Planning Dept.: ‘Use runs with the land’

LIHU‘E — County law changed last year to allow owners of transient vacation rentals on agricultural land to apply for a non-conforming use permit, provided they were in operation prior to March 7, 2008, among other criteria.

But apparently, non-ownership prior to the cut-off date is not necessarily an issue.

“The presumption is that the use runs with the land,” interim Planning Director Michael Dahilig said Tuesday at a county Planning Commission meeting.

Michael Fiuze’s Secret Beach property complied with all the requirements, but those requirements were met by the former owner. Fiuze bought the property in November 2010, more than two-and-a-half years past the cut-off date for grandfathering.

Ordinance 904 — approved by the Kaua‘i County Council on July 29, 2010 — gave owners of TVRs operating on ag land the same grandfathering rights as owners of TVRs operating in residential districts.

Since the ordinance went into effect Aug. 16, 2010, the commission has processed several permit applications for grandfathering TVRs on ag land.

To qualify for a grandfathered permit, TVR owners must provide receipts or other documents, including general-excise tax records, that show the TVR was in operation prior to March 7, 2008.

On Tuesday morning the commission met behind closed doors for a lengthy executive session with the Office of the County Attorney. The session was to provide a briefing regarding legal issues related to the implementation of the ordinance.

Following the all-morning executive session the commission ruled on non-conforming use permits for three TVRs operating on ag lands. One of those TVR applications belonged to Fiuze, who at the end of the meeting walked away with his permit.

Ordinance 904

Applicants who applied by Oct. 15, 2010 — 60 days after council passed the ordinance — did not have to pay an application fee. Those who let the cut-off date lapse had to pay a $1,500 late fee.

Applicants have to apply with the department, and go before the commission for approval. NCU permits have to be renewed annually.

Applications are being accepted until Tuesday. After that date applications won’t be accepted and the use of a TVR shall be deemed discontinued, according to the ordinance.

Visit www.kauai.gov for more information, or www.kauaigovonline.org/cokforms/TVR_Log.aspx for a complete list of applicants and the status of their applications.

• Léo Azambuja, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 252) or lazambuja@ thegardenisland.com.

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