Thursday, October 6, 2011

Maui Moves Closer to Approving Vacation Rentals in Residential Areas

The Maui News

WAILUKU - Maui County Council members moved closer Monday toward making it easier to legalize short-term rentals outside of resort districts, as long as they are closely monitored in the county's neighborhoods.

Planning Committee members heard testifiers for and against short-term rentals targeted at tourists in residential areas. And the issues (as well as some of the testifiers) remained the same, maintaining the integrity of neighborhoods versus stimulating the economy with a new option for vacation accommodations.

But council members were able to get into the nitty gritty of the bill, which committee Chairman Don Couch said he wants to make a priority.

"We'll be doing some heavy-duty crafting when we come back October 17," Couch said.

Department of Planning Director Will Spence agreed the measure should be a priority.

"I think it is an important bill," he said, adding there should be a way for operators to make short-term rentals legal. "This bill will simplify the permit application process."

Spence said the measure would change the makeup of neighborhoods by allowing short-term vacation rentals.

Bill proponents said they were committed through this process to make sure the impact on neighborhoods is felt as little as is possible.

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