Monday, March 10, 2008

Maui County Council Proposes Moratorium on Timeshares

Another moratorium proposed by Councilmember Jo Anne Johnson, this time the subject is time shares. She has proposed several moratoriums in the past including one for development of agricultural land which I wrote about here and here.

At the Council’s March 7, 2008 meeting, the Council considered Communication No. 08-72, Councilmember Johnson, Transmitting a Proposed Resolution Entitled "Urging the Administration to Suspend the Issuance of Permits for Time Share Projects for One Year." The proposed moratorium is a resolution, so it needs one reading of full council and is not binding on the administration. The moratorium resolution was forwarded to the council’s Planning Committee for further consideration.

Time shares are regulated by state law under HRS Chapter 514E. A time share plan is defined as a plan or program in which the use, occupancy, or possession of one or more time share units circulates among various persons for less than a 60-day period in any year, for any occupant. In Maui County, time share plans are only allowed in (i) the hotel district or (ii) as a non-conforming use in other districts if in existence prior to the passage of MCC section 19.37.010.

Despite the simple zoning limitations for time shares, this particular use is a point controversy for the county, which views the flourishing of time shares as a vehicle for the movement of new residents to Maui. It perceives this in-migration as a threat to "Maui culture." In addition, time shares are often confused with bed and breakfasts or transient vacation rentals which I discussed here. These three very different uses are conflated during policy discussions concerning zoning regulation.

As with other moratoria proposed by Councilmember Johnson, this one will likely not pass council. Generally, moratoria are blunt legislative instruments that fail to address underlying issues or resolve any concerns in a meaningful, productive way.

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