My Turn: Short-term rules too restrictive

As a recurring visitor to the island of Hawaii, I was disappointed by the passage of Bill 108 and would like to offer some feedback as part of the fine-tuning of its associated Rule 23.

On various visits, I have rented short-term vacation rental (STVR) units. The location of the hosts of these units have ranged from living on the property, to living in a nearby neighborhood, to living in a nearby town, to living on the mainland.

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I am grateful that the owners make these units available for travelers like myself who want to visit relatives, but have relatives who are unable to host, and who want to visit and checkout various neighborhoods on the island.

If these units are not available as STVRs, most of them will probably not become available for long-term rental tenants either (as suggested by some supporters of Bill 108) because the owners want to use the properties for themselves or for family at various times throughout the year.

Unfortunately, Bill 108 is now law, and we are in a public comment phase to fine-tune the rules.

These are my suggestions:

1. Open up the geographic areas where STVRs are allowed. Currently, the areas allowed are too few and too small.

2. Reduce the cost of a permit.

3. Do not publish the names of the owners and the addresses of the rentals in the newspaper. This information poses security concerns.

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STVRs are a wonderful option for travelers, especially for those of us who like to have a kitchen while we are traveling to prepare our own meals, and to be able to visit a true neighborhood that is not part of a resort. The rules as currently proposed are too restrictive.

Sara Moulton is a resident of Montpelier, Vermont.