Worry over the city council’s vacation rental rules spreads to other businesses

Published: Jun. 18, 2019 at 7:42 PM HST
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HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Sean Davidson is a chef that helps cater events at vacation rentals. He worries the trickle down effect from tougher regulations on vacation rentals will for him turn feast to famine.

"It's already hard enough to get these gigs and stay constant," said Davidson.

Chef and owner of Course Hawaii, Andrew Stone says he started a side pickle business three years ago anticipating that a quarter of his catering business could go sour.

"I'm just one of a thousand people that are going to end up losing their job," said Stone.

Owners of illegal vacation rentals were too afraid to speak out after the city council passed two bills that toughen regulations, but predict dire consequences to the economy.

"I can't say that's accurate or not, but the fact remains that those folks who don't have a permit and are operating -- are operating an illegal business," said Council chair Ikaika Anderson.

City leaders say there's 6,000 to 8,000 illegal vacation rentals while only 800 have permits.

“We also know that while tourism in Hawaii spending is flat and that is a function of illegal short term rentals. These are bad for our communities and they are bad for our economy,” said Kekoa McClellan, Hawaii spokesman for American Hotel and Lodging Association.

The council passed two vacation rental bills. City attorneys warned the council the two bills conflict because the master use tables in each bill don't match and that governs how the land is used.

"So the mayor needs to decide which bills or both bills if he's going to sign both of them," said Anderson.

Mayor Kirk Caldwell said he'd sign 89 into law, but didn't indicate what he'll do about the other bill.

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