Letter for Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Seek compromise on vacation rentals

I am extremely disappointed in our new mayor’s position on vacation rentals. Taking back our neighborhoods seems to me a bit harsh, even hypocritical when the island is marketed as full of aloha. It’s obvious that there are many people who wish a nonhotel experience and don’t wish to be forced into tourist “ghettos” called VDA zones.

I’ve seen no data to support the premise that limiting TVRs will in any way create more affordable rentals for locals. This reminds me of the fears that all restaurants in Hanalei would go out of business if NaPali boats were limited. Start with the wrong premise and one often reaches the wrong conclusion.

I’ve researched how other places are trying to control the disruption in the status quo created by the Internet. Kauai has created some of the most stringent rules anywhere on Earth, hired extra people to monitor ads on the net and threatened $10,000 a day fines for noncompliance.

The counties reliance on more fines and more employees to exercise its police power to enforce outmoded zoning laws has resulted in nothing so far but wasted money and selective enforcement. Meanwhile, average income folks who wish help paying property taxes and maintenance are disallowed from renting a room or the entire house and visitors are disallowed from legally staying where they want.

The compromise solution is simple: Change the VDA zones which were created long before the internet to include ALL of the island. This would allow homeowners to seek the highest and best use of property, visitors to get to know locals and would be REAL aloha rather than a marketing slogan.

I urge the council to consider such a change. The noise and other “problems” created by partying tourists can easily be handled with rules already on the books.

Michael Wells, Moloa’a

22 Comments
  1. Ginger Doll June 12, 2019 1:30 am Reply

    What is more important than protecting the integrity of our neighborhoods? Most of our Island’s residents will never rent their homes to vacationers. Island residents elect our Mayor.
    Our Mayor is doing his job.


  2. No Thanks June 12, 2019 4:14 am Reply

    It’s obnoxious having to live next door to an Airbnb. As a resident, what about my desire to not have a resort experience? That’s why there are zoning laws. If you can’t pay your property tax without breaking laws and being a bad neighbor, then you bought something you can’t afford, why should the neighborhood suffer because of your financial irresponsibility?


  3. Jake June 12, 2019 4:52 am Reply

    There are a number of issues on this topic. The obvious one is $$$$$.

    The non-permitted TVRs, either in the VDA zones or not, are not paying their respective Kauai County TRIPLE the Homestead Tax Rate, AND General Excise Taxes are not being collected for the State. The County and State want to extort as much money as possible, and are willing to invest in “Enforcement Officers” to get it done. It’s a no-brainer.

    The problem is that rooms, entire homes, and Ohanas, are bringing in money, and the County and State are not getting their respective cut. Never mind reporting the extra income to the Federal Government during the annual tax return. There are homeowners on this island that have had tenants in excess of 20 years, and not paid a dime in GET or changed their tax rate to “Residential” or “Vacation”.

    I agree the VDAs should be expanded, but not the entire island.

    Finally, your last sentence, I always find amusing when discussing this issue. The irony is that the Visitors/Tourists spend thousands and thousands of dollars to visit the islands. They don’t have time to “create problems” and “party all night”….they can do that back at home. Most of my problems….partying all night, loud music, creating problems……..have been by local residents.


  4. james June 12, 2019 7:04 am Reply

    So you are proposing a free-for-all where anyone who owns a home on the island can convert it into an Air-bnb? Did I read this correctly? So every absentee owner can flood neighborhoods with noisy, partying vacationers, constant traffic and people who could care less about the neighbors and neighborhood just to line their pockets with more money instead of renting long-term to a local family? No thanks! I like the peace and quiet of Kauai and don’t want to see it become another Honolulu. Can you imagine the increase in traffic, people and strain on the already fragile infrastructure? We need to crack down on illegal short term rentals, not increase them. Who would keep their property available for a long-term rental when you could make much more money with vacation rentals? Horrible idea by a greedy person.


  5. Steve Martin June 12, 2019 7:58 am Reply

    Mr. mayor…. When are you going to wake up and realize all you are doing with is continually biting the hands that feed you!.


