County checking on alleged zoning violations

HANALEI — Mason Chock, County Council Planning Committee chair, said he was asked to look into a situation where a restaurateur was being charged several thousand dollars per month for parking by its hotel and timeshare counterpart for visiting patrons.

“I thought the story was odd and forwarded the complaint to our Planning Department, where it was discovered potential violations were occurring, seemingly resulting in double occupancy without the proper entitlements and thus causing the parking bottleneck,” Chock said.

After initial field inspections in August, the Planning Department issued Hanalei Bay Resort a permit compliance violation for illegal dwellings, as well as a zoning compliance notice for parking deficits.

“If one project begins to operate outside its allowable use without the proper permitting, many other projects are likely to follow suit,” said Jimit Mehta, owner/operator of Happy Talk Lounge and Bali Hai Restaurant, located within the property.

The Planning Department is investigating the property for non-compliance to zoning rules, according to Kaaina Hull, deputy director of planning.

The notice of violation has been levied, and the county is in the beginning stages of discussion with all parties involved, according to County Attorney Mauna Kea Trask.

“My hope is that our county laws are followed, enforced, and fairness prevails for all involved, especially our community, who in this case may be suffering the repercussion of additional short-term rentals and cars on our roads without contributing to our infrastructure needs and maintenance,” Chock said.

Hanalei Bay Resort General Manager Greg Veal was unavailable for comment.

Hanalei Bay Resort was approved for 134 resort condominium units on Nov. 6, 1995, under provisions of the Interim Zoning Ordinance. Use as a hotel is allowed as long as it doesn’t impact the design of the apartments as dwelling units, which unlike hotel rooms contain kitchens.

The original dwellings at Hanalei Bay Resort consisted of 12, three-bedroom apartments; 62, two-bedroom apartments; and 60, one-bedroom apartments. However, the hotel property has advertised up to 280 dwelling units, 146 units more than approved, according to the violation letter.

County approval plans required the resort to provide a total of 249 total parking stalls. The county’s on-site count of available paved parking — 26 open to the public and 134 behind gated access — left a deficiency of 52 stalls.

“Each week, after the gates went down and valet was basically forced upon the patrons of Happy Talk, we received a bill,” Mehta said. “They just continued to bill us and add late fees. The totals amounted to between $14,000 to $15,000.”

Employees and patrons who decided to self-park outside of the resort were often ticketed $50 by the Princeville Hanalei Community Association or given warning notices from Princeville Patrol.

“Those sort of notices are likely to chase away any returning guests who wish to come back to our restaurant,” said Mehta, who said he has been unable to open the renovated Bali Hai Restaurant due to the parking shortage.

  1. Jason November 8, 2017 7:47 am Reply

    This is a disgrace. I have been visiting Kauai for years and so looked forward to the opening of this beautiful restaurant. I have personally stayed in Hanalei Bay Resort for that reason alone. On Trip Advisor Forums there is a moderator who goes by the name of Jebbet. From what I gather reading her posts, she is an owner of illegal units in HBR and on a daily basis she recommends the resort to travelers. She speaks openly about the lock out units that used to be two bedroom but are now one, thus causing the parking problem at HBR. The county need look no further than Jebbet’s Trip Advisor posts to substantiate these claims and take measures so that all can enjoy Happy Talk.

  2. Dave O November 8, 2017 6:58 pm Reply

    Once again the greed of non resident owners added to the arogance of the Association Board of Directors has no bounds…..or morals.

    Did I read it correctly that the business can’t even open yet because parking that was once available for a restaurant on the site no longer exists even before adding twice the number of units?

    And what about all the good jobs that will go along with opening a new business? They are being held hostage by the Owners and Association Board.

    Thank you for taking prompt action on this atrocity!

    1. Jason November 13, 2017 7:15 am Reply

      From what I understand the restaurant is privately owned. The association wants the restaurant owner to sell it to the resort at a fire sale price and has gone out of their way attempting to hurt the business. Friends of mine, who are employees of HBR were told to park their cars in the limited parking spaces designated for the Happy Talk to make it even harder for locals to patronize the restaurant. You can rest assure if the hotel succeeds in stealing the Happy Talk, there will suddenly be no parking problem. What a disgusting group of people on the HBR home owners association. You should be ashamed…This is nothing more than EXTORTION!!!

  3. Larry Recht November 9, 2017 5:23 am Reply

    Not good news

  4. marissa Recht November 9, 2017 5:24 am Reply

    the saga continues….

  5. Stephanie D November 9, 2017 9:50 am Reply

    So how many new jobs are being held hostage by the Association Board because the restaurant can’t open?

    Are those people accountabe to anyone? How arrogant and greedy can you get?

  6. Sunrise_blue November 9, 2017 3:52 pm Reply

    Free parking. The sole proprietor picks up the added cost to park there. Supplier is the owner. The County should pay for the parking lots spaces. Do your job county officials.

  7. Sunrise_blue November 9, 2017 4:01 pm Reply

    What does pm. Carvalho jr do anyway for Kaua’i? Besides a flawed Lt. Governor run. Not much. County’s job to pay for smarter people like the business owner. Supply side economic policy. Think!

  8. Sunrise_blue November 9, 2017 4:32 pm Reply

    What is the pay for your mayor? serious. This is an easy job and solution. I mean think. The guy makes what George Springer makes in a year. Plus he’s taller. Houston Astros, mlb.

  9. Sunrise_blue November 9, 2017 4:43 pm Reply

    In all of his career, he never requested any funds out from the state budget. Your mayor.


  10. Sunrise_blue November 9, 2017 4:49 pm Reply

    They look stupid. Your mayor in government. (open mouth)

  11. MarilynHawaii November 11, 2017 5:28 pm Reply

    I have been inside Happy Talk one time in past 2 years because I can never park. I quit trying and donʻt ever recommend it. Why drive all the way there and not be able to park?

  12. Trisha H November 14, 2017 12:06 pm Reply

    The arrogance and greed from the board and non residents is infuriating. Such a terrible excuse for withholding jobs and a wonderful restaurant experience to the people of Kauai. This is unfounded and needs to be corrected and resolved immediately.

  13. Bob November 29, 2017 6:18 am Reply

    The whole HBR existence has been shady at best since the day it was designed. Pure unadulterated greed with no reguard for locals or tourist alike.

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