A bill prohibiting new time share units or time share plans in hotel districts was deferred at the Planning Committee meeting last Thursday.
As presiding Chair of the committee, I am all about finding balance. After hearing the members, I agree that more study is needed and further input from the community is required before we submit this to the Commissions.
Councilmember Riki Hokama, a non-voting member of the Planning Committee, introduced the bill and urged the committee’s support as the measure would “provide more opportunities for employment to the general workforce.”
“We need hotel rooms, not time share units. We need hotel rooms,” Hokama emphasized. “It is time we take a look at this issue since we are updating community plans.”
Councilmember Mike White, who is also the current General Manager of Kaanapali Beach Hotel, cited Marriot Hotel as an example when a hotel transitions to timeshares.
“As an example, there were jobs lost from banquet staff, the luau was eliminated, retail services were eliminated and the convention business was hurt,” White explained. “However, I don’t want to eliminate time shares. We need to have further discussion and seriously think about it.”
Councilmember Elle Cochran used to work for guest services as Concierge at the Marriott Hotel.
“I worked there for 13 years and I was one of those who got laid off,” said Cochran. “On the other hand, time share employment offers stability. So the discussion is there.”
Councilmember Michael Victorino agreed that time share employment offers stability. He also noted his 20 years working for security in the hotel industry and cautioned that the committee’s decision will strongly impact the visitor industry.
“Our people is the reason why visitors come to our County,” Victorino added.
Before the deferral, I made clear that my committee may not be the right vehicle to tackle the job, but I’m willing to take on the discussion with other standing committees. It will take some time. My projection is to have a clearer direction perhaps sometime next year. It is very important to get public input, statistics, and legal guidance.
In other news, the committee passed a revised bill permitting transient vacation rentals in planned developments approved on or before April 20, 1981. This includes Puamana Subdivision in Lahaina and the Kaanapali Plantation. The bill advances to full Council for first reading.
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