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New vacation rental fines to be imposed starting Saturday

By Staff | Dec 26, 2019

WAILUKU – The Maui County Planning Department’s amended rules relating to fines for unpermitted transient vacation rental operations will take effect on Saturday, Dec. 27, 2019.

After the 2018 election, Section 13-10 of the County Charter was updated to specifically state, “the penalty for the operation of a transient accommodation without a necessary permit shall not exceed a civil fine of $20,000 plus $10,000 per day for each day the unlawful operation persists, unless a higher fine is authorized by State law.” The prior version of the Charter limited penalties to $1,000 initial and $1,000 per day.

In addition, the Maui County Code was updated on Oct. 7, 2019, by Ordinance No. 5001 to be consistent with the Charter Amendment.

The amended Rules for Administrative Procedures and Civil Fines for Violations of Chapter 16.13 and Title 19 of the Maui County Code are the last step in implementing the new fines.

Some minor procedural changes are also included in the adopted amendments. The new rules are online at the Planning Department’s homepage at www.mauicounty.gov/121/Planning-Department.

“We are pleased to finally be able to implement the community’s wishes with imposing these higher fines on illegal vacation rentals,” said Mayor Michael P. Victorino.

In related news, the mayor recently expressed his full support to the Maui Police Department for its enforcement of a new state law to crack down on illegal aerial fireworks.

“Even before New Year’s Eve, many of our residents are frightened when they hear a ‘BOOM’ from someone nearby setting off illegal fireworks,” Victorino said. “This unnerves our residents, scares children and family pets. This has got to stop!

“I am in full support of the Maui Police Department enforcing a new law that, among other things, establishes criminal liability for a homeowner or renter who allows others, while on their property, to set off aerial fireworks. I hope this measure will help prosecute people using illegal aerial fireworks. There are legal ways to celebrate New Year’s Eve without being a neighborhood nuisance.”

It is illegal to import, transfer, sell or use aerial fireworks without a permit. Using aerial fireworks without a permit or license can be prosecuted as a Class C felony. Licensed applicants must have a pyrotechnics license from the State of Hawaii, among other requirements.

Maui Police Chief Tivoli Faaumu said, “Thanks to new legislation, the department has been given new tools to address this community concern.”

Signed into law by Gov. David Ige on July 5, 2019, Act 248 strengthens Hawaii’s laws against illegal aerial fireworks.