Time to end the convoys, open the road

Dear Mayor Carvalho,

The convoys between Waikoko and Wainiha on the North Shore have gone from an initial necessity to an ongoing, unnecessary headache for those living in Haena and Wainiha. This is an avoidable situation and a waste of taxpayer money to man the convoys.

The road is in fine shape with the exception of two segments that are down to one lane. The one-lane segments could easily be handled by temporary, portable traffic lights. Residents in Haena and Wainiha are used to one-lane bridges anyhow. This is no longer a safety issue since the road is safe to pass and road crews have room to work as people pass slowly by. The upcoming bridge work in Wainiha could be done at night like the original plan rather than during the day when everyone is affected.

The road convoys are a complete inconvenience to both residents and business owners alike. They have made recovery slower since it is so difficult to get contractors in and out of the area. The convoys have interrupted jobs and destroyed businesses.

We have a neighbor on one side who has to waste an extra four hours each day to pick up his son in Kilauea, according to the convoy schedule, and a neighbor on the other side who is out of business until the road opens back up. The road convoys have created a hazardous situation for medical care and ambulances that need to get through. So, the situation is dangerous in addition to inconvenient.

If the whole objective is to keep tourists out, that could be accomplished by a simple “Local traffic only” sign past Hanalei rather than an ongoing convoy.

There should not be discrimination against TVR owners, though. Like other business owners on the North Shore, TVR owners have suffered tremendously, too. Many TVR owners are very dependent upon the rental income to pay the mortgage and home expenses.

Unfortunately, none of the FEMA aid nor State of Hawaii aid is available to TVR owners. Business loss-of-use insurance does not cover TVR owners for road closures and emergency proclamations. So, TVR owners have been left out in the cold and need to get back to some sort of normalcy, too.

I would ask you to end the emergency proclamations and stop the convoys so that some sort of normalcy can return to the residents and businesses of Haena and Wainiha. What started as a natural disaster has turned into a man-made one.

The convoys have interrupted work schedules, school schedules and everything in between. For the sake of everyone, please, please, please cease the emergency proclamations, stop the convoys, and open up Kuhio Highway to Wainiha and Haena to regular local traffic. Mahalo!

•••

Geoff Flint is a homeowner in Haena.

23 Comments
  1. Michael July 22, 2018 4:44 am Reply

    A local traffic only sign will not keep tourists out. You will need someone there to ask for identification, or some way to check for addresses/intent. I am not as sympathetic toward you concerning vacation rental homes, however. You want discrimination toward that type of business to end; I don’t think that will come easily. Part of the deep sentiment held on the island is of the local spirit – we live here, and we want to keep it that way; we don’t want to bring in outsiders to muddy up the place. Before the flood, the north shore was choked with outsiders. The locals are still reeling from that. Don’t expect sympathy from the public, unless they also benefit from outside dollars filtering into their coffers via the rental business.


    1. Jake July 23, 2018 5:07 am Reply

      Only on Kauai do we have this 6th Grade mentality, “I was here first”. Most of it I get, as for whatever reason, locals are afraid to experience the rest of the world……hence the “sentiment”. Some people win the genetic lottery, I guess a few thousand win the “Kauai Lottery” each year, so they have a “Free Pass” to complain about the visitors/tourists, but never experience the rest of the world to understand why the “outsiders” come to visit, with a few growing roots.

      The “Outsiders” fuel the ONLY industry on the islands. Supply-and-Demand is the most powerful force in the Universe. We don’t have an underpopulation problem on this planet. Every town, city, or county is growing. Stop the madness!


  2. ok then July 22, 2018 8:54 am Reply

    Dear Mayor, prior to opening the road please consider eradicating every tvr in wainiha and haena that is not on the sand, as those on the sand are financially challenging for locals to rent long term anyhow. The place was way better before all this explosion of web based sites pimping out RESIDENCES meant for long term housing to visitors. I feel for the residents out there, but i feel strongly we are OVER RUN with visitors and need to keep the housing restricted to the VDA when it comes to TVR’S. If you go bankrupt with your tvr because of this event, the only way you could have ever survived here was by violating the peace of your neighborhood by implementing vacation rentals. Why is it that the tvr is even permitted outside the VDA? why bother with zoning? who cares anyhow as local families dont count, only making more space for visitors? Kauai is becoming a over run paradise lost. We service them, we take care of them, we need them, but you let them reside in places where we should be able to rent, and we are stacked up in garages, under homes ion flood zones, and thats if were lucky. At the same time every politician says affordable housing this and that, all political spin, as they cant even enforce and follow the simple guidelines own the czo. If your for TVR’s your not for kauai, there is a space for the tvr, in the vda area and on the sand. If your a visitor reading this we are in the midst of a rotten housing crisis driven by many factors, one of them being the conversion of residentially zoned properties into vacation rentals. Please dont stay in any of these places. Help us to have a chance at housing here by doing business with the who are following the rules.


