Big Island panel advances vacation rental regulations

HILO, Hawaii (AP) — A Big Island panel has advanced a measure that would prohibit short-term vacation rentals in residential and agricultural zones. West Hawaii Today reports the Hawaii County Council Planning Committee approved the measure’s fifth draft Tuesday after the ordinance has been in the works for over a year. The measure allows rentals in hotel and resort zones as well as commercial districts. Existing rentals in prohibited areas would be grandfathered in after the owners obtain a nonconforming use certificate. Mayor Harry Kim says the measure is “about zoning for the island” and is “no different from regulating any other business.” Matt Middlebrook, a public policy manager for Airbnb, told the committee that the company thinks the measure strikes “a pretty fair middle path.”