Monday, August 12, 2013

Fallen Fruit Chronicles 1

After the Abuse Chronicles exposed the tangled, rotten roots of Kauai's “legal” vacation rentals, a complaint was repeatedly lodged in comments that went something like this: 

Why aren't you exposing the “real” culprits, the illegal TVRs that fly under the radar, the folks who didn't even bother to apply for one of the county's now discredited permits?

Weary, I urged a persistent commenter to begin his/her own documentation. The response was a snarl: “So you want everyone else to do the work that you should be doing yourself.”

Really. What was I thinking?

Though I understand the county has to prove an illegal use through a little sting operation, it's easy enough to red flag some renegades. All ya gotta do is surf Heck, TVR inspector Bambi Emayo could even do it on his smart phone while he's checking out the waves.

Right off the bat I found this gem, which I'm pretty sure not even Imai Aiu would have approved with one of his undated, unsigned form letters that gave people a lifetime TVR, no questions asked.
Billed as a Japanese teahouse, it has no walls — and yikes, no bathroom, either. A *note* warns on the website:

Guest will not have any access to home or any other homes on property. THIS MEANS NO RESTROOM ON PROPERTY BESIDES USING THE YARD!!! Guest [sic] are encouraged to use ocean or YMCA camp restrooms located down street.

Fortunately, they won't have to hold it long, as they're assured “Guest will also have total beach access within 100 yars [sic] of hale” — which conveniently takes them right to the swath of sand privatized by the exclusive “Banana Beach House" TVR (Abuse Chronicles #12). 

Though the ad says the platform accommodates three — at $100/per — its description hints that many more could crash there, which is not far-fetched, considering the place caters to Kalalau Trail hikers:

Within the "teahouse" there is a Californian king size bed, two swinging hammocks, single sleeper couch and outdoor style table/chairs. Guest have access to "teahouse" area, lawn.

The ad promises that a 5 a.m. hot breakfast and trailhead drop off is included. Rides to the airport are offered for an additional fee. Hmmm. I wonder if they have a taxicab driver's certificate, issued by the county via lottery. But then again, why bother?

The sad demise of Wainiha-Haena as a residential community is reflected in this verbiage from the ad:

Our Neighborhood is made up of most vaction [sic] style rental homes and scattered within that is small Hawaiin [sic] style bungalow homes as the one we live in.

So who da guy? The ad identifies “James,” and includes this profile:

School: Cadillac High School, go fuck yourself university Work: Kayak Kauai About: Chill family full of Aloha spirit.

Yes, take heart, the aloha spirit does live on, as reflected in the "house rules," if not a willingness to share toilets:

Live Aloha. This means live true agape or basically love. We feel we are though we are giving up our space in order to have travelers of all types come, be blessed and move on towards their hiking adventure. Please be respectful of us and our family. This is our home and it is very apart of us and who we are as a family. We invite you and others to be apart of our kinship, have a sat, talk story and be blessed. Aloha.

Aw. You know it's true aloha when there's no extra charge for talk story. Still, that respect bit kinda rings hollow. 

It's gotta be a parody, I tell a friend. No way that funky setup can be for real, even on Kauai.

Surfing, surfing — wow, 394 listings. That's kinda plenty.

Hey, I know that beach. It featured prominently in the Abuse Chronicles. It used to be so fabulous — before the vacation rentals took it over.

Odd, it's being used to advertise a “beachfront studio in Haena.” Wait, that's Leila's place. You know, Leila, the woman who lives next door to Kaulana Haena — Abuse Chronicles #18 — and manages it, but is always late with the renewals. Hope she got it in on time this year, or #18 is gonna be tagged as “low-hanging fruit” under the county's radical new enforcement plan.

Gee, it looks like she's enclosed her own downstairs and turned it into a little rental studio, right there in the flood zone. Wonder where she came up with that idea? 

Well, I know for sure that place doesn't have a TVR permit.

But at least it has a bathroom. And I hear Leila works very hard to keep it nice and clean.
One guest review detailed the accommodations, which luckily for Leila do not include a rice cooker, or the county would really clamp down hard:

Leila is a very thoughtful host, she sent us detailed driving directions and prepared the room with lovely ocean theme decor, beach and bath towels, coffee maker/small fridge, and many other charming details.

