- Associated Press - Saturday, January 3, 2015

HONOLULU (AP) - A Honolulu city councilman is looking for ways to boost regulation on vacation rentals on Hawaii’s most populous island.

The rise of illegal rentals on Oahu has been criticized by residents who believe they disrupt peace and gobble up parking. Critics say vacation rentals take away sorely needed housing from Oahu residents, and they complain that the landlords likely sidestep hotel room and general excise taxes.

Some vacation rental operators say they would get the required permits if the city eased decades-old restrictions that were meant to curb short-term rentals.

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported (https://bit.ly/1xm1TsP ) Councilman Ikaika Anderson is asking his colleagues and Mayor Kirk Caldwell to propose legislation by Feb. 2. Anderson says he hopes to have new laws addressing the issue in place by the end of the year.

“This issue has been very complex for many years,”?Anderson said at a news conference. “If this were an easy issue to solve, it would have been solved a long time ago.”

Besides leading the Zoning and Planning Committee, Anderson represents the Council district that includes Kailua, one of two areas believed to have the highest number of short-term vacation rentals. The other is the North Shore.

The city Department of Planning and Permitting has recorded 789 transient vacation units and 39 bed-and-breakfast establishments. But preliminary data from a recent Hawaii Tourism Authority study show there may be 4,411 unregistered vacation rental units on Oahu.

The department has at most 14 inspectors tasked with monitoring not just vacation rentals, but checking everything from building and electrical code violations to dilapidated sidewalks. “That’s been the issue,”?Anderson said. “We’ve talked to DPP?about allocating more money for additional inspectors, and the department has told us that that’s not the issue. But it hasn’t been made clear to the Council either as to what exactly the issue is from (the department’s) standpoint.”

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, https://www.staradvertiser.com

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