Mayor Kirk Caldwell took action on three bills yesterday by signing them all into law. The Honolulu City Council has been working extremely hard under difficult and challenging circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic. These bills were passed by the City Council on September 2.
Bill 42, CD2 – Relating to building permit applications. The bill is limited to only private restrictions on the number of homes allowed on one property, and the yard (setback) for dwellings. It also exempts “master tract” subdivision projects.
Bill 48, CD1 – Relating to permits required.
“I want to thank Council Chair Ikaika Anderson for shepherding this bill through," said Mayor Kirk Caldwell. "It elevates the exemption threshold of home repairs from $1,000 to $5,000. This means that simple renovation work, such as making bathrooms ADA-compliant by adding grab bars, better lighting and wider doorways, can be done quickly, without a building permit. The last time this exemption level was raised was more than 25 years ago, creating a big gap between the intent of this provision and today’s cost of construction. By elevating the exemption threshold for modest repairs, construction work – good work for small contractors and DIY homeowners -- is expedited, and frees DPP staff to concentrate on more complex projects. I am pleased to sign this bill today.”
Bill 50, FD1, CD1 – Relating to short-term rentals.
“I want to thank Councilmember Ron Menor for introducing this measure," Mayor Caldwell said. This bill moves the registration process for Bed and Breakfast homes and platforms from October 1, 2020, to April 30, 2021. Council Chair Emeritus Menor was astute enough to realize that as we are deep within this pandemic era and it would be premature to open up the inventory of B&B homes. The delay of requiring registration of short-term rental platforms, like Airbnb and HomeAway, is also prudent, as some members of our community are calling this pandemic an opportunity to reexamine our goals for the tourism industry. This small delay allows time to have this discussion before we make new commitments to the future.”
“I am grateful that the Mayor is signing this measure into law because it will address the concerns of many residents who would object to allowing visitors to stay in new bed and breakfast lodgings in residential neighborhoods where they could contribute to the spread of the coronavirus in our communities," said Council Chair Emeritus Ron Menor. "The City’s efforts should focus on strengthening enforcement with respect to the thousands of illegal vacation rentals that continue to operate, instead of the registration of new short-term rentals. Moreover, delaying the issuance of registrations for new bed and breakfast accommodations will give the new Mayor and future City Council time to assess the future course and direction of our tourism market and the impact of vacation rentals within that market.”