As the Kauai County Council prepares to take up the homestay ordinance tomorrow, we've been hearing the oft-repeated cry of “gosh, we had no idea we needed a permit” from so many operators.
Especially those who have been issued a cease and desist order from the county.
So imagine our surprise when we took a little gander at homestays/B&Bs offered in the Kilauea area, for just one example, and discovered that some of the owners are Realtors, people who already have TVR permits — in short, folks who really ought to know better.
Like Realtor Bruce Fehring, who has a legal TVR, Hale Kaikalani, as well as Twin Hearts — a not-so-legal “homestay.” In the web copy, he even has “homestay” in quotes, because he knows — wink-wink — that Twin Hearts is a TVR on ag land that failed to secure a permit, and is now masquerading as something it's not.
Then there's Allen and Catherine Rietow, who rent the Aloha Sunrise Cottage and its twin, the Aloha Sunset Cottage, on their seven-acre ag parcel. But they don't even try in their ad copy to pass them off as either B&Bs or home stays, just unpermitted TVRs.
Randy and Jill Smith, meanwhile, rent the Jasmine Nights cottage, which presumably could pass as a “homestay” because the owners at least serve as hosts. But how, exactly, is it any different than a TVR on ag land, for which permits are no longer being issued?
And since the proposed ordinance only addresses homestays/B&Bs in the residential district, what exactly is going to happen to the dozens operating on ag land?
Francesca Azuremare-Woolger, also a Realtor, advertises “Several private cottages in and around Kilauea area,” while Richard A. rents out the Coconut Hut.
Realtor Harvest Edmonds — who claims to be “a passionate supporter of sustainable agriculture on Kauai,” even as she helps turn North Shore ag lands into resorts — argued passionately for TVR permits on ag land, claiming she and her husband would otherwise lose their land. She got a permit, but then went ahead and created another TVR/homestay/B&B — the “Green” Cottage.
Then there's the “Kauai Retreat Center,” on ag land in Waipake, that offers six-bedrooms — all with “private outside keyed entrances.” At what point, you may legitimately ask, does a B&B become a hotel?
Let's not forget The Palmwood, which bills itself as “an update on the traditional bed and breakfast,” because it's actually a three-story TVR in the hills of Moloaa that rents its three rooms for about $300 each per night.
Or the Anahata Sanctuary, with its six “sacred chambers” (bedrooms) and meditation temple that is “a perfect place to meet Conscious Like-Minded People.”
Are you starting to get the idea that these aren't really mom-and-pop establishments operated by naïve landowners who have been brutally victimized by callous county enforcers?
Instead, they're just the latest round of TVRs seeking permits that were no longer supposed to be granted.
The question now is will the county cave? Or stand its ground and shut 'em down?