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State briefs for April 21

Council advances two vacation rental bills

HONOLULU (AP) — The Honolulu City Council has advanced two bills aimed at providing regulations on short-term vacation rentals on Oahu.

Both bills now go back to the Council Planning Committee, as interim Council Chairwoman Ann Kobayashi proposes a new draft of Bill 89.

Bill 85 calls for no new vacation rentals to be permitted but allows a neighbor to seek legal action against a bed-and-breakfast or transient vacation unit operator who is violating city laws. It also would make hosting platforms liable for illegal transactions.

Bill 89 would allow up to 4,000 bed-and-breakfast operations — those run by owner-occupants — across Oahu but no new “whole home” vacation rentals, also known as TVUs, where there is no owner-occupant present.

Bill 89 is supported by hotel-resort industry representatives who think it’s a fair compromise.

Kobayashi’s proposal would allow for some whole-home vacation rentals, so long as the operators can prove they live in another Oahu residence they own by providing a homeowner exemption.

The draft also calls for these operators to pay the same tax rate as owners of hotels and resorts instead of a new vacation rental rate for B&Bs, and wants the operator to submit a telephone number for neighbors to voice their concerns 24 hours a day.

Kobayashi said she’s not a fan of whole-home TVUs, but wants councilmembers to at least address concerns raised by local residents who said they want to be able to hold onto their family home.

Man in critical condition after fire at building

HONOLULU (AP) — Authorities say an 83-year-old man is in critical condition after evacuating from his condominium building as firefighters battled a blaze Saturday.

The firefighters contained the Rainbow condominiums building fire in the Moiliili neighborhood shortly after 10 a.m. after taking residents to a nearby elementary school.

The man collapsed around 11 a.m. after he left the building and watched the fire from the Moiliili Japanese Cemetery across the street. An EMS report says that paramedics administered life-saving treatment to the man who did not come in contact with smoke or fire while he was in the building.

At 10:02 a.m., flames and thick smoke could be seen from miles away as firefighters worked to attack the blaze on the 21st floor.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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