May 2, 2024

Mayor Bissen moves to repeal decades-old TVR rule to expand long-term housing inventory

A landmark new bill that will provide housing by addressing Maui County’s long-term inventory crisis, which was magnified by the August 2023 wildfires, was proposed today by Mayor Richard Bissen in a unified move with Lahaina Advisory Team, Lahaina Strong and Maui County Councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez.

Announced today during a Wailuku press conference, the bill would phase out and repeal decades-old transient vacation rentals (TVRs) operating in the Apartment District, also known as the Minatoya list TVRs. These TVRs – numbering 7,000 units (2,200 of which are in West Maui) – would phase out West Maui units by July 1, 2025, and all other units countywide by Jan. 1, 2026, with the bill’s approval.

Mayor Bissen, Lahaina Advisory Team’s Kaliko Storer, Lahaina Strong leaders Paele Kiakona, Jordan Ruidas and Courtney Lazo, and Maui County Councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez collaborated on the bill that puts residents first and reshapes Maui’s TVR landscape. As a result, Lahaina Strong said it will end its occupation at Kāʻanapali Beach.

Mayor Bissen has directed the County of Maui Planning director to transmit the new bill to the Planning Commissions seeking to phase out and repeal this controversial use of TVRs, which currently allows condos, apartments and planned developments that are not hotels to operate as short-term rentals without any state or county permit.  

Long championed by Rawlins-Fernandez, and pushed by Lahaina Strong during a months-long occupation at Kāʻanapali Beach, this milestone agreement was moved by Mayor Bissen and Lahaina Advisory Team’s Kaliko Storer.

“My proposed bill will revert all Apartment District properties to their intended long-term residential use by removing the exception provided to those properties built or approved prior to 1989, and fully discontinue Transient Vacation Rental use in Apartment Districts by July 1, 2025, for West Maui TVRs and all others in Maui County by January 1, 2026,” Mayor Bissen said. “We may rebuild our beloved Lahaina, but if we don’t return Lahaina to the people who represent that unique community – if we don’t recognize the faces of our friends and family as we repopulate Lahaina, we will have lost this fight for our people, and for my administration and I – even one more family lost is one too many.”

Mayor Bissen’s Lahaina Advisory Team’s Kaliko Storer emphasized that shared priorities continue to be the catalyst for Lahaina’s recovery.

“We started with unity, we continue in unity today, and we will end in unity,” she said. “We will all cross the finish line in unity.”

Lahaina Strong said the collaboration highlights its success and will end its occupation at Kāʻanapali Beach. The grassroots group has been rallying for “dignified housing” and asking leaders to repeal Minatoya list TVRs; it said members will provide community support at local hearings.

“Now that our movement has secured yesterday’s passage of SB 2919 in the Hawai’i State Legislature giving our counties the authority to phase out short-term rentals, the Bissen administration and Councilmember Rawlins-Fernandez are today announcing County-level legislation that would take our demands even further and remove this exemption indefinitely — permanently restoring housing for locals across Maui,” Lahaina Strong spokesperson Paele Kiakona said. “In Lahaina alone, we have over 2,200 units on this list. These mostly off-island owners have benefited immensely from turning our apartment-zoned housing into investments, displacing working-class local families from our communities long before the fire.”

“Today, in unity with the Mayor’s administration and advisory committee, we take a huge step forward to restore dignity and hope to our families and bring our community back together,” Kiakona added. “We call on the Maui Planning Commissions and the Maui County Council to immediately support this critical bill.”

Councilmember Rawlins-Fernandez underscored the urgency of this measure.

“We cannot wait as more families uproot and move away,” she said. “We must take immediate action now to correct the injustice of commodifying our apartment units the County has attempted to address since the ’80s.”

Last August, Maui County experienced the worst wildfire disaster in modern history that took 101 lives and destroyed thousands of homes, displacing more than 12,000 survivors and exacerbating a pre-existing and complex housing crisis.

Apartment districts are intended to provide higher density, long-term housing to residents, and the bill would revert all Apartment District properties to their intended long-term residential use, according to the proposal.


Lahaina Strong began its “Fishing for Housing” campaign on Kāʻanapali Beach in November of last year, establishing an occupation in the heart of West Maui tourism to bring awareness to fire survivors’ dire need for long-term, dignified housing. As its top priority, members demanded immediate action to get local people housed, and the Minatoya list, a list of short-term rentals exempt from going through the typical permitting process, was the group’s initial focus.

County of Maui Recovery Permit Center

A vital resource for those who are looking to rebuild in fire-affected areas in Lahaina and Kula as they navigate the permitting process and take the next step toward returning home.

County of Maui Service Center
110 Alaihi St., Suite 207

Monday to Friday: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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