Maui mayor vetoes hotel construction moratorium bill

WAILUKU — Maui’s mayor has vetoed a bill that would have imposed a moratorium on hotel construction in parts of the Valley Isle, saying the measure wouldn’t be effective and was legally flawed.

Mayor Michael Victorino said the bill won’t relieve crowds at Kahului Airport, reduce traffic on roads and solve illegal transient vacation rental woes, The Maui News reported.

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“While the mayor appreciates the council’s intent and sentiment behind Bill 60, he believes it is more important for legislation to be effective and legal than for it to be fast,” county Managing Director Sandy Baz said during Tuesday afternoon’s news conference when the veto was announced.

The mayor contended the measure didn’t go through “proper reviews” required by the Maui County Charter, adding that the county’s corporation counsel didn’t sign the bill. Baz said the legal deficiencies would subject it to litigation.

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The Maui County Council voted 6-2 on July 2 to approve Bill 60, which would place a moratorium on building permits for hotels and other visitor accommodations in south and west Maui until community plans in each area are updated or two years have passed, whichever is sooner.

Council Member Kelly King, who introduced the bill, said was “surprised” and “disappointed” in the mayor’s decision.

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