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Hawaii County short-term rental rule changes draft published

March 26, 2019

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — An updated draft of rules for short-term vacation rentals has been published by Hawaii County’s planning department.

The list of regulations published by Big Island county planners could end up being the long-awaited final draft, West Hawaii Today reported Monday.

Under the proposed new rules, the county could establish “vacation destination zones” that are rezoned from agricultural to urban by the state Land Use Commission to allow vacation rentals in areas without hotels or resorts that remain attractive to visitors, Planning Director Michael Yee said.

Another change would remove language requiring the planning director to help restore the number of vacation rentals if a significant amount of units are lost during a declared emergency.

Some regulations were tightened to give the director less discretion by spelling out rules regarding complaints and application processing, the newspaper said.

Other rules that were the focus of opposition during public hearings were not changed because they are required by existing state or county laws, the newspaper reported, such as the prohibition of vacation rentals in state-designated agricultural lands.

The bill to establish the vacation rental ordinance has gone through several years of county council meetings, planning commissions and eight drafts on its way to being finalized.

“I think this first go-round on a very complex situation, we really tried to find a balance point between vacation rentals and residential uses,” Yee said.

The proposal will be officially presented during an April 2 public hearing at the Aupuni Center in Hilo, officials said.

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Information from: West Hawaii Today, http://www.westhawaiitoday.com

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