  3. numilalocal July 22, 2018 10:22 am Reply

    Mr Flint, are you an engineer working on that job? If not, while I understand the inconvenience incurred by the convoys, I’d say that your opinion that the roadway is safe is just that: an opinion. I wouldn’t drive out there until the ENTIRE job is pau.


    1. GoWitDaFlow August 5, 2018 11:59 am Reply

      Ok then …..Then ok. You’re not going to get affordable housing by getting rid of the TVR’s Every owner pays the high taxes based on high valuation. Supply and demand. Easy. No TVR’s? Then those owners that have to sell will sell. Those prices will still make the rent unaffordable if the new owner rents the homes out. You think that these owners are just going to make those houses affordable for you? If you can’t afford to live somewhere then you can’t live there. Period. The old days are gone. Get it? The housing crunch is happening all over the world. Get that? The TVR’s are not the big problem at all. The big problem, is that people are willing to pay huge prices for homes here. That in turn drives up taxes and costs to maintain those properties. Talk to the realtors that get the prices that keep escalating and driving up prices. You’re just getting priced out of the market. Best use your vote to vote for people that you feel will really help create affordable housing and be ready to live in a less expensive place. Living in the past does you no good. Quit using TVR’s as a scapegoat. It’s easy but it is not the cause of the lack of affordable housing. End of story. Your elected officials are responsible for the rules. They cannot deprive people of the legal uses of their properties. Taking away TVR’s will create a massive legal mess. They know that. They let it happen in the first place. They already harassed all the original TVR’s and what’s left are law abiding people trying to get by just like you. Crying won’t help. Check Airbnb. Check who’s renting out all the real affordable housing (ie rooms in homes) Go with the flow and use the hand you’ve been dealt. There’s no free ride and there’s no forcing people to loose money renting out a home that is hard enough to carry financially by renting to you “affordably”. The old days are long gone. Holding onto that is counter productive and a waste of your time. I agree with the 6th grade analogy. It’s time to assimilate into the real world. A world that costs a lot to live in and where even living here on Kauai has become a rich mans game. Supply and demand. Remember that.


  4. Visitor July 22, 2018 1:07 pm Reply

    Why all this hate for the people who visit Kauai? I stay on the North Shore every year in a TVR. We are quiet and respectful of the neighbors around us. We visit the local merchants and bring spend a good amount of money each time we visit, We love the place. As much as I sympathize with rising prices on Kauai, you can’t blame the TVRs for that. Housing prices are insane everywhere. My lame townhouse is worth $500,00 and I am 5000 miles from a North Shore TVR. Banning TVRs is not going to bring North Shore real estate prices down, don’t fool yourself. Everyone, no matter where they live have to put up with life’s inconveniences, you just happen to live in a beautiful place that people love to visit. What exactly is the complaint about TVRs? We visitors are clean, quiet and respectful.


  5. Gina Mears July 22, 2018 1:31 pm Reply

    Mr. Mayor:
    Obviously this “home owner” is only interested
    in the money he makes in his vacation rental. The last thing we need is 85+, (number of TVR’s), more
    vehicles vying for position in the convoy.
    Getting the road DONE should be first priority for all concerned. Children’s transportation to and from school and work transport are of concern and should be addressed in the most sensible way possible, however, the quicker the road is done the sooner we can resume our lives.
    Posting “local traffic only” signs is ridiculous!
    Tourists don’t pay attention to the ROAD CLOSED signs that are there already. They try to blaze there way thru to Ke’e every day. Thank God we have the National Guard and KPD at the entry points to turn them away.


  6. cyndy johnson July 22, 2018 1:44 pm Reply

    Are you kidding?? Open the road with a sign in Hanalei that says, “Local Traffic Only?” The National Guard turns around dozens of tourists each day who pass multiple signs, including one that says, “no tourists,” and get in the line anyway. If the Guard wasn’t there to turn them away, they’d all be here (and some are getting through regardless). And you believe traffic lights on the worst sections of the highway, with blind curves, will suffice? What happens when an ambulance is called, and no human being is up there to coordinate? And what about people going over that dangerous stretch of road in the dark after a few drinks at the bar? Sounds like a perfect recipe for disaster and a huge risk for the county.
    Mr. Flint obviously doesn’t live in this community and cry me a river that he needs his vacation rental income to pay his mortgage and expenses – DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA WHAT THE RELATIVELY LOW-INCOME PEOPLE ($32,938 median household income) up here are dealing with in terms of paying their mortgages and expenses, plus repairs to their home? However, Mr. Flint, you do have the option to rent your TVR to a displaced family on a long-term basis given the Mayor’s recent proposal to alleviate the flood’s impact on the local community. If you love the North Shore and need some income to help pay your expenses, why not offer your home up?


