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News Briefs

Special Election and Molokai Ranch settlement.

NEWS BRIEFS

Special Election Set for May

The Office of Elections has set Saturday, May 22, 2010 as the election day to fill the vacancy in Hawaii’s 1st Congressional District, just recently held by Neil Abercrombie. Molokai is represented by Rep. Mazie Hirono in Hawaii’s 2nd District.

Persons interested in running in this special election must file nomination papers by March 17. Visit www.hawaii.gov/elections for more information.

Direct Flights Added to Maui

Two airlines have announced plans to add direct flights from the mainland to Honolulu and Maui. Continental Airlines has already added several direct flights from Orange County and Los Angeles to the two popular Hawaii destinations.

Allegient Air is acquiring half a dozen planes to also provide direct service. Allegiant Air currently serves locations such as Las Vegas; Fresno; Eugene, Oregon; and Mesa, Arizona.

Molokai Properties Enters Settlement Talks

The company formerly known as Molokai Ranch has entered settlement discussions with Maui County. For nearly two years, Molokai Properties (MPL) has fought with Maui County over utilities to central and west Molokai.

Maui County filed a court order requiring MPL to continue to provide water and wastewater services to those residents, who was the landlord until April 2008. The ranch developed the towns, such as Maunaloa, years ago and after pulling out, tried to force the county to take over the utilities when no buyer of the property could be found. The trial is set for June 14.

Molokai TVR Gets Rare Approval

While Molokai has an estimated 25 illegal transient vacation rental (TVR) properties, one such rental, Hale Maluhia in Pukoo, has been granted a permit by the Maui Council’s Land Use Committee. The council has only given out 15 TVR permits since 1998.

Planning Department officials say they’ve received complaints that TVRs and bed-and-breakfasts inflate property taxes. Molokai currently only has one hotel, and many rental property owners say short-term rentals are important to tourism, and the economy.

A TVR is a house or apartment that is rented in its entirety on a short-term basis, and unlike B&Bs the owners do not have to live on site. Christine, Frances and Bill Feeter own Molokai’s Hale Maluhia.

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