The Honolulu Department of Planning and Permitting is drafting a letter to send Glenn Weinberg, the Maryland man who rented his Kailua property to President Barack Obama and his family over Christmas.
The letter comes after a Civil Beat investigation found Weinberg violated a law prohibiting short-term vacation rentals for fewer than 30 days. Weinberg told Civil Beat that he had rented the so-called Winter White House to the Obamas for fewer than 30 days but thought he was complying with the law because he was keeping it empty for the other days in the 30-day period.
Planning and Permitting Director David Tanoue told Civil Beat that the rental agreement must be for 30 days.
In an e-mail Tuesday, he said the letter to Weinberg would be made public when it’s sent on Thursday. He said last week that his department wouldn’t issue a notice of violation or subsequent fine unless it can prove Weinberg broke the law. The penalty is up to a $1,000 fine.
City Council members and Tanoue previously made clear that short-term rentals are a concern. Tuesday, City Council member Ikaika Anderson, the Zoning Committee chairman, weighed in, reinforcing that the law is straightforward.
“The law is pretty cut-and-dried, honestly,” he told Civil Beat. “I’ve spent countless hours to specifically work on short-term rentals, and I don’t have any plans to introduce any more legislation on it.”
Resolutions aimed at lifting the ban on short-term rentals have met strong opposition from neighborhood groups. Some of the council members told Civil Beat they plan to address the issue in the coming weeks and months, either with new legislation or clarification of the law.
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