    1. Petrina Blakely July 25, 2018 8:04 am Reply

      petrina.kauai@gmail.com Cyndy as always good job being the voice of reason. Safety needs to come first. And quality of life for all of you out there is paramount as well i.e. not reducing the convoys and locking you in on weekends. I applaud all of you who drive that road now on a regular basis I sure don’t think I could.


  7. Freddie Kaufman July 22, 2018 4:44 pm Reply

    Mr Flint
    You are not a resident and have not suffered the consequences of the flood like those of us who make our homes here. The convoys are inconvenient enough for those of us who live here. Quit whining and rent your tvr to a local resident who may have lost their home in the flood. No need for more traffic and you might make a positive impression rather then being a greedy complainer.


  8. Da Shadow July 22, 2018 7:33 pm Reply

    dear “ok then”
    you want to eradicate TVRs?
    why stop there? maybe start a petition to eradicate private property altogether?
    It’s too late to take property away from those who own it.
    How about we find a way to provide affordable housing on the island?


  9. Robin July 22, 2018 11:21 pm Reply

    Mr. Mayor, I echo Mr. Flint’s comments! Geoff – Great points made for lifting road restrictions and moving forward with balance. The legal TVR are not the issue rather than many folks who rent bedrooms out illegally via Air BNB to avoid detection. Home owners in the conservation zone knew when they bought the land they could not be used for a commercial business and should be required to rent to local residents immediately, state law should be strictly enforced.

    The 3,000 cars a day coming down to Ke’e Beach has destroyed the rural feel of Haena with so much traffic that needs to be managed. The 85 legal TVR in the Haena area were permitted after careful review many which had operated for over 30 years. Compromises were made to respect local residents and ordinances were put in place. As a Kauai resident with roots to the island for over a century Haena has been a destination for those seeking alternative accommodations since the 60’s, I recall many great memories going to my Aunty beach house in Haena as a small child each summer.

    Perhaps a little history lesson for those that seem to go crazy over Vacation rentals that can’t seem to get over the compromises made. Laws were enacted to insure no new homes built after 2007 could not be used as vacation rentals. Only homes that had a history of being rentals, paid taxes, had no issues with the county, had legal structures were allowed to secure permits. Much of the land in Haena was gifted to several families by the King. Those original families decided to monetize those gifts and sold parcels over the years. Some of those parcels where bought and sold many times.

    The argument vacation rentals has destroyed the neighborhood is exactly what the native Hawaiians said when the hippies arrived on the 60’s, over the years empty lots where used as junk yards, illegal trash dumped and drugs arrived. Many of those that no longer live in the neighbor are the very ones some community members miss. Crack houses, addicts, have been run off the island or placed in jail for year for many years. The junk yards have been replaced with landscaped homes, the drug dealers have been replaced by home owners that love Kauai and pay 10x the property taxes. The excessive taxes collected over the last seven years directly went to a Kauai County emergency fund that was used in the initial days of the great flood to provide relief.

    Those impacted by the flood should be thanking those Vacation Rental homeowners for paying their flood insurance that paid the claims of those less fortunate that failed to build above the flood zone. In any ecosystem time evolves, balance is required and many benefits we can’t see through the forest are those benefits we all need.


  10. Regulate vda's July 23, 2018 6:11 am Reply

    VDA’s have been allowed to run out of control also, mainly with large party houses being over occupied leading to overcrowding around the island. why there’s no regulation in the area where tvr’s are allowed is ridiculous.


  11. billyjoebob July 23, 2018 1:46 pm Reply

    I’ve done work for you Freddie, one of the biggest whiners on the island, Kaufman. Pack your stuff, leave and rent your place to a local.


