In the April 15 TGI, Kauai County Planning Director Mike Dahilig was quoted that the recent attack on homestays and B&Bs was because some TVRs have “put on sheep’s clothing.” I think his analogy is appropriate, but the actions make no sense. TVRs are the wolves. When an entire home is rented out to tourists, housing available for locals is taken away.
Second, there is no supervision. A group of people can rent out an entire house and party away, keeping the neighbors awake at night.
Third, those who still own their own home in TVR neighborhoods don’t have any normal neighbors left. They lose their sense of community.
When a local family rents out one bedroom to guests (a homestay), none of these problems occur. A B&B also does not have these problems, although a B&B involves multiple units where the impact is much greater. For these reasons, homestays and B&Bs have been exempt from the TVR (wolf) regulations.
So, to solve this problem of wolves in sheep clothing, the county decided to start by killing all the sheep. Now, they are talking about making new sheep regulations that are much more severe than the wolf regulations of a few years back.
They are working to place a new limit of 10 sheep per year. There is no grandfathering of the good sheep, like there was in the wolf regulations.
I ask the mayor and the county council to reject the proposed new sheep regulations and start over. The sheep regulations should be less severe than the wolf regulations, not more severe. The sheep who have paid taxes and have not had any complaints should be grandfathered. New homestays (one bedroom) should be allowed to operate as long as there are no complaints and taxes are paid.
When there are genuine complaints, the homestays should be required to apply for a permit. New B&Bs should apply for a permit, but not be limited to 10 per year.
If wolves are a problem, they should be regulated, or the wolf rules should be changed. It makes no sense to kill all the sheep.
Keep in mind that the sheep are local families who live here and vote, while the wolves are absentee owners who often don’t even live here. The sheep are just trying to make ends meet as they show some hospitality and make some new friends from around the world. The wolves are just enriching themselves while they destroy the fabric of local neighborhoods.
The proposed sheep regulations will hurt the sheep and further enrich the wolves, allowing them to charge even more, as other options for visitors are eliminated. I urge all of you to watch closely how the council members vote and remember who is watching out for the sheep, and who wants to enrich the wolves.
Mark Beeksma is a resdient of Koloa.