End illegal B&Bs in residential areas
The city Planning Commission opposes lifting the ban on new bed-and-breakfast and transient vacation rentals on Oahu.
The city Planning Commission has unanimously opposed a proposal to open a lid on bed-and-breakfast rentals in residential areas, leaving the problem of how to deal with renegade operators to the City Council. Meanwhile, numerous homeowners threaten to brazenly continue renting out houses and bedrooms for short terms, in defiance of zoning laws.
The proposal before the seven-member panel would lift a 1989 ban on new "transient vacation units" -- entire houses for short-term rent -- and bed-and-breakfasts -- short-term room rentals, grandfathering in 141 B&Bs. While the number of legal B&Bs has dwindled to about 50, hundreds of illegal TVUs and B&Bs have mushroomed.
Commission members expressed justifiable concerns about opening the floodgates for mini-resort use of structures in residential neighborhoods. The growth of B&Bs has especially annoyed Kailua residents.
Meanwhile, the City Council has begun considering a bill that would sharply increase property tax rates on residences used for short-term rentals. Such a tax probably would prompt illegal operators to remain in the shadows, even if their activities were legalized.
Lifting the ban on new short-term rentals would require a two-thirds vote in the City Council to overcome the Planning Commission's advisory opinion. The commission did approve a plan to crack down on operators, requiring them to post their addresses and certificate numbers at City Hall.
Those who advertise without posting that information should be presumed as illegal operators. The Council should provide funds to chase after some $1.5 million in tourist accommodation and general excise taxes owed more than a year ago by companies operating B&B units and vacation rental houses.
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