A few other things I really like about the place -- 
- Privacy - there is plenty of privacy, the room is downstair (host's family living upstairs ), with it's own bathroom/outdoor shower. 
- Hammock - as shown in leila's pictures. I like chilling there

Oh, yes, the hammock. The one that's permanently strung on the public beach. Does that mean we can lie in it, too? 

Based on the reviews, the other guests seem happy, if deluded:

Leila's guest house is just lovely and she is an excellent host. The property is truly magnificent, private oceanfront, magical part of the island just down from tunnels beach. If u want to stay away from tourists and pricey resorts, this is a welcome oceanfront hideaway.

Except, of course, the tourists actually are right there, in the other vacation rentals — “legal” and otherwise — that line that entire stretch of coastline, which was never supposed to be a resort. The TVRs have literally consumed the public beach with their vegetation and lawn furniture:

We put our bags down, grabbed the bottle of wine we bought on the way to the place and enjoyed the moonlit beach on the hammock just steps from the waves.

Gushed Leila in reply:

I love where I live and I am so stoked to be able to share it with fabulous people like you!!!! Please come back soon!!!!!

But if you can't make it right away, no worries. It took the county five years and the threat of a special Council investigation to organize a TVR enforcement action that plucks the “low-hanging fruit” of late renewals.

It could be decades before it stumbles upon the fruit that has already fallen in its long-neglected and overgrown orchard.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for all the research you do, Joan.
From the bottom of my heart.

Anonymous said...

Craigslist has 766 postings and has 2386 listings for Kauai. It's not hard to see how many are violating the TVR law, avoiding paying taxes, overwhelming the septic tanks, causing traffic, becoming targets for theft, etc. etc.

This has got to stop.

Anonymous said...

Imai, Ian, Mike, Bernard, and how many other planning workers took bribes. It's out there. Our county to the highest levels is corrupt. I, for one, will not vote for Bernard. I will vote for anyone willing to take a stand (not grandstand) and do the right thing. How's the landfill btw? How's the drug treatment facility? Hanalei shower run-off? How many sleeping workers (on the clock) at the Hanapepe transfer station? How many potholes on county roads? No need, let's devote our time to getting more bribes.

Anonymous said...

Takes them 2-3 years to pave a two to three mile stretch of road. It took railroad workers a day to build a 2 mile stretch of railroad.

JOB security... JOB security.

Anonymous said...

Who wants to be mayor?

It is time to get the King and Queen off the throne!

Anonymous said...

That beach is sacred, Naue, it makes me sad, mad and more than sad again to see it used for someones personal advertising for an illegal tourist rental. I hope it doesn't take the county 5 years to enforce.What have the planning employees and inspectors been doing if they haven't enforced the illegal ones either?

Anonymous said...

That area is under the jurisdiction of the State DLNR and the County will not enforce any rentals out there by Tunnels-

Joan Conrow said...

These properties are east of Makua (Tunnels) and are under county jurisdiction.

Andy Parx said...

Glad to see you doing your "job"- now get back to work you over paid loafer...

Laura Christine said...

lol Andy!

Anonymous said...

VRBO 117500ha is a "mini hotel" on Aku Road-sleeps 1 to 20 people and
was turned down for a TVR-can you get any more obvious then this? why isn't this one being fined by the County?

Anonymous said...

I'm just not sure. TVR inspector-gate is most troubling. But a person with such nice land allowing campers to sleep on a simple platform with a roof just does not seem that bad. The same tidal wave that would take them out would also take out the lawfully permitted beach campers or sunbathers at other beaches. Sleeping by a beach at sea level almost anywhere carries that risk and until we are going to require tourists to sign waivers before going to the beach, the safety angle is dubious. Maybe some people feel safer from meth users renting a $100 spot on this beach instead of a $25 permit to camp Anini. Or do only those 1 percenters who can afford north shore hotel rooms get anything better than crime ridden beaches in tents? If this platform is unpermitted, fine, go get em for that if its what people demand.. And if neighbors are complaining about noise then arrest the noisemakers. But when letting people crash in your yard becomes a zoning crime we may have gone too far. It also makes a difference if owners are on-site to monitor things. Just this one does not seem like such an abuse chronicle.

