Kaua‘i County 2008 charter amendment proposals

• Relating to county elections (Proposed by the Charter Commission)

Ballot question: Should the Kauai County Charter be amended to require that the two candidates who receive the highest number of votes in the primary election for the office of the mayor and prosecuting attorney, regardless of whether a candidate receives a majority of the votes cast at the primary election, run in the general election?

Background: Section 1.03 of the Charter currently provides that Mayoral or Prosecuting Attorney candidate who receives a majority (50%+1) of the votes in the Primary Election shall be elected and is not required to run in the General Election.

Explanation of proposed amendment: If this Amendment is approved, the names of the two candidates running for the Office of the Mayor and Prosecuting Attorney who receive the highest number of votes in the Primary Election will be on the ballot in the General Election. If there is only one candidate for each of these offices, that candidate will be elected.

Meaning of a “yes” vote: A “Yes” vote means that the names of the two candidates for the Office of the Mayor and Prosecuting attorney with the most votes will be placed on the ballot in the General Election, regardless of the number of votes they receive in the Primary Election.

Meaning of a “no” vote: A “No” vote means that any candidate who receives a majority of (50%+1) of the votes in the Primary Election for the Office of the Mayor and Prosecuting Attorney will be elected without the necessity of running in the General Election.

• Relating to council executive meetings (Proposed by the Charter Commission)

Ballot question: Should the Kauai County Charter be amended to conform to state law requiring that all meetings of the County Council be open to the public unless allowed to be closed under the State Sunshine Law, Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes?

Background: Section 3.07 (E) of the Kauai County Charter is currently not consistent with the State Sunshine Law, Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes with regards to County Council and Council Committee meetings that are closed to the public (for example, County Council Executive Sessions).

Explanation of proposed amendment: If this charter Amendment is approved, the Kauai County Charter will be consistent with the State law and all County Council and Council Committee meetings may only be closed to the public if allowed by the State Sunshine Law, Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Meaning of a “yes” vote: A “Yes” vote means the Kauai County Charter will be consistent with the State Sunshine Law and all County Council and Council Committee meetings may only be closed to the public if allowed by the State Sunshine Law, Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Meaning of a “no” vote: A “No” vote means the Kauai County Charter will remain more restrictive than the State Sunshine Law, Chapter 92, Hawaii Revised Statutes, and all County Council and Council Committee meetings will be open with the exception of deliberations relating to the confirmation of appointees and consultations with the County Attorney on claims.

• Relating to boards and commissions (Proposed by the Charter Commission)

Ballot question: Should the Kauai County Charter be amended to expressly permit county board and commission members to appear on behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency except the board or commission on which they serve?

Background: Currently Section 20.02 (D) of the Charter is being interpreted to permit volunteer County board and commission members, on a case-by-case basis, to appear on behalf of private interests before County departments, agencies, or boards except before the board or commission on which they serve.

Explanation of proposed amendment: If approved, an officer or employee of the county is expressly permitted to appear on behalf of private interests before any county board, commission or agency except the board or commission on which they serve.

Meaning of a “yes” vote: A “Yes” vote will affirm that volunteer County board and commission members may represent private interests before County departments, agencies, or boards except before the board or commission on which they serve.

Meaning of a “no” vote: A “No” vote means the Charter remains the same and the Ethics Board will determine on a case-by-case basis whether an individual may appear on behalf of private interest before any County department, agency, or board.

• Relating to disclosure of interests (Proposed by the County Council)

Ballot question: Shall an elected or appointed officer or employee or member of a board or commission not be allowed to participate in matters pending before them where the member or any member of his immediate family has a personal financial interest or an organization in which they occupy a leadership position has a direct financial interest?

Background: Currently any elected or appointed officer or employee who possesses or acquires such interest as might reasonably tend to create a conflict with his duties or authority shall make a full disclosure to his appointing authority, to the council, in case of a member of a council, or to the board or commission on which he serves at any time such conflict becomes apparent. Any member of the council or any board or commission who knows he or any member of his immediate family has direct financial interest, or that he or any member of his immediate family occupies a position of leadership in an organization which has a direct or no financial interest in any proposal pending before the body of which he is a member shall disclose such interest to such body. No appointed officer or employee shall participate, discuss or vote on such pending matter unless his vote is required to establish a quorum to act on such matter.

Explanation of proposed amendment: If approved, any elected official, appointed officer, employee, or any member of a board or commission who possesses or acquires such interest as might reasonably tend to create a conflict with his .duties or authority, or who is an owner, officer, executive director or director of an organization, or whose member of his immediate family, which includes parents, siblings, spouse or children, is an owner, officer, executive director or director of an organization in any matter pending before him shall make full disclosure to the conflict of interest and shall not participate in said matter.

Meaning of a “yes” vote: A “Yes” vote means an elected or appointed officer or employee, or member of a board or commission shall not be allowed to participate in matters pending before them where the member or any member of his family has a personal financial interest or an organization in which they occupy a leadership position has direct financial interest.

Meaning of a “no” vote: A “No” vote means no elected or appointed officer or employee or any member of a board or commission shall participate, discuss or vote on such pending matter unless his vote is required to establish a quorum to act on such matter.

