Meeting Time: February 23, 2022 at 1:30pm HST
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Agenda Item

BFED-45 CC 21-282 ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND TOURISM MANAGEMENT (BFED-45)

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    Hi, I am opposed to this legislation. I do not think that limiting the ability for condos in resort areas to rent short-term will accomplish meeting the housing needs of Hawaii residents. I doubt that a Hawaii resident would want to pay the high maintenance fees associated with these resort condo complexes so they would not purchase such a condo. Also, because condo owners use their second homes multiple times of the year. They would not rent their condo long-term to Hawaii residents because then they would not be able to live in their condo when they are on island. They will just leave the condo vacant when they are off-island. Thus this legislation would not accomplish affordable housing for Hawaii residents. It would be a better use of the council's time to continue to collect the extraordinary taxes that are generated by short-term rentals and dedicate a portion of these tax revenues to building affordable housing units in Maui. There is a lot of land available now that the sugar cane fields lay vacant. --gaye nell heck, owner

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    BFED Committee about 2 years ago

    Testimonies received by BFED Committee

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    This proposal will not solve the lack of affordable housing available on Maui. These condo units were not built to house families, with limited storage, and privacy. Many of these complexes are facing very large expenditures to make improvements to infrastructure and repairs. This makes them unaffordable. Also, the property taxes paid by non resident owners is substantially higher than what is paid by a resident owner. What is the plan for the county to make up that shortfall? Besides the reduction in property tax, converting these short term rental condos to long term occupancy will no longer bring in the GE taxes. Again, where will the county make up the shortfall?
    Phasing out the short term rental industry will destroy the economy of Maui. It will kill many sectors of small businesses and jobs that cater to the short term rentals, cleaners, cleaning companies, handymen services, property management, etc.
    It seems that the owners of a vacation rental properties are being vilified and sacrificed, in favor of big resort hotels. Most of us are small businesses just trying to survive. We can understand well thought out and even handed regulation. This is not it.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    I am opposed! This proposal will not help those in need of a home. It will only hurt those who make a living servicing the current legal vacation rentals. These old condos were not built to house working families, many are studios and one bedrooms with limited parking, no safe areas for kids to play. Yes, the housing for families needs to be addressed but converting old condos with high maintenance fees, spalling issues, eroding shorelines is not the answer.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    As a condo owner on Maui, we oppose the STR phase out. Many visitors to Maui cannot afford the high prices of staying in hotels, and if the STR phase out goes through, those prices will undoubtedly increase. While we do rent our condo when we are not there, we consider it our second home. The lack of affordable housing is of concern to most people, but this does not seem to be a realistic way to address the issue. It seems to me if this proposal is approved, it will have a big impact on the people whose jobs depend on the STR's, and on restaurants, grocery stores, tour companies etc. all of which employ people who depend on tourism for their livelihood. -M. Jones

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    Toral Patel about 2 years ago

    Dear Chair Rawlins-Fernandez, Vice Chair Paltin, and Members of the Committee:

    On behalf of Airbnb, mahalo for the opportunity to comment on the legislative proposals in the Tourism Management & Economic Development Temporary Investigative Group (TIG) Report. Airbnb has worked to advocate for sensible short-term rental policy that allows our community to be compliant and supports the local tourism industry in Maui County. We are deeply concerned by proposals that would restrict and/or eliminate transient accommodations on Maui, which could have many unintended consequences to the local economy.

    --Impacts on local economy--
    Airbnb has played a critical role in the County’s recovery from the pandemic, lifting up local Hosts as well as entire local economies. The typical Host in Hawaii earned more than $11,500 in 2021, which represents about two extra months of pay for the median US household and is far more than most Americans received in government-provided stimulus payments. Women Hosts in the US, who make up 60 percent of our US Host community, earned more than $4 billion in the first three quarters of 2021. In addition, since 2010, Hosts in Hawaii have earned a total of approximately $2 billion. Each Host and property supports several other local small businesses including but not limited to maintenance, housekeeping, management, and landscaping. Restricting or eliminating transient accommodations in Maui County will have significant negative impacts, both directly on operators and indirectly on the local economy.

    Moreover, Airbnb has been playing an active role in promoting responsible hosting in Maui County. As you are likely aware, Airbnb and Expedia recently implemented compliance agreements with Maui County, similar to an agreement that has been in effect with Kauai County with great results for over a year. These compliance agreements provide meaningful tools to support the counties’ enforcement of their short-term rental regulations, and are part of our ongoing commitment to partner with the communities our Hosts and guests call home. Pursuant to its agreement with Maui County, Airbnb took down more than 1,300 listings without TMK numbers in late January. Here on out, Airbnb will provide monthly reports to the County that can be used to verify TMK numbers of active listings on our platform. We believe this type of collaboration with the County can help maximize benefits of transient accommodations to Maui County, its residents and its visitors. As such, we urge the Committee to give these agreements a chance to be effective before considering additional restrictions on transient accommodations.

