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Thursday, May 2, 2024
Maui County to (attempt to) Outlaw 'Minatoya List' Condotels
By News Release @ 5:30 PM :: 6362 Views :: Maui County, Ethics, Development, Greenmail, Drugs

EDITOR's NOTE:  Worried about losing your TVR as the Legislature, Governor, and Council enact laws and ordinances to take away your legal property right to operate a TVR?  Take a deep breath.  The protesters may not know it, but Governor Green and Mayor Bissen do know this is a 'taking' and therefore doomed in court.  Their intent is to pander politically and also to scare TVR owners out of business to the benefit of hotels and hotel unions.

Here are a few key excerpts from this week's coverage: 

Star-Adv May 2, 2024: Bissen proposes ban on West Maui vacation rentals  

BEST COMMENT: Too bad Maui didn’t learn from the City getting spanked for unconstitutionally attempting to legislatively phase out vested property rights to STRs:

“This determination is consistent with that of the Hawai‘i Intermediate Court of Appeals:

“[T]he right of a property owner to the continued existence of uses and structures which lawfully existed prior to the effective date of a zoning restriction is grounded in constitutional law.

“[D]ue process principles protect a property owner from having his or her vested property rights interfered with, and preexisting lawful uses of property are generally considered to be vested rights that zoning ordinances may not abrogate."

--Hawaii Legal Short-Term Rental Alliance v. City and County of Honolulu et al, Civil No. 1:2022cv00247 (D. Hawai’i October 13, 2022) (additional citations omitted).

Civil Beat May 2, 2024:Bissen, a former judge, said he expects there will be lawsuits.

“That’s why it hasn’t been done all this time,” he said. “That’s why it’s been sitting and sort of festering. It hasn’t gotten better and it’s not going to get better. Now is our best opportunity because we need it now.”

He said now is a good time because the state law will help make the county’s actions more defensible.

The Legislature on Wednesday passed a bill by a huge margin that clarifies “the counties’ authority to regulate the time, place, manner, and duration in which uses of land and structures may take place.” It specifically includes a provision allowing the the counties to phase out certain short-term rentals.

(CLUE: A State-authorized 'taking' is still a 'taking'.  Bissen knows this.)

Gov. Josh Green said Wednesday after the groundbreaking for a 450-unit temporary complex for fire survivors in Lahaina that “if we succeed on reducing the number of short-term rentals, then a lot of these housing problems will be much smaller.” He plans to sign the bill Friday….

(TRANSLATION: Green knows the law will be overturned.  He is just exploiting the circus to scare a few TVR owners out of business.)

Maui News May 3, 2024: The county stated they estimate the loss of real property tax value to be around $30 million if the bill passes. Bissen acknowledged the county is fully anticipating legal challenges arising out of the proposed bill and that there will be a loss of property revenue for the county if passed.  “We anticipated a legal battle already and we just added one stronger point to our case by having the legislature say that the county can regulate our short-term rentals,” Bissen said. “We also know previous case law by cases that were challenged, which puts us in a better legal position as well.”

(Translation again: Bissen also knows they will lose in court.)

Hawaii Vacation Rental Occupancy Sinks as Rates Continue to Soar

Beat of Hawaii May 4, 2024: … In parallel with huge legislative reforms, both statewide and on Maui, the vacation rental market in Hawaii is already experiencing a marked downturn in occupancy rates. Mixed messaging from the state did not help matters either. That contrasts starkly with the far more robust performance of Hawaii hotels….

(TRANSLATION: It’s working as intended.)

Are you on this list?  

PDF: Short-Term-Occupancy-List-aka-Minatoya-List (mauicounty.gov)

LINK: TVRs enshrined in Maui Apartment Code

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Here are the activists, dreaming ....

LĀHAINĀ STRONG AND MAYOR BISSEN ANNOUNCE MAJOR MAUI COUNTY ACTION TO REGULATE SHORT TERM RENTALS

Lāhainā Strong announces new County legislation with Mayor Bissen following passage of state legislation and invites media to 3pm press conference to follow at Kā‘anapali Beach  

11am livestream available on County of Maui Facebook page, 3pm available on Lahaina Strong Facebook page

News Release from Lahaina Strong, May  2, 2024 

WAILUKU, HI —  On Thursday May 2nd, the day after the Hawai‘i State Legislature passed historic legislation (SB2919) to give counties the full authority to regulate short-term transient vacation rentals, leaders of the grassroots advocacy movement Lāhainā Strong joined with County Maui Mayor Richard Bissen and Councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez at an 11am HT Press Conference at the Kalana O Maui County Building to announce new policy action to regulate and phase out thousands of transient vacation rentals that have not gone through the traditional permitting process, in response to the housing crisis on Maui.