  6. Steve Martin June 12, 2019 8:17 am Reply

    Because of all the red tape the county has employed in order to have a vacation rental it no longer pencils out. With the cost of rent these days by the time you pay all the bs the county requires you can make the same amount yearly with a full time rental. With the on going demand for housing rent for locals has already caught up to vacation rental prices. Now you can for go all the fees, permits , annual registration fines, and $10,000 threats from the county by renting full time. It’s time to shut down all business with the county and finally rid yourselves of the hassles. I vacationed my extra house for 18 years until the county came up with the new rules, permits and red tape that ate up any profits as a vacation rental. Now locals pay more than I use to charge. No need for any more bs with the county. Oh my property tax went down as well because I’m no longer commercial zoned. Now work smarter not fight with the county forces of wasting our taxes trying to push their agendas


  7. Joe Maka June 12, 2019 8:37 am Reply

    Well put. I agree. Our County is so incompetent that they focus on the TVR instead of fixing real problems. And all at our expense.


  8. Sue June 12, 2019 9:32 am Reply

    Airbnb’s ruin regular neighborhoods with extra traffic, loud parties, and trash. How many times do we have to write this and tell people this? There are many who follow the rules and pay their taxes with their vacation rentals, but there are others who take advantage of the system and pack in as many people as they can into their homes to make as much money as they can. They don’t care about the neighbors and the affect it is having on them. They don’t care they aren’t paying their taxes that go towards taking care of the roads, etc… that all the influx of people are using. They are trying to make an easy buck without working too hard.

    This needs to stop!!!


  9. randy kansas June 12, 2019 9:41 am Reply

    as usual politicians are. wrong;

    vacation rentals do not decline a neighborhood;

    if that were true, then Poipu would be in shambles; from our experience, travelers take much better care of the homes than most of the locals around here; junk cars in the yard and pit bulls tied up to the porch;

    when a property sells, it’s worth more, if it has a rental history and website; so declining values is another false argument;

    it’s about time that someone files a suit in Federal County; more of that should be done against the County; ie: charging people different tax rates based on where they live or how much time they spend in their home or property;

    thanks;

    RK


    1. james June 13, 2019 7:47 am Reply

      “Junk cars in the yard and pit bulls tied up to the porch…” Really? We chose not to live in Poipu, or other TVR zones, due to the noise, traffic, partying and congestion. And, no, our neighborhood is not messy as you imply that all non-TVR neighborhoods would be, in an obviously racist view. Maybe Kauai is not for you?


  10. Joe Public June 12, 2019 9:49 am Reply

    I feel the administration is finally on the right track in getting control of this before it gets worse like the other islands.


  11. gordon oswald June 12, 2019 9:49 am Reply

    Good letter Michael! Government overreach is what Government does well. It’s up to the taxpayer and voter to decide what Government does best, and taking away basic rights of home/land ownership isn’t one of them. If people are upset with TVR next door they have freedom of options. Sue if there is a noise or other problem, use their own home for any purpose they want, or sell the home and move. This is America, and turning it into something else by taking away a homeowners freedom of choice with their property is not a wise choice.


    1. james June 13, 2019 7:52 am Reply

      OK, I want to open either a nightclub or a motocross track on my property right next to your home, Gordon. Maybe a dog breeding business or a fertilizer plant. You OK with that? That’s how I want to use my property and the hell with you and my other neighbors. Right?


    2. Sue June 13, 2019 7:58 am Reply

      Gordon: What would you do if you had loud parties with people walking up and down your previously quiet street all night? Cars driving in at 2am with people who can’t find the appropriate rental so they start knocking on random doors….. again at 2am!!! Would you just sit back and take it? Would you just decide you could pack all your belongings and move? Not hardly! These people are (were, they got caught!!!) doing something illegal and didn’t care. They lied to all of the neighbors, they lied to the authorities. Yes, it is their property, but it’s not like everyone is living in the middle of nowhere. There are other people around. We share the roads. We need to be thoughtful about those around us and not cause problems for our neighbors.


  12. PATRICK H FLORES June 12, 2019 12:20 pm Reply

    Sure a lot of controversy over private property uses. I personally think that vacation rentals appear to be well taken care of as these are somebody’s business asset and if not well maintained it loses rental value. You can point fingers at tourists or locals, but honestly addressing the social issues presented is the only way to resolve these matters.


