The County of Maui recently revised its laws relating to accessory dwellings. Also known as ohanas, cottages, or attached apartments, these are becoming increasingly sought after due to the lack of housing on the island. The county council recently voted to abolish the cap on the minimum lot sizes for ohanas. It also permitted the building of a second ohana unit on particular-sized lots. As well as this, the county upped the maximum size of ohanas based on the lot size.
The aim of all of these alterations in legislation was to aid in resolving the shortage of long-term rentals on the island. Earlier, a property had to have a minimum of 7,500 square feet to be eligible for building an ohana; however, no such minimum lot size is applicable, given that the structure provides adequate space for off-street parking. For properties that are 7,500 square feet or larger, two ohanas can now be constructed. However, these accessory dwellings strictly prohibit bed and breakfasts, short-term rentals, and transient vacation rentals.
The table below showcases the new size limits for accessory dwellings based on the size of the lot.
Noting the allowance per “ohana” instead of the collective total of both structures, the included covered floor area is expansive, encompassing all forms of covered storage while explicitly exempting carports, parking spaces, and garages, even when such spaces contain laundry and utility equipment. Furthermore, walkways and landings that do not makeup part of an uncovered open deck, patio, lanai, or the like may be up to four feet wide and remain under the rule's protection.
With the amendment to the accessory dwelling regulation, people can create larger covered and uncovered lanai spaces, with exact allowances depicted in the table.
The square footage of covered decks, walkways, patios, lanais, or analogous constructions is outlined in the table above.
There are similar amounts allocated to uncovered decks, lanais, and patios.
For both the preceding tables, “cumulative floor area” does not encompass walkways or landings up to four feet wide, which lie under eaves or overhangs that are not a part of a deck, patio, lanai, or similar formation. The principal ambition of the alterations to accessory dwelling legislation was to devise further housing for local occupants. Hence, the county decided to ban employing accessory dwellings as short-term rentals, vacation rentals, or Bed and Breakfasts (B&B). Yet, these alterations are limited to plots that hold the pertinent zoning.
Where confusion may arise is in possessions that have agricultural zoning; the cottage structures on ag lots are categorized as “accessory farm dwellings,” and the guidelines for those dwellings have not been amended. Although this bill enables a denser population, house owners will discover that parking and water are limits to taking complete advantage of the law. In addition to off-street parking requirements for an accessory dwelling, the homeowner should consider fixture counts.
Maui County limits the number of plumbing fixtures hooked up to a 5/8ths inch water meter, and the total can be easily reached with a primary residence and an ohana. Although it is possible to purchase additional fixture points, a second water meter is not always feasible. Thus, these water limitations could counteract the likely positive outcomes of this bill since Maui necessitates further long-term rentals.