    --Legal concerns--
    We are concerned that some of the legislative proposals could run afoul of state law, which regulates the ability of counties to institute land use changes. Hawaii Revised Statutes, Section 46-4, ensures that nonconforming residential uses, which includes transient accommodation uses, cannot be amortized or phased out by local laws. Since it is unclear how the TIG’s legislative proposals, as currently drafted, would square with this provision, we urge the Committee to carefully consider the issue. Past litigation supports this position (see, e.g., Robert D. Ferris Trust v. Planning Commission of County of Kauai, 138 Hawaii 307 (2016) (“preexisting lawful uses of property are generally considered to be vested rights that zoning ordinances may not abrogate”); Kendrick v. County of Kauai, No. CAAP-20-00057, Haw. Intermediate Ct. App (2020) (“plain and obvious meaning of the state statute [HRS, Section 46-4] . . .provides that a nonconforming use shall not be lost unless discontinued”)). Moreover, DPP’s aborted implementation of Ordinance 19-18 also raises the specter of federal constitutional challenges, particularly equal protection concerns.

    * * *
    Mahalo for taking our comments and concerns into consideration. As always, we welcome an opportunity for continued discussion and collaboration on fair, reasonable regulations of short-term rentals in Maui County.

    Sincerely,
    Toral Patel
    Airbnb Public Policy, Hawaii

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    I oppose the STR phase out. It's wrong to take people's property and decide what is best for any homeowner. Creating more affordable housing is a noble effort but stripping long-held property rights from existing owners is not the way to achieve it, many of these properties have been around 40 years. During the pandemic there were no tourists, nor renters. Maui should continue to review or stop new hotels/timeshares from going in.. Many STR’s are not rentals they’re second homes to many people and their families. Many of these Condos are classified as STR’s and they’re not, they’re not used as short-term rentals, many are 2nd homes for families. These people don’t receive an exemption for being a second home, in turn are forced to pay the higher property taxes. Complexes are deemed as STR’s, then are taxed at the highest and best use, they cannot qualify for any home exemption. Properties built in the 70's- 90's have no extra parking, no storage, one parking spot, no on street parking, thin walls, unpermitted interior additions, no fire sprinkler systems.

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    Genesis S young about 2 years ago

    I support managing torism to preserve our island enviroment and culture aand the industry
    Please send the tourist accomodation cap to the council soon so we can have that put into place soon
    Genesis

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    Deleted User about 2 years ago

    Budget, Finance, And Economic Development Committee
    Keani N.W. Rawlins-Fernandez, Chair
    Tamara Paltin, Vice Chair
    Members of the Committee

    Comments on BFED-45

    Aloha Chair Rawlins-Fernandez, Vice Chair Paltin and members of the committee,

    The Maui Chamber of Commerce would like to offer comments on the Tourism TIG report being discussed in item BFED-45 today.

    The Chamber appreciates the hard work that went into the Tourism TIG Report. Of the eight pieces of legislation being proposed, we are the most concerned with: Legislative Proposal #1: Establish a tourist accommodation cap; Legislative Proposal #2: Institutionalize a county tourism management structure.

    If a cap is introduced, other forms of accommodations will arise to fill the vacuum created by the cap. We have seen this occur, first with the advent of platforms like AirBnB and others. More recently, we are noticing an increasing number of vans and campers being rented as alternatives to traditional accommodations. Regulating and enforcing on these different iterations of transient accommodations will be (already is) like the game Whack-A-Mole.

    Maui’s hotels and timeshares contribute significant taxes in RPT, GET, TAT, and provide substantial
    charitable giving to the community. Other platforms could (and have been) operate illegally without paying any taxes.

    Regarding a tourism commission, it should be made up of members who work closely with the tourism industry, especially when we talk about a commission formed to represent and decide on the livelihoods of those in the hospitality. We respectfully request the tourism commission also have seats for those who know and work with the industry, such as unions, construction, agriculture, and small businesses. Additionally, several seats should be reserved for community members. This proposed make-up would assure the commission could make educated, sound decisions for the community and the industry.

