The signing of the new short-term vacation rentals law by Mayor Alan Arakawa on Wednesday capped a decade-and-a-half struggle to address the issue.
The measure provides that the planning director can approve applications administratively. That provision should speed up the process. As we have mentioned previously, we think permit applicants should get a timely response to their applications even if the answer is no.
All neighbors living within 500 feet of a proposed rental unit will have to be informed that a short-term application has been filed. Additionally, a 4-foot square sign will have to be posted on the property so neighbors will know an application has been filed.
The bill limits the number of short-term rentals by geographic locations on Maui island. One hundred short-term rentals will be allowed in Kihei-Makena; 88 in West Maui; 88 in Paia-Haiku; 48 in Hana; 40 in Makawao-Pukalani-Kula; and 36 in Wailuku-Kahului.
The County Council's version of the 2013 budget provides for two enforcement officials for the provisions in the bill. Among those requirements are quiet hours from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m., off-street parking for renters, a property manager living within 30 minutes of the rental and a maximum of six bedrooms in a unit.
The Planning Department will begin accepting applications on June 1.
We congratulate the County Council and the administration for working so diligently on this project. It has been steeped in controversy, but a way has now been provided for these small businesses to operate legally.
Now it is up to those operators to file permit applications and make sure their rental properties run in compliance with the new law.
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.