Dawn came too soon, but there was no denying it had come, so I stumbled out of bed and Koko and I headed out into the half-light of night morphing into day. As we walked, I looked back to see the beginning of morning. Long, thin bands of gold appeared in the east, above the Giant, and great swirls and swaths of pink overlapped floating puffs of gray as they stretched across the sky to touch the interior mountains.
Before us, where the night was rapidly receding, I was struck by how even common things can take on the appearance of something else — a rooster on the road appearing as a cat with its tail raised, for instance — when distorted by darkness.
And sometimes the distortions are intentional, as in Councilman Tim Bynum’s recent denials and clams regarding his current difficulties with the county Planning Department, which I reported on Oct. 27.
When I read what Tim said in Andy Parx's blog, it didn’t ring true with what I had learned in my investigations — which, by the way, were not informed in any way by either newly elected Councilman Mel Rapozo or County Prosecutor Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho, as Tim and Andy claim. So yesterday I went down to the planning department and got the documentation that refutes it.
In August 2005, Tim filed a zoning permit application to build a “new nursery/family room, bedroom, bathroom, deck – addition” to his home at 5935 Kololia Place, Unit 1, which is a CPR ag lot in the Homesteads. The plans called for adding 699 square feet of living space and 213 square feet of deck. Copies of the plan show the addition could be accessed through sliding glass doors on the deck, as well as through the laundry room off the garage. Plans also showed a “wet bar” with a 12x12-inch sink centered in a 10-foot corner of the family room. No appliances are shown on the plans.
The application was approved, and on Aug. 24, 2005, Tim signed a use agreement in which he confirmed the subject premises would be utilized only for a single family residence and that no changes would be made to intensify its use without permission from the department. He also agreed “to allow periodic inspection of the premises and structure(s) by the Planning Department.”
Planning inspector Patrick Henriques said that agreement allows inspectors to go on the property without being charged with trespassing. On April 14, Patrick and inspector Shiela Miyake went to the property to investigate a complaint. Complaints are not part of the public record, so I was unable to review it. However, contrary to what Parx claimed, the planning department, just like the police department and state conservation enforcement office, routinely accepts anonymous complaints.
As a result of that visit, Henriques sent Bynum a certified letter on April 15, 2010. Copies also were sent to the other two owners in the CPR. It stated that the department had done a site inspection on the subject property on April 14 “and found the following violations of the zoning code:
a. Conversion of the Single Familu Dwelling into a Multi Family Dwelling without proper permits constitutes a violation.
Conversion of the Family Room into a Dwelling Unit without proper permits constitutes a violation.
b. Violation of the USE AGREEMENT executed between the owner (Unit 1) and the County of Kauai.
Pursuant to Chapter 8, Kauai County Code, you are directed to comply with the following requirements immediately:
a. Cease and desist use of above noted conversions as a dwelling unit and remove all illegal gas and/or electric service supplies along with cooking facilities.
b. Submit plans and applications along with filing fees for review by the Department for all illegal construction, additions and alterations. Such construction, additions and alterations without proper approval shall be demolished and removed.
Please be advised that the State Department of Health have specific wastewater management requirements that will have to be addressed with regard to the kitchen that exists within the illegal Dwelling Unit.
Failure to contact the Planning Department within 15 calendar days upon receipt of this letter to provide a written acceptable plan for compliance provides us with no other alternative but to refer this matter to the Prosecutor’s Office.
Certified mail receipts show Tim signed for the letter.
In talking with Patrick and reviewing the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, it became clear that a kitchen is not determined solely by the presence of a stove, as Parx claimed. Rather, the CZO defines a kitchen as any room used, intended or designed to be used for preparing food. Intent can be determined by such things as installed appliances or a space in a countertop. Under the CZO, a dwelling unit is described as a unit used for cooking, eating, sleeping. So seeing a rice cooker in a “family room” that also contained a sink and a refrigerator — which is what Tim is claiming a "trespasser" saw — could very well be considered a kitchen use under the CZO. And as Patrick noted, “His permit is for an addition, which is different than a dwelling unit.”
According to the “exclusive interview” that Tim gave Parx:
When Bynum received the violation notice he says he contacted planning officials by phone and they agreed that the violation notice based on the rice cooker complaint was bogus and said they would send him a letter requesting an inspection, which Bynum says he has yet to receive.
It seems the Planning Department had a very different understanding of those phone calls, based on a July 26 letter to Tim entitled “Request Permission to Entry.” It states:
Pursuant to our telephone conversations on June 4, 2010, June 10, 2010 and July 1, 2010, the Planning Department’s continuance request for an interior inspection of the subject premises and a timeline for compliance have been denied.
Therefore, the department is hereby formally requesting that an interior inspection of the subject premises in your presence be conducted to verify the uses as permitted. A timely response regarding this matter will be greatly appreciated.
It then advises Tim to contract Patrick to schedule an on-site inspection and gives a telephone number. Certified mail receipts show that Tim signed for that letter on 7/27/10.
Parx went on to write:
The planning department originally sent Bynum a notice of violation based upon the “trespassing and looking though the window and seeing a rice cooker” incident but, he says, he immediately called and was told that the notice was in error and that a rice cooker did not constitute a stove according to county code. At that point he was told that a notice requesting an inspection would be forthcoming which, he says, he will be happy to comply with when it arrives.
And as I’ve pointed out, that notice arrived three months ago.