Planning panel OKs permit for B&B weddings

WAILUKU – The Maui Planning Commission granted a special use permit Tuesday for a bed-and-breakfast business in Launiupoko to host weddings, although the panel set more than a half-dozen restrictions.

Ho’oilo House has operated for years as a permitted bed-and-breakfast at 138 Awaiku St. in Launiupoko, with its special use permit extended last year until March 2017 to have guests stay in six bedrooms on the 2-acre property. Applicants Amy Wisthoff-Martin and Dan Martin sought permits to allow two large weddings per month and an undetermined number of smaller nuptial celebrations.

Much of the commission’s discussion on the permit applications dealt with the size and number of weddings on the agriculturally zoned property with only one access road. Commission members said they were concerned about how the wedding celebrations would affect neighbors.

Speaking for the applicants, Jay Wisthoff said that neighbors were contacted in person, and the Ho’oilo House operators proposed their own conditions to address residents’ concerns about noise, parking and other issues.

The proposed conditions included restrictions that only registered guests of Ho’oilo House would be allowed to have weddings at the property, and no more than 25 participants (not including caterers, a photographer and a wedding planner) would be allowed.

The conditions did not address the number of weddings allowed per month or year, and commission Chairman Kent Hiranaga expressed concern about not setting a limit on the number of such gatherings.

After some discussion, the commission and applicants agreed that no more than two weddings per month would be allowed with 11 to 25 members in a wedding party. However, there would be no restriction on the number of smaller weddings of 10 or fewer participants.

Other conditions included:

* No loud or amplified music.

* No off-site parking.

* “Quiet times” between 9 p.m. and 8 a.m.

* A requirement that the operators report annually, to the satisfaction of the Department of Planning, the number of weddings and participants each month, proof that those in the wedding party were registered guests and reports of complaints, if any.

Aside from the special use permit, the proposal also needs a conditional use permit from the Maui County Council. The commission recommended approval of such a permit with the same conditions as the bed-and-breakfast’s special use permit.

Hiranaga asked if granting permits for weddings at the bed-and-breakfast would establish a precedent for future applicants to seek allowing nuptials at their establishments.

Planner Kurt Wollenhaupt said that he did not believe so because such applications would undergo a “rigorous,” case-by-case review process. The County Council has final review and approval of conditional use permits, he pointed out. And, the process includes county agency reviews of the project for wastewater, fire protection and other issues.

Already, at least three businesses conduct weddings under conditional use permits: Former National Basketball Association player and coach Don Nelson has a wedding business in north Kihei; Media mogul and talk show host Oprah Winfrey has a permit for weddings at her OW Ranch in Kula; and the Ali’i Kula Lavender Farm hosts weddings on its property off Waipoli Road. Conditions vary for each business.

* Brian Perry can be reached at