Big Island officials have paused action on a bill that would regulate vacation rentals following pleas from rental operators to put it aside while the island recovers from the effects of the Kilauea volcano eruption
HILO, Hawaii (AP) — Big Island officials have delayed action on a bill that would regulate vacation rentals following calls by rental operators to put it aside while the island recovers from the effects of the Kilauea volcano eruption.
The Hawaii County Council Planning Committee postponed action Monday until July 10 on the measure that aims to prohibit short-term rental properties in residential and agricultural zones on the island, West Hawaii Today reported .
The proposal would require existing transient vacation rentals outside hotel zones and commercial districts to be grandfathered in by applying for a nonconforming use certificate, which would be required to be renewed for $500 each year.
The measure would only apply rental properties where the owners do not live on site. Bed-and-breakfasts properties and home-sharing units are not addressed in the measure.
Most Read Business Stories
- Restaurant workers go 'missing' again from Washington's job recovery
- Here's a question: How much are you willing to pay for a burger or burrito?
- Google team that keeps services online rocked by mental health crisis
- Blake Nordstrom inducted posthumously into Seattle's walk of fame
- Seattle concrete strike continues after union calls mediation a 'failure'
Several operators of short-term rentals urged the committee to halt action as the island deals with the effects of the lava flows. Debbie Sharp, a property manager at Kohala Ranch, said the tourism industry does not need another obstacle as it works to recover from the current emergency.
“Tourism and the vacation rental business have been hit hard by the volcano eruption,” Sharp said. “It will devastate the economy right now.”
Puna Councilwoman Eileen O’Hara proposed adding language to the measure that would allow the planning director to accept applications for new short-term vacation rentals to replace those destroyed by the lava flows. She estimated that up to 400 vacation rentals were destroyed by the lava flows.
“Visitors are going to want to come to my district,” O’Hara said. “They’d like to view the volcano; they’d like to see the results of the volcano.”
O’Hara’s amendments were postponed with the bill. Other committee members argued that O’Hara’s proposal would be contrary to the intent of the measure.
Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com