  13. I saw a Vampire once June 12, 2019 2:00 pm Reply

    I don’t see any problems with vacation rentals. But when they’ve got zoning laws to protect against the high volume money investments of homes , i disagree. If a person has the money to pay, free enterprise should prevail. The ones with money will cash in and score big time cash. It should be this way. Capitalism.


  14. WestKauai June 12, 2019 4:27 pm Reply

    When the County council first addressed TVR’s, it was under pressure from the hotel industry. This was reported in The Garden Island newspaper around 2006. Once the permitting process was created by ordinance, people were able to obtain their permits and continue to do business. The County specifically omitted renewal notification from the permitting process, in hopes that people would forget to renew and thus lose their permits. I believe this to be a form of entrapment. Meanwhile, the hotels continue to charge outrageous rates for their rooms, taking the profits out of the state to their executives and shareholders, while the local resident is deprived of the opportunity to make a profit…


  15. Charlie Chimknee June 12, 2019 10:25 pm Reply

    Calm Down Already, they’re only here a few days, plus its evident from the incoherent comments that too many commenters skipped high school English classes.

    They always say if you want the job done right don’t have a government do it…

    So take the issue into your own hands.

    If you are having trouble with a happy couple or happy family vacationing in paradise next door and have the nerve to choose your neighborhood to hunker down in and go to the beach all day, enjoy dinner out, and smile and say hello to you and hope you “recognize” them without stink eye bouncing back at them, or worse their kids try to talk to your kids with language like they are headed for college in the next 6 years…well you just ain’t doing your neighborhood protection program job…you are failing to have enough rusty dented head on collisioned junk cars on your property and parked on both sides of the street out in front too…Better if they have faded county abandoned car old warning signs on them…tires missing, be sure there are plenty old transmission and motor parts laying around, and smashed windshields, a few goats tied to the car door handles in the street to mow the grass the county cannot get to without overtime and retirement stacking, be sure you have no less than 11 non running cars and trucks, rusty, doors hanging, hood up held by sticks…broke windows, cool graffiti on your house and stained sheets over your windows for curtains, vicious hungry barking pit bulls on duty at the fence line 24/7 teeth bared growling when the happy visitors come and go, heavy metal played over big box speakers aimed at the happy visitors vacation rental windows at happy hours every 20 minutes for 20 minutes all night, be sure you use the arc welder lighting up the night with the tropical blue hue and sparking sounds from the welder on rebar, be sure when the Trades are good that you burn enough old food garbage in the BBQ at the fenceline…have plenty durian fruit cracked open rotting in the sun also carrying the scent to the happy vacationers…if you do this guarans ball barrens those happy travelers looking for cultural exchange, and new friends for life, won’t be back; If you really want to dress up your property get a couple of starving macaws shreik cawing at night, and hang your holy underwear on the clothesline fenceline, and be sure your maggot ridden garbage cans are tipped over at streetside with rats as tenants, and plenty roaches for your kids 2 step stomping games…and don’t forget the pile of old tires…and your kids broke plastic toys scattered around as night defenders against the other neighborly meth prowlers to trip over…and clean your rifles popping off a few rounds…and spray Roundup on windy days…and wear an appropriate sleeveless wife beater t-shirt with plenty oil stains..be sure you always got a “funny” cigarette hanging off your face and smoke electric cigarettes too with plenty dried fish aroma in the smoke…and eventually the absentee landlord is gonna succumb to your wishes and rent long term to people with your same life style and voila, you got your neighborhood back, your property taxes ain’t going up, school bus gonna stop In front so wifey don’t miss her morning program. State and county ain’t gonna get that 15% extra tax and the roads are gonna make your doors fall off your pickup…all because some happy whoever was trying to get over on ya by staying in and trying your neighborhood the ALOHA way…and MAHALO…

    CHARLIE


    1. awesome June 13, 2019 3:34 pm Reply

      best charlie comment ever !


  16. noisey neighbor June 13, 2019 11:01 am Reply

    if noise trash and disrespect is what everyone’s concerned about… maybe if there were real nighttime noise ordinances that resulted in a fine rather than just a talk from kpd, no one would disrespect the neighborhood, tourists AND RESIDENTS!


    1. Sue June 14, 2019 9:37 am Reply

      NN: I like it!


  17. ruthann jones June 14, 2019 6:37 am Reply

    Gotta love you, Charlie!!


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