The Maui housing crisis has been drastically exacerbated by the August 8th wildfires, which have displaced more than 12,000 residents. Mayor Bissen has directed the Planning Director to transmit a new bill to the Planning Commissions seeking to phase out and repeal the controversial use of TVRs in the Apartment District, which currently allows condos, apartments and planned developments that are not hotels to operate as short-term rentals without any state or county permit. If approved, such TVRs will be phased out and unable to operate as short-term rentals under any legal pathway. This legislation will be targeted at the houses on the controversial “Minatoya List” which has been a target of Lāhainā Strong’s demands.

“Lahaina Strong began our Fishing for Housing campaign in Kā’anapali Beach in November of last year, establishing an occupation in the heart of West Maui tourism to bring awareness to our fire survivors' dire need for long-term dignified housing. As our top priority, we demanded immediate action to get our people housed, and the Minatoya list, a list of short-term rentals exempt from going through the typical permitting process, was our initial focus. Now that our movement has secured yesterday’s passage of SB 2919 in the Hawai’i State legislature, giving our counties the authority to phase out short-term rentals, the Bissen administration and Councilmember Rawlins-Fernandez are today announcing County-level legislation would take our demands even further and remove this exemption indefinitely — permanently restoring housing for locals across Maui,” said Paele Kiakona a core organizer and spokesperson for Lāhainā Strong. “In Lāhainā alone we have over 2,200 units on this list. These mostly off-island owners have benefited immensely from turning our apartment-zoned housing into investments, displacing working-class local families from our communities long before the fire. Today, in unity with the Mayor’s administration and advisory committee, we take a huge step forward to restore dignity and hope to our families and bring our community back together. We call on the Maui Planning Commissions and the Maui County Council to immediately support this critical bill.”

Lāhainā Strong will also host its own press conference at 3pm at Ka‘anapali Beach. This monumental policy announcement comes on the 174th day, almost 6 months, of a sustained occupation at the heart of West Maui tourism which launched in November in order to draw attention to the need to put local need of fire survivors over corporate and off-island greed and immediately make providing dignified housing for displaced West Maui residents mission number one. Since then we have marched, rallied, educated the public, organized thousands of pages of testimony and calls to legislators, relentlessly lobbied the Capitol and the County Council in-person and from afar in order to secure commitments to action. 

At the 3pm press conference Lāhainā Strong will celebrate the collective victories of the Lāhainā Strong Hui, representing over 40 grassroots groups and businesses rooted in West Maui, share its plans to end the Kā‘anapali occupation with community, and announce next steps.

“Mayor Bissen’s action today is a testament that amazing things can come from devastation. This was won through the struggle of our grassroots movement, which put the opportunity and need to tackle our Maui vacation rental crisis into the dialogue through relentless advocacy, public education, community organizing — and even a 174 day and counting sustained occupation of Kā‘anapali Beach,” said Jordan Ruidas, founder and campaigns coordinator of Lāhainā Strong. “We are grateful to Maui County Mayor Bissen for his partnership and leadership, and the many who worked before and alongside us. Now, we call on the Maui County Planning Commissions and County Council to swiftly join us in action to ensure dignified housing for fire survivors and return our communities to local people.”

###

Lāhainā Strong Hui is a coalition of over 40 organizations working for a recovery that puts kama‘āina and local need over corporate greed, and prioritizes restoration of ‘āina and wai. It is led by Lahaina Strong, Kakoo Haleakala, Save Honolua, Kaibigan ng Lāhaina, Nā ‘Aikāne o Maui, Ka Malu O Kahalawai, Maui Housing Hui, Maui Medic Healers Hui, Maui Hale Match, Tagnawa, Roots Reborn, Kahana Canoe Club, Napili Canoe Club, Lahaina Canoe Club, Save Kaanapali, Rebuild Maui, Malama Olowalu, Malama Na Pua O Haumea, Napili Noho Hub, Na Leo Kako’o, Maui Rescue Mission, Maui Nui Resiliency Hui, Hui O Kuapā, Tuf Hawaii, Maui Rapid Response, West Maui Preservation Association, Na Papa’i Wawae ‘Ula’ula, Polanui Hiu, and more.

BACKGROUND ON MINATOYA LIST

The “Minatoya” list covers condominiums, apartments and planned developments that are not hotels but that can lawfully conduct short-term or vacation rentals without any type of state or county permit. Such units operating as short-term rentals in apartment zones date back to the 1980s. Such uses were allowed on these properties due to their existing zoning or because the use is “grandfathered” – meaning that it was lawful in the past when the use was established and so the use can continue, as long as it does not stop for more than 12 consecutive months.  The effort to compile this list was initiated after the County Council adopted ordinances in 2014 and 2016 to clarify the grandfathering status: Ordinance Nos. 4167, 4315 and 4369 served to codify a written opinion issued by then-Deputy Corporation Counsel Richard Minatoya that such uses were grandfathered, hence this effort being referred to as the Minatoya list.

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