  12. danielle July 23, 2018 8:52 pm Reply

    Guys, please lets not forget the main issues – the hardship we all suffer from the convoys and the plan that they are planing to reduce to almost impossible to live with convoys and close on weekends.
    This is absolutely insane and this is going to last a while.
    Why there are not more people hired to work faster on the road?
    Why if there is no road works at night the road is not open for convoys? One answer i got from an authority is that the national guard needs to have dinner…..
    There is so much more that can be done for us but it looks like all they are interested in is saving money.
    I just have no words to describe how bad and frustrating is to deal with the convoys and i cant imagine life without the 9 am escape and the 11pm option in case you needed to run errands/ go to town or just missed the 6.30pm. we are expected to leave home at 6.30 am in order to get to our work no matter what time is it before 12. Everyday.
    There must be better solutions then what they are planing because it is obvious they do not care about the people who live here.
    I always ask my self – why do these people want to have these kind of jobs if it is not to help the people who choose them? We are the people who need your help right now.
    The situation that have been going for years now is that there is no where to rent a home in haena / hanalei because it is all vacation rental.
    Also maybe its time to put a bike path finally.
    For those who always say – now we have more time to enjoy the beaches. I am in doubt. We are spending most of the time instead at the line on the convoy, going earlier then needed and coming later then we should, all exhausted and annoyed. Maybe those who dont work do get to enjoy though….
    I think we should all make ourselves clear that the new ideas for the convoys are impossible to cope with, stay sane and manage to get to work.


  13. Don Winter July 23, 2018 10:12 pm Reply

    I live in Wainiha. For years we had a TVR on our street and I was tired of the voices that carried at night while the people ate dinner. I was glad when the house sold to locals. Now the house had kids that ride motorcycles all day, dogs that bark a lot, and old cars parked all over the lot. Give me back a TVR any day.


  14. R U Kiddinmee July 26, 2018 2:49 pm Reply

    C’mon people – All over the world, tourists in droves visit the world’s most beautiful beaches, and it’s unrealistic to expect that tourists will not want to visit Lumahai, Tunnels, Kee, etc. And all over the world, most of the homes near those beaches will either be owned by extremely wealthy people, or be used as vacation rentals, or both. Anyone who is truly sincere about wanting to live in a locals only neighborhood should know better than to live right next to some of the worlds most desirable beaches. Do you really think Malibu, the Costa del Sol, the French Riviera, Ipanema, and other top beach destinations have housing for moderate\lower income households? If you really want to avoid tourists – don’t plant your home on top of the beaches that the whole world wants to visit, and then complain that the whole world wants to see beautiful beaches! Yeah, 50 or 75 years ago, there was much less tourism in the world. But that world is long gone.


  15. Open Da Road August 3, 2018 1:01 pm Reply

    First off – I wanted to say that dispute the deviation we witnessed in Haena and Wainiha after the flood…most everyone can agree that it was amazing to see the community come together. The support we saw was incredible from the rest of the island…so much mahalo for all of the support.

    That was April / May… It’s now August.

    There is no reason why the road should not be open at this point in time to those who own homes in the area. It has been an incredible inconvenience to residents in the area, and there is much more to the story that we’re not hearing from the county and mayor. We first were told the roads were going to open at the end of May. Then the end of July….and now there’s no real date in sight. We’re told October, but it seems the Mayor/county can easily extend that date with no issue. I’m sure the county will get sued at some point due to their inefficiency of handling the road issue and more truths will arise – and many will be fired. It’s clear by many friends / locals in the area that we’re seeing corruption amongst our local government. My family and my hope is that someone can please investigate as it’s now ripping apart the community in Haena / Wainiha. Start with the planning department

    Several close friends’ businesses have been shut down and are near bankruptcy due to the road restrictions. The county has restricted placards for long-term rentals – so it’s both short term and long term home owners who have been affected. It’s easy to hate on TVRs – but we’re all affected including all the workers who help with short and long-term rental and tourism.
    We have several friends who’s business’ depend on tourism to the area (cleaning / maintaining houses, etc) and/or it’s just too difficult/timely to commute back / forth from Haena/ Wainiha with the road restrictions so they have lost their renters and now struggling to pay their mortgages due to the county’s restrictions. If you’re not someone who had direct damage – there’s no help – just more restrictions. On top of that – we’re not even allowed to have family visit without the fear of getting arrested. It’s understood that we’re in a housing crisis but it’s a shame how the county is handling the situation…and it’s a shame about how slow the road repair is being handled.


  16. RaySongtree August 5, 2018 7:22 am Reply

    The comments here give a good cross section of opinion. Let’s remember that the county was given $25 million dollars for “flood relief”. Let’s ask why the planning dept couldn’t have a desk in Hanalei for contractors to get permits. Let’s ask why they couldn’t afford to buy a key for the gate to give to ambulances? Let’s really ask why they can’t afford to help transportation dept have work at night. I worked it out that if there are 20 working days in a month, than 5 months would be 100 working days and $25 million divided by 100 would be $25,000 per day for flood relief. Any questions?

