‘Guest house’ bill becomes law

LIHUE —The “guest house” bill was signed into law on Thursday. That means that a guest house, which is a separate unit away from the primary dwelling that is no more than 500 square feet and may not be used as a transient vacation rental or homestay operation, may now contain a kitchen.

“This piece of legislation is one piece of the puzzle to help address the severe backlog of inventory of affordable housing,” said Mayor Derek S.K. Kawakami. “I would like to thank the Kauai County Council and the Planning Department for their diligent work in making this happen.”

Bill No. 2754, introduced by Councilmembers Mason Chock and Arthur Brun, grants ohana, or a lessee living under agreed-upon terms, to be legally privy to more privacy and no longer have to share kitchen facilities at the primary dwelling.

By allowing homeowners and landlords to have kitchens in their guest houses, some of the island’s long-term housing solutions will be met.

“It’s one small thing that we can do to increase inventory and get people into houses,” Chock said.

He added that it doesn’t solve the entire problem, but it’s one of many small steps in the right direction.

“We have ensured, I believe, with the exclusion of any TVR usage indicated in the bill, that we are directing exactly what we want the use for, and that use is for our local residents to live in, and either own or rent out, for long-term periods.”

The Planning Department has approved 485 guest houses since 1984.


Coco Zickos, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or czickos@thegardenisland.com.

  1. MisterM August 25, 2019 11:02 pm Reply

    A good step. But 500sf isn’t really sufficient for long-term housing. Should bump it up to 800+sf and allow garages. Larger properties could easily handle larger guest units.

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