Mayor Charmaine Tavares signed a new ordinarce into law governing Bed & Breakfast (B&Bs) operations effective January 2009. B&Bs are now a permitted use in residential, business, hotel, rural and agricultural zones in Maui. But there is a cap on the number of permits that may be approved: only two dwellings per parcel may be rented short-term. The property owner MUST live full-time in one of the two dwellings. According to the County, this is to prevent off-island investors from running unsupervised vacation rental businesses. The Planning department is authorized to process most B&B applications, a process they say could take several months or more to complete.
The new Maui County ordinance requires that large “Notice” signs must be posted in front of properties prior to submitting an application for a permit to operate a B&B. Hence, we see them popping up all over the place on Maui.
Maui County began enforcing regulations the effectively shut down transient vacation rentals (TVRs, aka vacation rentals) beginning in 2007, including properties that fell within the B&B category. This sudden action enraged landowners running illegal vacation rentals and local business people alike. Both rely on tourists for livelihoods. The crack down unfortunately coincided with an already ailing tourism economy due to the global economic crisis, turning a bad situation worse.
Generally, B&B permit applications for the island of Maui will be reviewed by the Planning Department. Neighbors and agencies will be provided an opportunity to comment on any submitted application. However, if the B&B is on Ag land and if 30 percent of the neighbors objected, or if another B&B is located within 500 feet, the Maui Planning Commission will review the application. (The intent of the additional requirements is to preserve Ag lands).
It is no longer necessary to receive approval from the County Council. Permit applications for B&Bs on the islands of Moloka’i and Lana’i will go to that respective island’s Planning Commission for review.
For land zoned agricultural–all of Haiku and some Upcountry areas, for instance–there are additional requirements to operate a B&B. State laws require a Special Use Permit be approved for lands with State Ag land-use designations. For County Ag zoned lands, the new ordinance requires an annual farm income of $35,000 for the previous two years; OR if the parcel is less than five acres, a farm plan must be fully implemented.
With the new law, there are limits to how many B&B permits may be issued in each of these areas:
West Maui: 88
Moloka’i and Lana’i: no established caps
Each application must be reviewed by their island’s Planning Commission.
Permits are given first for 3 years; then after that for a 5 year period. They are non-transferable, meaning a prospective B&B buyer will need to apply for and win a new permit.
See coverage by the Maui Weekly.