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Ruling: Owner-occupied ST/VRs allowed on Hawaii County agricultural land

Maureen Salahshoor Denver, CO

January 17, 2023

Hawaii County STR

Hawaii County agricultural landowners can rent their farm dwellings out for short terms, as long as the owners live on the property, according to a county Board of Appeals decision.

The ruling was a response to a petition by a group of neighbors of a vacation rental property in Captain Cook called Kohania Villas. The neighbors said the property owners did not register or receive a nonconforming use certificate as required by the county’s short-term vacation rental (STVR) law.

The Hawaii County Council passed short-term rental regulations in 2018. The law created a new zoning classification for STVRs, defined as dwelling units with no more than five bedrooms for rent, where the owner does not live on site, and which are rented for 30 consecutive days or less. Under the ordinance, STVRs are barred in residential and agricultural zones and only allowed in hotel, resort, and commercial zones.

County officials said that the short-term rental law did not apply to the owners of Kohania Villas because they lived on the property, making it a bed-and-breakfast rather than an STVR, and they complied with the property’s agricultural zoning because they grow fruit. The county maintains that there is no provision that limits the landowner from renting a portion of their residence within the agricultural district.

The Board of Appeals agreed and dismissed the neighbors’ complaint.  More... 




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