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Bed-and-breakfast bill killed by Honolulu City Council

Dec 17, 2009

A controversial measure that would have allowed new bed-and-breakfast units on Oahu was killed Wednesday by the Honolulu City Council.

The vote on Bill 7 was 4-4, with one council member absent. Six votes were needed for passage.

Ikaika Anderson, Nestor Garcia, Rod Tam, the bill’s chief sponsor and Council Chairman Todd Apo voted for the measure. Voting against were Gary Okino, Ann Kobayashi, Charles Djou and Donovan Dela Cruz.

Romy Cachola was out of town.

Bill 7 was the council’s compromise effort at regulating B&Bs.

The most recent version of the bill would have allowed up to 1,250 B&B permits, capped the number in each of Oahu’s nine districts, and limited the size of the units.

It would also have required that the operator of the B&B own it and live on the premises. Owners would be held legally accountable for guest behavior, including noise level and parking.

As has been the case with most deliberations on B&B regulations over the past two years, the council chamber at Honolulu Hale was packed with supporters and opponents testifying on Bill 7.

Supporters argued that B&Bs contribute to Hawaii’s visitor industry and the local economy.

But opponents, particularly vocal residents in neighborhoods like Kailua, opposed Bill 7, saying the measure would be impossible to enforce. They also complained that new B&Bs would change the character of neighborhoods and limit the rental housing market for local residents.

New licenses for B&Bs have not been granted on Oahu since 1989, but hundreds now operate illegally. City officials have been trying to get them licensed and paying taxes and to close down operations that violate zoning and permitting laws.

Bed-and-breakfast bill killed by Honolulu City Council
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