared in person to give verbal testimony about the proposed regulations. The majority were opposed to the omnibus bill from DPP, but reasons for opposition varied greatly. Many residents opposed additional regulations on TVU's, while others felt the proposal did not go far enough.

Tenets that generated opposition included an increased property tax burden, restricting TVU's from residential areas, an unlimited allowance of 'Bed and Breakfast' establishments, and lack of enforcement mechanisms. 

The high number of testifiers prevented everyone from being heard by the commission. In response, commissioners extended the window for public comment until September 19th. Testimony can be submitted in writing ahead of time or in person at the Mission Memorial Auditorium at 1:30 PM.

Instructions for submitting testimony and registering to speak are as follows:

All interested persons are invited to attend. Those persons desiring to testify may register prior to the public hearing at the public hearing site and are encouraged to submit one copy of their testimony in writing. 

Attendance at the public hearing is not necessary to submit testimony. Written testimony may be faxed (768-6743) or mailed (650 South King Street, 7th Floor, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813) to the department prior to the hearing and will be included with the transcript of the hearing and will be considered in the evaluation of the request. 

Note: If you require special assistance, auxiliary aid and/or service to participate in this event (i.e. sign language interpreter, interpreter for language other than English, or wheelchair accessibility), please call 768-8000, or email your request to info@honoluludpp.org at least three business days prior to the event. 

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