BREAKDOWN: Mayor Victorino veto Bill 60 on moratorium on hotel construction

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County officials today announced that Maui Mayor Michael Victorino is vetoing Bill 60, the hotel moratorium bill, which was passed by county council from Maui on July 2, 2021.

“Like you, Mayor Victorino’s administration is deeply concerned about the sudden return of tourism to Maui County and its impact on our residents. While we value the economic contributions of the hospitality industry and the benefits they bring, our residents, our culture and our natural resources must come first, ”said Sandy Baz, Maui County General Manager, during a briefing. press release Tuesday afternoon.

Photo of pandemic at Kāʻanapali beach. (04.13. 2020) Gaylord Paul Garcia for Maui now.

Under Bill 60, the council sought to place interim restrictions on new visitor accommodation to give the county time to implement the plan’s critical action items regarding the impact of the industry. tourism on the county’s environment and work for resilience.

“We are confident that we are on the right track to develop a better and more thoughtful approach to tourism management in a way that will improve the experience of residents and visitors. While the mayor appreciates the intent and sentiment of the council behind Bill 60, he believes that it is more important that the legislation be effective and legal than that it be swift. For these reasons, Mayor Victorino has decided to veto Bill 60, ”Baz said.

“The mayor looked at the bill himself and looked at the impacts and decided it was something that needed to be vetoed. Whether or not the council overrules this veto is within the competence of the council; and whether there are enough votes or not, it really depends on the members themselves, ”Baz said.

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Maui Hotel and Lodging Association Executive Director Rod Antone responded to the news Tuesday afternoon saying, “Industry, government and the community need to work together to develop legislation that helps us better manage the environment. tourism. Until that happens, the MHLA is asking Maui County Council members to support Mayor Victorino’s veto on Bill 60 and not vote to overturn it.

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Chief Executive Officer Baz said the mayor doesn’t think Bill 60 will ease the crowds at Kahului Airport, reduce traffic on Maui’s roads, or solve the problem of transitional vacation rentals operating in neighborhoods. “Bill 60 will simply limit the choice of accommodation for visitors to West and South Maui for the next 5 to 10 years,” Baz said.

Kahului Airport: May 29, 2021. Photo by JD Pells
Kahului Airport: May 29, 2021. Photo by JD Pells

On June 6, Mayor Victorino announced that he would make an announcement regarding Expedia and Air BnB in the coming weeks. He said he was working with advertising platforms to promote compliance with the Short-Term Rental Ordinance, which has been problematic for years with transitional vacation rentals operating illegally in neighborhoods. He said the partnership will make it harder to cover up illegal vacation rentals. “For tourism to work, it must benefit both residents and visitors,” he said, noting that more information would be revealed in the coming weeks.

Baz said the biggest concern is an unintended consequence of the bill. “This could push the construction of new housing for visitors in communities outside of the planned resort areas of West and South Maui. Bill 60 did not receive the proper reviews required by the county charter, and the county corporation’s attorney did not sign the bill. Such legal loopholes present a significant risk that it will languish in litigation if Bill 60 is allowed to become law, ”he said.

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Baz said the county council is currently working on more comprehensive legislation intended to limit the uncontrolled development of visitor accommodation across the island of Maui.

“The bill attached to 21-98 currently follows the legal process required by the county charter. We are concerned that the passage of Bill 60 may limit the ability of Maui County Council to properly enact a more comprehensive island-wide solution, as proposed in the bill attached to Resolution 21- 98 ”, he declared.


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