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Airstream Hotel on Maui?

Who wants to stay in an Airstream trailer on a Maui Tea Farm? If you shot your hand into the air and yelled, “I do! I do!” – you’re out of luck, for now at least, according to the latest information I received from the Planning Department of the Maui County. I recently made an inquiry with Gina Flammer (who was super helpful by the way) about the possibility of applying for a Short Term Rental Home Permit for my groovy Airstream trailer.

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My groovy Airstream trailer

Gina is the point person to handle B&B permit applications and Short Term Rental Home applications – nicknamed STRH permits. Gina explained that because an Airstream trailer is not a permitted dwelling, it is not eligible for either the B&B permit, nor the STRH permit. (Stay tuned for another blog post about the new streamlined application process for these permits.)

Why Would You Want to Have an Airstream Trailer on Maui?

So, why on earth would you want an Airstream trailer on Maui? There certainly are no RV parks, and you sure as hell would not want to drive a 28-foot, 7,000-pound trailer around the crazy curves of the Hana Highway. The answer, at least for me, is more about architecture and can be best answered by showing you a photograph:

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Pretty awesome, right?

The design of the Airstream trailer as a pure study in architecture is a winner for Hawaiian living. The trailer pictured above has all the modern conveniences of home – even some that I wouldn’t even need where I live, such as air conditioning and a furnace. (The furnace has never been turned on, so I don’t even know if it works.) It has a fully functional bathroom, shower, propane/electric fridge, sectional couch, efficient kitchenette, flatscreen TV, and the always essential dinette.

Is it Legal to Live in a Trailer on Maui?

This is one of those questions that no one in a position of authority seems comfortable answering (myself included). It’s certainly not illegal to own an Airstream trailer – mine is licensed and insured by Kit Okazaki of State Farm Insurance. Kit did say that for insurance purposes, “You just can’t be living in it.” – or something like that.

The Man Cave

The Man Cave

Other Permitting Options

Another permitting option I have not thoroughly investigated is to apply for a Conditional Use Permit for a “Specialty Campground Agricultural Staycation Experience” type of business model. Conditional Use Permits were the way that abiding citizens used to legitimize their B&B operations before the current B&B Permits and STRH Permits came into being.

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So for now, my Airstream, whose name is “Lady Mary,” will remain my not-so-mobile office, tea processing kitchen, movie watching station, romantic faux camping hideaway, and buddhist meditation temple.

Here are some links to information on applying for a STHR or a B&B Permit on Maui:

 
Liam S. Ball, R(S)
808.280.7809
liam@hawaiilife.com

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Alison Wisnom

September 29, 2014

I LOVE IT!! May I be your first guest??

Alison Wisnom

September 29, 2014

I LOVE IT!! May I be your first guest??

George Walter

September 30, 2014

Beautiful Airstream, Liam. Maybe you can look into the permit that was issued to http://www.mauicampersrental.com. I would think that since it can be moved, it’s really a camper. You’ll be giving permission to someone to camp on your property.

Liam Ball

September 30, 2014

That’s a great idea George. Thanks for the heads up. I will look into that.

George Walter

September 30, 2014

Beautiful Airstream, Liam. Maybe you can look into the permit that was issued to http://www.mauicampersrental.com. I would think that since it can be moved, it’s really a camper. You’ll be giving permission to someone to camp on your property.

Liam Ball

September 30, 2014

That’s a great idea George. Thanks for the heads up. I will look into that.

Liam

September 30, 2014

Yay Alison! I’ll let you know when I can go legit – and in the meantime I guess you could always come over and help me get the weeds out of my disheveled tea garden! 🙂

Liam

September 30, 2014

Yay Alison! I’ll let you know when I can go legit – and in the meantime I guess you could always come over and help me get the weeds out of my disheveled tea garden! 🙂

sandy

November 13, 2014

I found this page with good information on how to get a permit. If it has wheels, it’s a house trailer! http://www.erikeverywhere.com/tiny-houses-in-hawaii/

Liam

November 14, 2014

Thanks Sandy. I’m a big fan of Erik’s. I love his blog and we’ve talked about Tiny houses a lot. I live in a small house and I feel that Tiny houses are unsustainable in the long run but are great experiments. I think small houses are completely sustainable in the long run. I’ve lived in 780 square feet for almost 10 years and I find it palatial. I don’t think I could live in 100 square feet for 10 years, and I feel it wouldn’t cost much more to build something a little bigger than a tiny house. But the trade off is in the permitting issue. And I absolutely love spending time in the Airstream which incidentally is much larger than a tiny house. I certainly love people having this dialogue and re-inventing what is necessary architecturally for a comfortable life especially here in Hawaii where we have such a forgiving climate. Thanks for chipping into the convo!

sandy

November 13, 2014

I found this page with good information on how to get a permit. If it has wheels, it’s a house trailer! http://www.erikeverywhere.com/tiny-houses-in-hawaii/

Liam

November 14, 2014

Thanks Sandy. I’m a big fan of Erik’s. I love his blog and we’ve talked about Tiny houses a lot. I live in a small house and I feel that Tiny houses are unsustainable in the long run but are great experiments. I think small houses are completely sustainable in the long run. I’ve lived in 780 square feet for almost 10 years and I find it palatial. I don’t think I could live in 100 square feet for 10 years, and I feel it wouldn’t cost much more to build something a little bigger than a tiny house. But the trade off is in the permitting issue. And I absolutely love spending time in the Airstream which incidentally is much larger than a tiny house. I certainly love people having this dialogue and re-inventing what is necessary architecturally for a comfortable life especially here in Hawaii where we have such a forgiving climate. Thanks for chipping into the convo!

Chelsea

October 22, 2015

Beautiful Airstream Liam! I lived on Maui for a long time and temporarily moved to the mainland for a year. I move back soon and I have the opportunity to purchase a 16 ft. Airstream and ship it over to the island. I plan to stay in a friends drive way for the first month and then find spots I can park until I find a piece of land to purchase. This probably sounds ridiculous and maybe even illegal. I haven’t been able to get many answers out of DL&R or any other reference I have tried to contact. Do you have any recommendations for me? Thank you very much for your time.

Chelsea

October 22, 2015

Beautiful Airstream Liam! I lived on Maui for a long time and temporarily moved to the mainland for a year. I move back soon and I have the opportunity to purchase a 16 ft. Airstream and ship it over to the island. I plan to stay in a friends drive way for the first month and then find spots I can park until I find a piece of land to purchase. This probably sounds ridiculous and maybe even illegal. I haven’t been able to get many answers out of DL&R or any other reference I have tried to contact. Do you have any recommendations for me? Thank you very much for your time.

Shane Wood

June 20, 2016

I would love more info regarding this! MY wife and I have talked and dreamed about living in our Airstream in Hawaii! Is it possible to just buy a piece of land and put your trailer on it?

Shane Wood

June 20, 2016

I would love more info regarding this! MY wife and I have talked and dreamed about living in our Airstream in Hawaii! Is it possible to just buy a piece of land and put your trailer on it?

hopey23@hotmail.com

February 26, 2018

Hey Liam, Did you ever find an answer in regards to your permitting issue? I am moving to Kauai and have a 31 ft Airstream. Not sure if I should bring her or sell her.

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