Letters for Friday, February 9, 2018

Illegal airbnbs bad for everyone

Have you notice a marked increase in rental cars in your formerly quiet little neighborhood? If so, chances are someone on your block has turned their home into an illegal airbnb.

We live on a short, dead-end road. Just before the holidays, we noticed a stream of tourists going up the road in the evening and leaving in the morning. With a little investigation, we found out our neighbor had turned his three-bedroom house into a five-room airbnb, renting each room for as little as $69 a night.

Loud noise, parking problems, strangers knocking on doors looking for the “airbnb” are just some of our daily occurrences that plague us, now that our greedy neighbor is illegally cashing in on this phenomenon. We filed a complaint with the county, but he simply ignores the citations and violation notices.

This trend is selfish, bad for us, and bad for the whole island. Instead of affordable long-term rentals that locals can afford, these homes are now “off the market” for long-term renters. The county is, of course, not collecting the visitor taxes that legal vacation rentals have to pay, putting more of a burden on all of the taxpayers on Kauai. Formerly quiet family neighborhoods churn with vacationers who party, play loud music, roam around, and do what people do who are here for short vacations.

The county must put a stop to this illegal activity. The enforcement need to be more aggressive and the penalties need to be more severe. The county needs to direct more resources to clamp down on these lawbreakers. Maybe the hotel association should consider suing these illegal bnbs as well as the parent company, Airbnb, for unfair business practices for advertising illegal vacation rentals, and essentially, taking away their business by illegal means. Everyone should be forced to play by the rules. Greedy people who do this shouldn’t be allowed to ruin things for the rest of us who do follow the law.

Mike Vallee, Kalaheo

Mural added to enjoyment on path

As snowbirds to Kapaa for 12 years, my husband and I were very disappointed to see the coverup of the mural depicting the town of Kapaa’s identity and the island’s character on the wall across from the Neighborhood Center, along the Coastal Path.

We were quite delighted by encountering this work of art on our walk each day. It added a bit of whimsy to the beauty of the ocean, the mountains, and the sunrise each morning. We felt it was a lovely depiction of the character of the island. Its coverup looks so bleak and boring. In our eyes, art and nature can coexist and complement each other.

We are sorry that the community board and the landlord did not share our appreciation for the work of art. We would like to thank the artists who created the mural and wish them much success with their future artistic works. Thank you for the short time that your work added to the enjoyment of our morning walk on the Coastal Path.

Oh, and we did manage to take a picture of it before it was obliterated. So it will live on in some way and be shared with family and friends back home in Canada.

Beth Long, Snowbird in Kapaa

  1. ruthann jones February 9, 2018 6:49 am Reply

    yes, beauty can co-exist in art and nature. Thank you, Beth

  2. gordon oswald February 9, 2018 8:21 am Reply

    I would invite Ms. Long to stop coming to Kauai as a “snowbird” and start frequenting any major city in all of California as her new designated winter invasion choice. There you can enjoy all the graffiti you would like with much less cost!

  3. Knowitall February 9, 2018 9:00 am Reply

    The county should sue Airbnb to request financial disclosures regarding the rentals on Kauai. Then sue for the appropriate fees, fine illegal businesses and move to seize property. The units seized can be resold by the county to the middle class

  4. RG DeSoto February 9, 2018 10:00 am Reply

    What a shame uh, Mr Vallee?…people using their private property as they wish. For all your whining you’ve shown that no harm has befallen you or your rights to use your property. And what a pity, a room renting for “as little as $69 a night”.
    So in your view competition is an “unfair” business practice? The pathetic diatribe contained in your last paragraph is right out of the statist-progressive playbook. I think that if you do a little digging you will find that the anti-TVR movement is largely a result of the hotel industry lobby. It is typical of these people that they will stop at nothing to quash competition…especially from those upstart homeowners seeking a little more income to survive or put their kids through college.
    RG DeSoto

    1. Mike Vallee February 10, 2018 7:03 am Reply

      RG DeSoto; So everyone who has private property can use it “as they wish” regardless or whether the use is illegal or not? OK, then I’ll open up an illegal crack house and bordello in my home, and maybe a nightclub as well. Screw the law and the neighbors, right? Sorry, I don’t buy your argument. If the airbnb is legal, that’s fine. The owner has taken the time to do things the right way. It’s the illegal ones that I’m complaining about.

  5. Shannon February 9, 2018 10:53 am Reply

    The whole Airbnb industry hurts almost everyone, except the people that pocket the money. From the hotels not getting the income, and those hotels and the guests that pay taxes that support schools etc, cutting back on jobs at hotels, to not wanting an Airbnb next door. And I don’t want some unknown stranger next door who might be a criminal in my neighborhood that I don’t have a clue about. Hotels are in business districts, and the taxes they pay help your local city government, police, firemen, teachers. The Airbnb’s don’t help with any of that, There’s more reasons than this as to why Airbnb’s are a problem.

