Vacation Rental Bill

The vacation rental bill is continuing its tortuous way through Maui Council. It could reach Hana Advisory Committee in August or September. A recent amendment put forward by Bob Carroll proposes a five-year ownership requirement for applicants applying for short-term rental permits. There are now three exceptions:

  1. Six-month grace period. Applications submitted within six months after the date of enactment of the ordinance are not subject to the five year ownership requirement.
  2. Previously permitted properties. Properties that already have had a short-term rental home permit where the new owner applies for a new permit within three years of purchasing the property are exempt from the ownership requirement. Currently the permits are non-transferable so the existing permits are no longer valid once a property is sold to a new owner. In this case, the new owner would have three years to apply for a new STRH permit. The reasoning behind this was to allow properties already vetted as appropriate short-term rentals and not in the long term housing rental market when sold to continue as a short-term rental.
  3. Houses with building values under $1.0 million. This month's amendment to restrict the 5-year ownership requirement to properties that have a building value of less than $1 million dollars was added to allow high end homes to be used for short-term rental. The introducer, Council member Victorino, stated that he believes that homes with valuations of over $1.0 million are not used as long term rentals.

The current draft of the bill is on the Council website.

There are at present 13 permitted vacation rentals in E Maui, with another four or so applications in the pipeline. There are 10 permitted B&Bs. The permit ceiling is to be reduced from 48 to 30 of each.

Hana Community Website

A committee of HBC is working to create a practical and comprehensive Hana website. This will build on previous efforts, which have yet to achieve a facility in regular use by HBC members, the community and others. More news as it takes shape.

Internet and Television

Having Norman Santos speaking at the Hana Business Council luncheon provides an opportunity for the community to hear what OTWC will be offering in service under new ownership and to express how the frequent loss of service impacts your business. Norm Santos is vice president of engineering and knowledgeable on the technical challenges in servicing the Hana area and what the company is currently doing to improve capacity through the microwave dish located at the airport.

From the last newsletter I wrote: "The Hana Broadband Committee, in the short term, is still pushing Oceanic Time Warner Cable for better service. With the FCC's recent declaration that broadband is a utility the power of the PUC to regulate broadband service may be increased significantly. The PUC regulations covering telecommunications could be far stronger than what the DCCA or the FCC can impose. The FCC ruling had several limitations. Currently the PUC is in the process of evaluating how the FCC declaration affects the PUC's ability to regulate broadband. As soon as the PUC has established the limits of its regulatory power regarding broadband service standards we will pass that information on to the Hana community."

Since that time I have contacted the PUC to discover that the State of Hawaii has not gained any enforcement power from the FCC ruling. Unfortunately there is little that can be done at the state level to enforce service standards. I have contacted the FCC as to what they will do at the federal level and have not heard back yet.

For now we are asking that more locals seek credit when service is lost. It seems to us that if it were to cost OTWC more for the time that service was lost that there would be an incentive to bring service back as quickly as possible. This in turn would reduce lost time and revenue to the small businesses in Hana. You can request credit by calling Oceanic Time Warner Cable at 643-2100 or, if you have an online account, you can seek credit through their chat line. Another avenue is, after documenting your outages you can complain through the Better Business Bureau.

On the bright side, we have heard from Hawaiian Telcom that in two years they will be bringing in new submarine fiber cables from Indonesia and California that will increase capacity to the mainland, and in five years they will be bringing in a direct fiber optic feed from the other side which will eliminate many of the current problems associated with the microwave dish. There might finally be some beneficial competition.

Emergency Services

When it comes to emergency service, the word service is the key descriptive. To provide service to a community and/or to an individual within a community, emergency personnel must be able to locate any incident. Whether it is police, fire or medics, each face the challenge in locating an address when in emergency mode, aka "in a hurry." This is especially difficult in rural areas. And when you add the biggest hurdle, darkness, the difficulty multiplies.

Well defined and easy to see address numbers will assist personnel locating an incident occurring while driving 'Code 3' (which is faster than the speed limit). If a responder passes an address, it may cause great delay in the 'service' emergency personnel are trained to provide. Wasted time is never a good thing in an emergency.

There is a home identification aid to emergency services that is both affordable and effective-a reflective address marker. These markers have been in use on the mainland for over a decade. In Hawaii, a reflective address marker project started 6 years ago. Find Us 911 is that project, a group that promotes, produces and sells these address markers in Hawaii.

Find Us 911 is the only project that is endorsed by five of our county agencies - Police. Fire, Paramedics, Civil Defense, and Public Works. There are other options on the market when it comes to "lighting up" your address number at night, but, whether it be lighting or reflective numbers, the motto across the country is simple: "If we can't find you, we can't help you".

There are laws on the mainland that require illumination of address numbers at night for all new home construction. This is a public safety issue.

Find Us 911 is more a service for Maui County than a business. The goal is to assist emergency responders in locating an address and to educate the public. Find Us 911 also assists residents in obtaining an address number if their home or property does not have one.

For information phone 808-281-9323 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.