    Sincerely,

    Pamela Tumpap
    President

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    I'm opposed to the proposal to limit, cap or otherwise suppress STRs on Maui. As a long term Polynesian Shores condo owner who has offered countless families the ability to enjoy our beautiful island without having to conform to high-density hotel-style accommodations, it is clear to us that tourists desire a choice as to where they can stay. Hotels are not for everyone, and yet the proposal that is being considered seems substantially biased in favor of the hoteliers, at the expense of both permanent residents and STR owners. What is being proposed is both selfish, unbalanced, poorly conceived, and dangerous in terms of long term economic impact to the island. How will maui compensate or offset losses in STR tax revenue? This is not an issue that can be overlooked, and given its potential for catastrophic impact must not be brushed aside for convenience or for political gain. Upon careful inspection and analysis of economic impacts performed by qualified experts, the only reasonable conclusion is that the proposed change to STRs will be an abject failure long term, not easily reversed once enacted. As to improving the situation with respect to permanent residents, our STR condos are simply ill-equipped to meet their needs. HOA costs to maintain ocean-side condos make these units unaffordable for most permanent residents. The lack of storage and parking make them ever more sub-optimal. This isn't the first time STRs have been attacked, for the benefit of Hoteliers. We need to accept the reality that this is a power play for profit, nothing more. Once again, it must be denied on its merits, and opposed at every step.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    I donʻt believe this is the solution for housing for local residents. That housing is something that should be addressed on it's own. I would advise that the Committee focus on continually addressing the illegal rentals that exist. The short term rental community supports tens of thousands of jobs for those local residents that you speak of. Youʻre talking about taking away their livelihoods by doing this. How is that helping them? Additionally, how would the committee address the shortage of millions of dollars that are generated from Short Term Rental taxes that the County relies on? Short Term Rentals are one of the largest generator of funds for the County.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    Hello, I appreciate the efforts to expand housing opportunities for local residents. Many of the condos currently in use for short term rentals are not set up for long term occupancy. They have no storage, extremely limited parking and high HOA fees. They do bring in a large amount of revenue to the county, helping to support the tax base. I encourage you to seek other options. Thanks for your work.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    This is not the solution just a bandaid. You need to create acceptable housing by improving the infrastructure. The short term housing is not suitable for permanent housing

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    This is not the solution just a bandaid. You need to create acceptable housing by improving the infrastructure. The short term housing is not suitable for permanent housing

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    I oppose this as written. Most vacation units are not suitable for long-term housing, this proposal will erode the tax base necessary for essential services, and will reduce tourism that will harm local businesses. Creating more affordable housing is a noble effort, but stripping long-held property rights from existing owners is not the way to achieve it. New, more innovative ideas new to be considered.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    Dennis & Valerie Moffett oppose the proposed TVR phase out.Owners of unit 104 Polynesian Shores.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    Aloha Chairman Rawlins-Fernandez and members of the Budget, Finance and Economic Development Committee:

    I'm opposed to proposed legislation to reclassify and, thereby eliminate, some established short term vacation rental properties. The STVR sector employs many people in the trades. It's a community that works together to provide dynamic, financially-sustainable jobs for trade and tourism professionals. Our commitment to professionalism and high standards welcomes visitors from around the world. In the past several years, I've had the pleasure to work with local carpenters, electricians, glass cutters, communications providers, plumbers, housekeepers, landscapers, painters, car rental companies, furniture stores, and myriad other local businesses.

    The current STVR unfairly targets the established vacation rental community. These small-scale, non-global corporate business are not the problem. Many have been successfully welcoming guests to Maui since the 1970s. Indeed, we know our "aloha" touch instills a sense of community, place and respect for Maui that many visitors miss in the larger complexes.

    Shutting us down leaves a hole in the recreation opportunity spectrum for visitors. Not everyone wants the same island experience. And, our role in STVRs not only provides a welcoming stay for those wanting to feel closer to the island, but also sustains a working community of trades people who like forging their own professional path, working for themselves and making a living wage.

    Mahalo for your respect and support for the short-term vacation rental community. Vote against the current STVR legislation!

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    Hawaii Lodging andTourism Association HLTA about 2 years ago

    Testimony of
    Mufi Hannemann
    President & CEO
    Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association

    Maui County Council
    Budget, Finance, & Economic Development Committee
    February 23, 2022
    BFED-45: Development & Tourism Management

    Chair Rawlins-Fernandez and members of the Committee, mahalo for the opportunity to submit testimony on behalf of the Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association, the state’s largest private sector visitor industry organization.

    The Hawai‘i Lodging & Tourism Association—nearly 700 members strong, representing more than 50,000 hotel rooms and nearly 40,000 lodging workers—appreciates the work done by the members of the Temporary Investigative Group in researching and preparing the economic development and tourism management report for Maui County.

    The TIG’s final report offered eight legislative proposals relating to tourism management, and HLTA would like to provide comments on three of these.

    Legislative Proposal #1: Establish a tourism accommodation cap
    We are all aware of the negative effects that the unchecked growth of short-term rental units—both legal and illegal—have had on the Maui community. The sheer number of short-term rentals has exploded in recent years while the number of traditional, brick-and-mortar lodging units has remained relatively stable. Establishing a cap on the total number of accommodations will only affect legally operating units while doing nothing to rein in the number of illegal units and their operators. We feel strongly that legislation of this nature will hurt legal businesses while not attaining the intended goals of the legislation or the TIG.

