Planning Commission Rejects Short Term Rental Regulations

Sep 20, 2018

Residents from the neighborhoods of Lanikai and Kailua on Windward Oahu are some of the most outspoken opponents of short term vacation rentals.
Credit Kailua Chamber of Commerce

The Honolulu Planning Commission unanimously voted down a sweeping proposal on short term rentals that covered everything from property taxes to parking. The wide-ranging bill would significantly change the way owners can rent out their property to vacationers and had generated opposition on all sides.

The Commission had heard from dozens of residents at a meeting earlier this month. So many appeared that the window for submitting tstimony was extended until yesterday. Residents from all areas of Oahu attended to give feedback on the propsoed measures. 

Although four other measures were under consideration, most of the focus was on a fifth bill drafted by Mayor Kirk Caldwell's Department of Planning and Permitting. That omnibus measure contains sweeping regulatory changes to how short term rentals are permitted on Oahu.

Among the bill's provisions were higher property tax rates for homes being rented out short term, restricting whole-home rentals to resort areas, and allowing an unlimited number of "Bed and Breakfast" style establishments in residential areas.

The broad nature of the proposal attracted opposition from all sides, with the vast majority of testifiers opposing the bill. As a result the Planning Commission voted unanimously to oppose the measure.

However, that is not the end for the Mayor's proposal. The City Council can still pass any of the rejected measures, but they will now need to do so with at least 6 votes, rather than the typical simple majority of 5.