(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Council Planning Committee on Tuesday advanced a bill to regulate the Big Island’s short-term vacation rentals.
With 6 “ayes”, the committee voted to give Bill 108 a positive recommendation. The legislation will next go before the full council.
Bill 108, which “defines where short-term vacation rentals would be allowed, establishes regulations for their use, and provides a way for an owner or operator to obtain a nonconforming use certificate that would allow them to operate in a non-permitted district,” has been before the council all year. The bill has undergone multiple revisions and is currently on its 4th draft.
Mayor Harry Kim was on hand to testify in support of the bill. He emphasized that Bill 108 was initially a product of his administration, and spoke about the need to get a hold on the growing vacation rental industry.
The public spoke out against the bill in testimony before the council committee. Those in support of the vacation rental industry, as well as those opposed – like the people of the Leleiwi Community Association (above), who have seen developers transform their neighborhood to create so called “monster” homes – were united against the bill.
Puna residents, who say the volcano-ravaged district depends on short-term vacation rentals as a pillar of its economy, were vocal in their opposition. Many asked to have an economic impact analysis done prior to enacting the law.
Puna cuncilwoman Eileen O’Hara was the only “no” vote. Puna’s other councilwoman, Jen Ruggles, was absent for the vote, as was District 2 councilman Aaron Chung. However, Chung was present in Hilo to hear the public testimony.