• Relating to the

Office of the County Auditor (Proposed by

the County Council)

Ballot question: Shall there be an Office of the County Auditor, established within the Legislative Branch, to conduct or cause to conduct performance and financial audits of funds, programs, and operations of any agency, department or operation of the County?

Background: Currently there is no Office of the County Auditor.

Explanation of proposed amendment: If approved, this amendment would establish an Office of the Auditor, under the Legislative Branch, to conduct or cause to conduct performance and financial audits of funds, programs, and operations of any agency, department or operation of the County.

Meaning of a “yes” vote: A “Yes” vote would establish an Office of the Auditor.

Meaning of a “no” vote: A “No” vote means that the County continues to operate without an Office of the Auditor to conduct or cause to conduct performance and financial audits of funds, programs, and operations of any agency, department or operation of the County.

• Relating to implementation of the General Plan (Proposed by Citizen’s petition)

Ballot question: “Shall Article III of the Charter of the County of Kauai be amended by adding new sections to read as follows: SECTION 1 Article III of the Charter of the County of Kauai is hereby amended by adding a new Section to Article III to read as follows: Implementation of the General Plan A. The power to process and to issue any zoning, use, subdivision, or variance permit for more than one transient accommodation unit shall be vested in and exercisable exclusively by the council. As used in this Section, “transient accommodation units” shall mean an accommodation unit of a portion thereof in a hotel, timeshare facility, vacation rental unit or other similarly-used dwelling that is rented or used by one or more persons for whom such accommodation unit is not the person’s  s primary residence under the Internal Revenue Code.

B. Any applicant seeking the issuance of a zoning, use, subdivision or variance permit for more than one accommodation unit shall certify to the planning department whether any use of the units as a transient 11 accommodation unit is projected by the applicant. Prior to granting any such permit for a transient accommodation unit, the council shall conduct a public hearing and make a finding that granting such permit would be consistent with the planning growth range of the general plan and in the best interests of the county and its people. Approval of any such application shall require a favorable vote of two thirds (2/3) of the entire membership of the council. Appeals of any decision by the council relating to such permits must be instituted in the circuit court within thirty (30) days after entrance of the final decision of the council.

C. The council may by ordinance authorize the planning commission to process and issue such permits, or certain of them, on terms and conditions as the council may deem advisable, only upon the council’s  s enactment of a rate of growth ordinance that limits the rate of increase in the number of transient accommodation units in the county to no greater than one-and-one-half percent (1.5%) per annum on a multi-year average basis, or such growth rate that is within the planning growth range of a future general plan adopted pursuant to Section 14.08.

SECTION 2 The council shall adopt such ordinances, laws, rules and regulations as are necessary to carry out the terms and intent of this amendment to the Charter.

SECTION 3 If any provision of this amendment shall be held by a final order of a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, all of the other terms of the amendment shall remain in full force and effect?”

Background: Currently, Section 14.06 of the County Charter requires the County Council to adopt and update a General Plan to govern the future development of the county. The General Plan serves as a guide to future Council actions concerning land use and development, regulations, and expenditures for capital improvements. However, the County Charter does not require that the number of “transient accommodation units” as defined in the proposed Charter amendment approved by the County be consistent with the General Plan’s  s growth scenarios.

Explanation of proposed amendment: If approved, this Charter amendment would change the way that any zoning, use, subdivision, or variance permit for more than one “transient accommodation unit” as defined in the proposed Charter amendment is granted for hotels, timeshares and other “transient accommodation units” as follows: If the County Council passes an ordinance that limits the Planning Commission’s  s authority to approve “transient accommodation units” as defined in the proposed Charter amendment to a limited number of annual permits, the Planning Commission could continue to be responsible of the approvals of permits for such development.

If the County Council does not pass such an ordinance, the County Council would be responsible for approving such development, but only upon a finding that such development would be consistent with the General Plan, and only with the approval of at least 5 of the 7 members of the County Council.

Any one applying to develop more than one “transient accommodation unit” as defined in the proposed Charter amendment would be required to seek the approval of either the County Council or the Planning Commission.

The annual number of “transient accommodation unit” approvals allowed would be limited to a number calculated from the year 2020 projections of overall demand for visitor units contained in the 2000 General Plan, or within the growth ranges of future General Plans that are adopted by the County Council.

Meaning of a “yes” vote: A “Yes” vote means that the Charter will require that the County’s  s approval of permits issued for hotels, timeshares and other “transient accommodation units” as defined in the proposed Charter amendment will be limited to an annual number of “transient accommodation units” calculated from the year 2020 projections of the County’s  s 2000 General Plan or within the growth ranges of future General Plans that are adopted by the County Council.

Meaning of a “no” vote: A “No” vote means that the Charter will not require that the County’s  s approval of permits issued for hotels, timeshares and other “transient accommodation units” as defined in the proposed Charter amendment be limited to an annual number of “transient accommodation units” calculated from the year 2020 projections of the County’s  s 2000 General Plan or within the growth ranges of future General Plans that are adopted by the County Council.

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