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City crackdown on illegal vacation rentals advances

Published: Sep. 29, 2021 at 10:27 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The city Planning Commission Wednesday approved the city’s wide-ranging crackdown on illegal vacation rentals.

By a 6-to-1 vote, the commission passed the measure, which would eliminate thousands of short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods.

Officials said the bill was passed in an effort to free up more housing for local residents.

“These types of uses when they’re outside of a resort district become a cancer on our affordable housing stock,” said commission member Nathaniel Kinney.

Other commissioners wanted more public input before moving ahead.

“I am not in favor of the bill. And I’m in favor in more community outreach,” said commission member Steven Lim.

Others raised concerns about the impact on tourism but voted to move the bill along.

“This bill seems to be a little bit draconian -- excessive in some places -- and going from 30 days to 180 days will be a challenge,” said commission member Ken Hayashida.

The bill redefines short-term rentals from the current 30 days or less to 180 days or less. Industry leaders said that will destroy the legal vacation rental business.

“It’s going to cost the City and County a lot of (general excise) taxes. It’s going to cost residents and small business owners their livelihoods,” said Milo Spindt of Elite Pacific Property Management.

“But it’s not going to produce any affordable housing.”

The bill next goes to the City Council for further hearings.

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