Meeting Time: February 04, 2021 at 9:00am HST

Agenda Item


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    Karen Comcowich over 3 years ago

    I oppose the changes made to the following policies, but support the original policies:
    Support for the CPAC recommended language for policy 2.5.16, and the associated action items 3.06 (as amended) and 5.08 (CPAC recommended language)

    The primary reason members stated for volunteering to be on the West Maui CPAC was the need for more affordable housing. Between 2008-2015 71.1% of home buyers on Maui were not residents. (62.7% mainland, 8.4 % foreign investors). I also noticed that the number of housing unit needed is almost exactly the same as the number of second homes/vacation rentals. When locals are competing with people who do not live in the local economy, property becomes unaffordable. If we are serious about solving the affordable housing crisis we need goals and policies that encourage local ownership and comfortable long term rentals.

    The language the CPAC used for policy 2.5.16 is important. We must Increase the inventory of long term housing units, by phasing out and converting existing vacation rentals to long term occupancy. Doing this would really help with the inventory of housing for all income levels in West Maui.

    When I moved to Maui 15 years ago, most of my friends lived in the cane houses and older apartments in Lahaina town and Honokawai. These were awesome places to live. Every one of my friends could walk or bike to work and to surf. Rent was high, but we could afford our own room. My more professional friends could afford to rent nicer places, like Kapalua, Kaʻanapali Hillside or the beach front homes in Lahaina.

    Since Airbnb and VRBO have become popular most of these properties have been turned into STVR. This includes Paki Maui, Lokelani, Lahaina Roads, Puamana, Noelani, the cane houses by 505, and “Lahaina Historic Villa.”
    Aside from the impact on the availability and affordability of housing, STVR have other negative impacts. Traffic: because we could bike or walk to work, we did. Now most of us drive. Food security: investors usually get rid of large fruit trees, such as Mango and Ulu, because of extra landscaping cost and liability. For example, we use to call the “Lahaina Historic Villa” the Mango House because there were so many mango trees, which also kept the house cool without AC, now there are a few bananas and some Arekas. Impacts on the beach/reef: visitors staying in beach front condos are at the beach all day every day. Rresidents have to go to work, so the ocean gets a rest. Community: many of the beach parks, that were essentially neighborhood parks are now overrun with tourists, such as, Honokawai Beach Park, S turns, Shark Pit, 505, and Baby Beach. This was where residents went to see friends, watch sunset, play in the water and get a break from tourists.

    I understand this change may not be the best for realtors and off-island owners, but it is in the best interest of our West Maui community.