Letters for Wednesday, June 13, 2007

• Don’t pass vacation rental bill

• Better solution needed

• From the heart


Don’t pass vacation rental bill

This letter is to urge you to vote against the upcoming vacation rental bill or at least against the amendment proposed to exclude ag properties from the “grandfathering.”

Reasons: The “problem” this bill is supposed to cure is nebulous. No real data or proof that more affordable rentals or any other benefit to the community will result.

Without enforcement, which is impossible, the bill is meaningless. It aims to drive visitor traffic back into hotels and condos in VDA zones which is not what the community nor the visitor wants. The visitors have already voted with their feet to stay in alternative accomodations. The property owners have voted by offering their places for rent.

Why would the county want to deprive homeowners of an opportunity to help pay ever escalating property taxes?

Why would the county give ag property a tax break, then deny those folks the extra cash flow a vacation rental brings in?

This bill brings up larger questions in our over regulated society: Do we need to get rid of the VDA zone altogether? Concentrating visitors in these zones will result in more traffic and crowding in the already most crowded areas and results in dollars going off-island rather than remaining here to the benefit of small business.

Is this bill a “taking” under the Fifth Amendment? Is there any freedom anymore to seek the highest and best use of private property?

This bill is simply an attempt to get the tax money the county thinks it is losing. It is an ill conceived and poorly thought through attempt at social engineering, which in my view, the county should not be doing anyway.

If you cannot bring yourself to vote against it, at least kill the amendment, or exempt those beach areas which are zoned Ag in which very few are doing real ag anyway. These would include Kilauea, Moloa‘a, Aliomanu, Anahola, Kealia Kai and similar areas where the Ag zone has been already de facto changed by years of usage as beach homes and estates.

Michael Wells

Kapa‘a


Better solution needed

I humbly request that the County Council consider the negative effects of Bill 2204 as currently written. Please do not take our livelihood. We have lived on this land and farmed it for decades. We have tried every way possible to sustain ourselves through farming alone and we have never been able to — the market simply doesn’t allow for it. Our small two-bedroom vacation rental has been the only way we have been able to continue.

This is not a black and white issue, please don’t pass this black and white bill. Allow room for people like us. Unlike property in VDAs or residential areas, Ag properties tend to be larger. Out of our acreage we farm, we only use 564 square feet as a vacation rental — that is next to no impact. We have never had complaints by neighbors. We live on our property full time, so we are able to regulate closely who stays here. And we educate our visitors to take care of the ‘aina. When do resorts ever do that?

I have no problem with the county wanting to license us to keep track of issues but what you are proposing works against the very ideals that you espouse. Local economy — not money brought in by big business. Why does the council always rule for those with all of the money? And I do not believe that we have the infrastructure to require permitting of each and every vacation rental. Do people realize how much paperwork and time would be required on everyone’s part? Licensing of vacation rentals (like getting a business license) would ensure that everyone would file and that the county could keep track. Why pass bills requiring permitting you will not even be able to regulate? You will be robbing us of our tax dollars in order to sue us because we are trying to make a living on an island that is inherently difficult to make ends meet on. Where is the logic in this?

Kaua’i is diverse and areas with vacation rentals vary greatly. If you feel an area has too many vacation rentals, then come up with an appropriate number for that area, grandfather the oldest in and regulate that way. Ag land is a completely different beast. If anyone needs supplemental income it is the farmers. Do you want us to close down our farms and sell to rich Mainlanders? I guarantee you that is what will happen. Why not allow people who are farming and live full time on their property to support themselves with one vacation rental unit?

JoAnn Yakimura and the rest of the board, I am begging you to refrain from being heavy handed in this situation. This is one of those rare cases that you can still make a stand on an issue and potentially make everyone happy. You have the opportunity to institute regulation in an intelligent and thoughtful manner, while acknowledging the varying needs of the community. Please, please don’t do this to your island ohana. Farmers need options for income. This bill is anti-farmer. Many of us can’t work 9-to-5 jobs because of the needs of our farms. Small vacation rentals are the only option for many of us. Many other counties around the U.S. have successfully addressed this issue and made room for vacation rentals and B&Bs on ag land. Let’s be progressive and not continue our backward ways.

I know you are intelligent caring people. Continuing with Bill 2204 as is, is a cop out. It’s the easy way to just rule and move on to the next issue. Please take the time to fashion a bill that supports the farmer, addresses the issues of vacation rentals saturating specific neighborhoods and allows the county to track the industry. It can be done and I know with a little consideration most of us would be happy to support the county in finding a solution that works for everyone.

Kathleen Vergols

Kapa’a


From the heart

I would like to know where people like Bruce Fehring are coming from (”Resorts will win with Bill 2204,” Guest Viewpoint, June 10).

First I want to point out that Mr. Fehring titles his commentary “Resorts will win,” and ending his tirade with a suggestion to check out the Web site that seems to be devoted to changing Kaua‘i into a fast money making scheme, by using up all available land, including Ag land (land meant for Agriculture Use) for B&B and other get rich quick while ruining and changing Hawai‘i forever.

I have really noticed that we in Hawai‘i have seen a new type of person moving over from the Mainland since 2000.

We get to hear from them almost every day in the opinion section.

They come over here and try to spread their message of hate and destruction in reasonable tones.

My message to people like Mr. Ferhing and others like him is try to open your heart, open your mind and try to realize what you are doing, and what impact it has on the future.

Their mindset only allows them to think of today, only to think about what profit they can make today, and forget about what kind of mess they will leave behind.

A lot of people who now live in Hawai‘i, moved here to get away from these kind of people.

Because most of the people in Hawai‘i are good people.

Hawai‘i has no room for fascists, and it never has.

Call yourself a Conservative, call yourself a Republican, but at least realize in your heart, what you really are.

Writing another letter that will be deleted by another right-winger not welcome in Hawai‘i, who will probably move as soon as someone else will hire him at another right-wing second-rate rag.

Dennis Chaquette

Kapa‘a

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