  6. Mike Seaver February 9, 2018 11:24 am Reply

    Agreed. Living next to an Airbnb is the absolute worrrrrrrrrssssst!!!!!

    You hit every nail on the head

    The comings and goings. The loud and disrespectfulnees. The alcohol and parties at night when you have to e at work in the morning, the sex that just pops up when you’re having dinner. What else do you want????? Tourists taking over the neighborhoods…kick em all out!!!!!

    Airbnbs do nothing but destroy traditional family neighborhoods…..

    Your neighbors selling out your neighborhood for a $1…..sad.

  7. numilalocal February 9, 2018 11:37 am Reply

    While well-intentioned, the mural on the path in Kapaa was, admittably, an advertisement for the skateboarding shop nearby. As such, it violated the ban on billboards. Why not just let people enjoy the scenery instead of inundating the eye with “art”?

  8. commonsense February 9, 2018 12:23 pm Reply

    Mike Vallee.
    I couldn’t agree more. These operations need to be shut down and the laws enforced to insure that neighborhoods are for local residents. The greed and selfishness of these operators is changing the character of the island.

    1. RG DeSoto February 9, 2018 3:30 pm Reply

      Well, common, why don’t you open your house and share it with a long term renter? So is a laborer greedy by trying to maximize his or her income? Or is that you just can’t tolerate private property rights?
      The TVR people are acting rationally…you and the others above are not. You are the selfish ones who would deny people the full and free use of their property.
      The laws that obstruct someone from using their property in any manner they choose as long as it doesn;t harm others are themselves illegitimate and should be ignored as much as possible. These TVR laws are nothing except government enforced discrimination against one class of renter and one class of property owner (IE short term renters and property owners desiring to rent short term).
      Frankly, I would much rather endure the occasional noisy short term vacationers than a permanently loud and obnoxious neighbor.
      All of you shouldn’t be so quick to trash property rights and you should recognize oppressive “laws” when you see them.
      RG DeSoto

  9. Steve Martin February 9, 2018 11:06 pm Reply

    Mr.vallee….. You seem to think that if there was no vacation rentals in your neighborhood then rentals would be available to locals. I have news for you houses are expensive here. Mortgage payments at all time high. Only a fool would take a loss to make sure locals will have a place they can afford. Chances are your neighbor is trying to creatively afford to own his home. If people can’t find affordable housing then move to somewhere they can. We had a vacation rental for 18 years. Never a problem. Why are tourists any different than you. We learned many tourists don’t like resorts and vacation hotels. They are noisy and costs a fortune to stay at. talk about greed! If they are bothering you call the police otherwise remember they have as much rights to stay where they want as you do. If the county hadn’t created all the red tape and bs for home owners none of them would be illegal. The county council killed their tax income and ultimately burned the hands that feed them.

  10. Sandy February 10, 2018 9:26 am Reply

    Mr. DeSoto: Use your property any way you like? Um….. how about if someone opens a motocross track on their property next to YOU with bikes blasting by all day long? How would you like that? They would be using it just as they wish!

    Illegal Airbnbs are illegal for a reason! They don’t comply with the rules set up. They aren’t paying taxes and are lining their pockets instead of paying the county what is due. I hate when people don’t play by the rules and make it bad for the rest of us, which in turn causes the government to slap down more rules! I hope the powers that be can stop these people!

  11. Sandy February 12, 2018 8:51 am Reply

    I agree with you , Mr. Vallee. We should be able to live in peace on our properties, without loud parties next door. People who are illegally abusing the system, and using their properties any way they want, regardless of the laws, just end up making the county slap down more sanctions on us. Use some commonsense, people! If you live in a neighborhood with just homes, don’t turn it into a loud business. How would you like it if a cement business, or a nightclub moved in next door to you because they wanted to make some extra money? Let’s crack down on these illegal ventures!

  12. David Presley February 12, 2018 2:37 pm Reply

    Well I’m at a loss, there is a LEGAL vacation rental next door to me. Has been for decades. Never had a single problem with any of the guests at it. The other houses in the neighborhood have had fire bombings because a local kid thought the guy next door was sleeping with his girl, meth labs, 4 guys living in a one bedroom shack and all that come with that, meth labs, people renting a spot to pitch a tent and crap in front of my kids, did I mention the meth lab, loud hunting dogs, domestic fights, multiple police calls, a meth lab, guys with EDD driving big trucks at 50 miles an hour, and on and on and on. Give me a honeymoon couple enjoying life any-day of the week.

  13. Art Lover February 15, 2018 6:20 pm Reply

    I thought the mural was very cool and added a nice colorful and appropriate touch to that area. It was definitely Art not graffiti or advertising. Those who think otherwise are welcome to their opinion of course but it is a very ignorant and small minded one.

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