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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
Source: The Garden Island

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