    Legislative Proposal #2: Institutionalize a County tourism management structure
    HLTA has always supported bringing diverse groups to the table to best address the role of tourism and its impact on our local communities; this is evident through the many coalitions and working groups we have established. As it is written, this proposal would remove any input or insight from tourism professionals and stakeholders. While we can understand being mindful of financial interests, this could have disastrous consequences for Maui’s tourism industry, which thousands of men and women rely upon for employment. Tourism industry stakeholders welcome open and honest discussion from all who are effected by our state’s top economic driver, but proper tourism management cannot be accomplished without industry leaders at the table.

    Legislative Proposal #4: Remove discretionary wording on the 33 percent tourist amount in the Maui Island Plan
    Much like Legislative Proposal #1, this would disproportionately affect legally operating businesses in Maui County while not putting any restrictions on those operating illegally. Moreover, restricting permit applications will have further consequences on other industries that operate adjacently to tourism that benefit from a strong tourism product. As stated in our testimony on Maui County’s moratorium on building permits, local hotels generate significant business for countless tradesmen and women and putting a halt on building permits will go on to affect these people as much, if not more, than the hotel industry.

    We understand your task as a policymaking body, and we stand ready to assist in the ongoing discussions on this important topic.

    Mahalo for the opportunity to provide these comments.

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    Terry Craven about 2 years ago

    2/22/22

    Phasing out STVRs is an irrationally ANTI-LOCAL proposal.

    LOCALS will be the only people devastated by this unwise proposal no matter how well intentioned the idea.

    LOCALS own and are EMPLOYED by hundreds of small businesses servicing Maui’s STVR industry i.e. carpenters, carpet cleaners, window washers, housekeeping services and independent contractors – many single mothers supporting their families, AC repair co, pool supply and maintenance, plumbers, electricians, gardeners, nurseries, grocery stores, florists, suppliers of cleaning supplies, small appliance suppliers and repair persons, restaurants big and small, auto mechanics. The list of LOCALLY owned small businesses that employ LOCAL citizens is too numerous to name.

    Without small LOCAL businesses that support STVRs LOCALS lives will be cruelly affected.

    Without income how will LOCALS in turn pay for their mortgages, rent, car payment, car mechanics, food, medicine, clothes, gas, school supplies for their children, forget birthday parties, Christmas presents or anniversaries? Forget supporting favorite restaurants and movie theaters. Forget buying guri guri., shave ice, spam musabi, there will be NO MONEY for such things we take for granted now.

    So, what is left if this catastrophic proposal is adopted?

    Only the very wealthy will be able to afford to buy property and pay the high property taxes here. And seriously, how many LOCAL families do you think will be allowed into their properties….a big fat ZERO!

    The middle-class small businesses and their LOCAL employees will be wiped out. And how will Maui make up the lost tax base? Present ideas are child-like dreams and not supported by reality.

    Which leaves only a poverty riddle lower class without a way to employ themselves. Welfare, Food stamps, Medicaid vs self-reliance and a job. That’s not the Maui way.

    So go ahead a penalize STVR property owners and all the income they legally provide to LOCALS and for LOCAL organizations and government jobs.

    People choose to work in any industry on Maui and thousands of Maui residents choose to have a small business that caters to, or a job in the STVR market because it’s a great business to be in. This proposal will destroy LOCAL small businesses, jobs and further increase the income divide on Maui.

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    Guest User about 2 years ago

    Over- tourism is smothering the islands and The TIG (Temporary Investigative Group) has done a good job defining those issues. One thing for certain, the entire island is more 'livable, enjoyable' when the population of tourists isn't at a crescendo. Crafting short and long term EQUITABLE solutions demands close scrutiny that has measurable results, as TIG has acknowledged.

    Solutions favoring ultra wealthy and corporations with deep pockets, while penalizing all others need to be taken off the table. Property rights cannot be trampled, for the sole practical reason that massive litigation serves only one industry and detracts from viable solutions - for YEARS on end.

    Places such as Galapagos Islands, where eco-tourism, tourism in general, much like Maui, has become the sole economic driver has instituted a lottery system for entrance. Maybe this is a logical step to help regulate flow of tourism? Maui is fortunate and has the advantage of offering residents better economic opportunities if well thought out long term plans are instituted now. Penalizing STR's TRVH's is not a solution in the short or long term. Taxing one tourism group over the other is NOT fair or equitable nor does it address longer range quality of life and economic issues.

    Astronomical condo, housing prices are world wide. I have no good proposals for this egregious problem. Solutions proposed cannot further deepen the already infinite economic divide created due to the upper 1% capturing and controlling 39% of the world's wealth.

    Thank you to others who have thoughtfully commented on specific STR and TRVH issues. Thanks too to the TIG for addressing major issues effecting not only Maui, but all of the islands.