Anonymous said...

C council and P commissioners have both told us that we are supposed to be on the lookout for suspicious TVR activities in our neighborhoods ... then report our complaints.

OMG! When we show up and speak out at meetings...or Joan writes the Abuse Chronicles, we're doing exactly what they have told us to do!
I have always hoped that someday they will get it thru their thick skulls that we're not just making a big deal outta nothing...

Anonymous said...

A platform no big deal, renting it out for money and advertising it as a rental that encourages their paying guests to use the ocean to crap and piss in, or to trespass to a neighbors not public toilet is over the friggin top.

Anonymous said...


lol, was bound to happen.

Anonymous said...

A throw back to Taylor Camp?

30-40 years ago....
Many of us came here with ideas of living on the beach, drinking from coconuts, hunting and gathering.......just like the good ole smoke daze.....only in our dreams!

Then came the super rich who bought up all the beaches....and spoiled it all for us.

Dr Shibai

Anonymous said...

Time for everyone of you ex Taylor camp denizens to pack up your "borrowed" shopping carts and move to one of the many uninhibited islands in the Phillipines or Indonesia, continue living on the beach, drinking from coconuts, hunting and gathering, multiplying like wild rabbits, and leave Kauai to those of us who earned the right to live here through hard work and sacrifice.

Anonymous said...

many of those Taylor Camp dwellers are now citizens of Kauai and working in many jobs around the island as productive members of the community-

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah. Those fallen fruits are now sitting on the County Council, in the planning department, and elsewhere still protesting against those who make an honest living. One is even publishing a ridiculous blog to vent her frustration with normal society.

Anonymous said...

The Planning Department, as with most government agencies is staffed with dedicated employees stuck in a morass of rules and regulations that are difficult to understand and open in many cases to "interpretation". A quick simple fix is to write Flood Insurers that illegal dwellings are in place and put the Insurer on notice.
A tragic consequence of illegal dwellings can be seen at the Ko Loko breach.Illegal dwellings, a hundred year rain and a modified dam.
The glamorization of Taylor camp is a joke. Taylor camp started when Howard Taylor was denied permits and allowed people a free place to stay, that is all it was, "a free place to stay." It was filthy, wet and evolved into a weird unwashed hierarchy of rule makers etc. Thank the reality of life on Kauai that most of the squatters have left the island. There might be a few left over, but not many.
Of the ones I know, section 8, foodstamps other handouts are the post-Taylor camp experience.

Anonymous said...

Joan- The time and energy you put into these articles on the TVRs is the reason there is any action from the County. Your research, clear communication method and style has allowed even the thickest mind set to understand that there is a real problem with the illegal TVRs. Your words have brought this issue to a sizzle.

Anonymous said...

So get rid of the illegal TVRs and stop abusing the legal ones . The legal TVRs pay their taxes, maintain their properties, and provide a LOT of employment to cleaning staff, managers, gardeners, trash collectors (yeah, same trash as everyone else, just double fees). Next, outlaw all garages that have no cars 'cause they're so full of coolers, huge sacks of cans, derelict vehicles, no-float boats, etc.

Anonymous said...

"Thank the reality of life on Kauai that most of the squatters have left the island. There might be a few left over, but not many."

It didn't stem the tide. They keep coming! Old, young, rich, poor, they just keep coming. Tell them to stop. Please. Just stop.

Anonymous said...

"Next, outlaw all garages that have no cars 'cause they're so full of coolers, huge sacks of cans, derelict vehicles, no-float boats, etc."

Get a life. The horror. Death to elitist dickheads.

Anonymous said...

The owners of transient vacation rentals outside the VDA and the realtors that have promoted them........ Are these the people who are being referred to as "making an honest living?"

If so - they're probably the only ones that think that.

Anonymous said...

The former Taylor Camp members that I know and who are are making an honest living are some healthcare workers and paramedics and also a pre-school owner, along with some County employees-as well as some farmers and now retired long term community members who volunteer their time helping in many non-profits-