KILAUEA — Nicki Lorayn Pignoli was hopeful the Kilauea Neighborhood Association would support her efforts to keep her bed-and-breakfast open.
It did, but her work is not over yet.
After listening to Pignoli’s case, six members of the KNA voted yes on writing a draft letter to support Pignoli’s efforts to gain a special use permit in order for her to reopen Riversong.
“I’d like to continue the B&B operation,” Pignoli said during the meeting Tuesday night. “I think there’s room for small B&Bs throughout our community. Not everyone who comes to Kauai can afford to stay at the St. Regis, or big resorts; not everybody wants to.”
Riversong was one of many bed-and-breakfast operations, transient vacation rentals and homestay businesses that recently received cease and desist notices from the county because they lacked permits.
Pignoli, who has operated the B&B out of her home for 14 years, said she received no notice from the county about needing to go through a permitting process.
“My property taxes have tripled this past year because I’m now classified as having commercial home use and I’m now paying extra garbage fees for the same,” Pignoli said. “Even though my two guests added to one of me make no more impact on the environment then a family with one child.”
In order for Pignoli to apply for the special use permit, she needed to receive support letters from her direct neighbors and the KNA.
She has six letters from her neighbors, in addition to approval for the letter from the KNA.
“The board was very cautious of fully including all the factors that are specific to this case and what makes this case habitable to the KNA to allow the bed-and-breakfast to happen,” KNA President Yoshito L’Hote said.
County spokeswoman Mary Daubert said the planning commission is enforcing the TVR law in the normal course of business as it has been tasked.
“KNA is welcome to provide testimony before the planning commission just as any member of the public is entitled to under the law,” said Planning Director Michael Dahilig.
L’Hote said the Kauai County Council could present warnings to bed-and-breakfast operators about the need for permits so they have the opportunity to legalize their businesses before they are forced to close.
L’Hote said if bed-and-breakfast owners aren’t making an effort to become legal, then their operations should be stopped.
“If laws are broken, they need to be reinforced and people need to comply,” L’Hote said.
The KNA will write a second letter to the planning commission containing a list of concerns from board members.