    The county allowd the airlines to bump up seats to Kauai by 40% or 300,000 seats in one years This was the reason there were thousands of cars in Haena. It has nothing do with the TVR owners. Tho

    And how about insane idea that we can’t have family, friends, boyfriends or girl friends, or contractors spend the night?

    How about wierd idea that they even care who is in the car. Loan your car, loan your placard, that will not increase traffic!

    Isn’t it obvious that the county has control freaks who care more about rules and restrictions than normalizing our lives?

    I agree, a traffic light at choke points and night work would be best, and the county has the money to make it happen.


  17. GoWitDaFlo August 5, 2018 9:56 am Reply

    Too much blame and not enough sane. Too much corruption in the process and not enough fairness. Racial bias is blatant by the complainers and not enough empathy is shown home owners. TVR owners complaining about mortgages can get their loans into forbearance. Ignorance is king and there’s not enough understanding of the laws of supply and demand. Scapegoats are made of things that are caused by forces greater than someone is able to understand. People shout down others in meetings that are meant to bring about communication. Understanding is in short supply and anger is king. Common sense is lacking but emotional thought dominates the situation.
    This letter is emotional and lacks common sense. Anyone with common sense knows if people are left to their own devices they do stupid things. Just leaving the road open is as thoughtless an idea as I’ve ever heard. This has been a disaster. You know a natural disaster which puts everyone in the same boat. Stuff happens and there’s no guarantees in life. For people to expect to just have things go as they want them in a situation like this is unrealistic and selfish. It’s a free society. You are here in this world on your own. To just expect things that you want or need is unrealistic, period. You are not entitled to anything. To expect things to be given to you is unrealistic. When it all comes down all we have is what we have built up for ourselves. Emotionally and economically. That’s why people work hard to get ahead. To expect those people to just hand over what they have worked hard for to someone who hasn’t is both unrealistic and selfishly ignorant. This island is catching up to the real world out there. That world is overpopulated with a lot of people with money. Those people want the best for themselves and their families. Kauai is the best and thus there are a lot of people wanting a piece of it via ownership or by visiting. All you selfish people wanting to somehow get TVR’s to transfer to long term rentals are being unrealistic and show complete lack of common sense. And all the TVR owners who don’t understand why the locals want some recognition of their culture also are out of touch with what it is to live here and be in touch with this community. For a group of folks who worked so hard together when things were tough you show very little long term desire for doing the same thing. Time to work together. That includes trying to work with the county by trying to understand their position which is to get the situation rectified in a safe and fair way. Of course the caravan schedule won’t work for everyone. Of course things will take time to fix. The only real answer in this life is to go with the flow and do the best you can taking into consideration everyones point of view. So far what is being shown to the outside world is anger and disarray. Time for everyone to just get along and work together. Time to grow up. Time to embrace change for real. That means going with the flow and working together not shouting down people who are trying to help or blaming things on someone or something. When it comes to fixing this we only have ourselves to rely on and bickering is not the way forward. No opening the road is not the answer. Working together is.


  18. GoWitDaFlow August 5, 2018 3:22 pm Reply

    Edited post. please use this one.
    For anyone interested here’s an article that actually spells out why there’s an affordable housing crisis all across the country in real terms. Affordable housing is a country wide problem. TVR’s are not the cause of the lack of affordable housing. I’m going to venture to say that TVR’s are a very small part of the problem here as in other quality locales. And you must admit this is a high quality locale if there ever is one. Comes a time the writing on the wall overshadows the magical thinking of people who just don’t understand or just don’t care one way or the other as long as they can let out the anger and frustration inside. Now we’re back to the 6th graders and well, you know, it’s going to take more than a 6th grade education to understand this article. If you’re of the belief that it’s TVR’s that are causing the affordable housing shortage I ask you to please read this article and actually try to understand the information in it and then just think about it. Seriously…
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriksherman/2018/08/03/additional-building-wont-make-city-housing-more-affordable-says-fed-study/#2dd869dc218b


  19. NoShoOwner August 10, 2018 8:57 am Reply

    Michael Dahilig has the logic skills of a 3rd grader. His department spends more time making up excuses for NOT issuing placards than actually issuing them.


  20. Reek August 28, 2018 2:46 pm Reply

    Boo hoo Better sell.
    It’s going to be a loooooong time before the TVR’s are going to happen.


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