Law creates planning enforcement account

LIHU‘E — After several weeks of fine-tuning, the Kaua‘i County Council on Wednesday gave its final approval on a law that creates a planning enforcement account, where fines collected by the Planning Department will be deposited and used toward enforcement of zoning laws.

The new law, coupled with a different law recently passed, gives the department muscle and fuel to fight zoning violations.

In the past, zoning violations had to go through criminal prosecution, taking as much as 18 months or more for each case, with a $500 fine the maximum fine. A different law, passed recently, allows the department to enforce zoning violations and collect fines of up to $10,000 a day.

At a council meeting on Jan. 23, Planning Director Michael Dahilig said the department has yet to collect a dollar from zoning violations. All those who got tangled with zoning violations after the new law went into effect complied after being issued a notice of violation, he said.

Bill 2439, passed Wednesday, puts the fines that the department may collect into this newly created account, and establishes that such funds can be used to retain independent contractors to assist in the enforcement of Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance and other laws that the department has authority to enforce.

However, if more than $10,000 is to be used, the council needs to approve it. And at the end of each fiscal year, uncommitted funds in excess of $100,000 will be transferred to the county General Fund.

The new law is now on the way to Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. for his signature. It will go into effected immediately with his approval.


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