“Having images of Hawaii and being able to show what the weather is like here is, I think, very powerful,” enthused David Uchiyama, HTA vice president of brand management.
Yes, I can imagine that televised images of dirty, scared, rain-drenched hikers returning to their vandalized cars at the Kee Beach parking lot prompted a lot of folks to book trips.
Obviously, we can't save tourists from themselves. As this video shows, even a Seattle fireman, someone who should know better, was among those who foolishly kept crossing the stream in the rain.
But we can be more honest about the reality of this place, about the risks they face in nature and at their vacation rentals.
Like remember the professional wedding photographers who had $30,000 worth of gear, and images from a couple's recent wedding, stolen from their Anahola vacation rental two weeks ago? And how the owner offered to put up $1,000 for a reward?
It might possibly have been more meaningful for the owner to advise renters that three burglaries had been reported at that particular house since Jan. 1, 2012, according to Kauai police.
And within that little cluster of oceanfront Anahola vacation rentals, at least nine incidents — burglary, assault, criminal property damage, disorderly conduct, unauthorized entry into a motor vehicle and trespass — have been reported since Jan. 1, 2012, according to police.
As the “blog” on one of the Poha Street TVRs notes, “It pays to stay in Anahola.”
For the guy who are doing the ripping, that is.
I noticed the ad for another rental advised: “All Weddings or party guests must park at the Anahola Beach Park and stroll along the beach to the home.”
Encouraging off-site parking at a public beach is one of myriad ways that the proliferation of TVRs adversely impacts our island.
And as I've been reporting in the Abuse Chronicles — the four covered thus far are only the very tip of the iceberg — many of these TVRS were approved by the county planning department even though they did not meet the legal requirements.
We've seen building permit violations, flood ordinance violations, no inspections, inspections that failed to note violations. We've seen these valuable permits approved, and renewed, even though the owners provided no proof of prior TVR use or other required documentation. We've seen Realtors urging people to apply for permits for which they were not eligible, and possibly engaging in fraudulent representations to help owners secure permits.
In the process, we've seen a dramatic intensity of use as small beach bungalows are transformed into mini-resorts that sleep 12 to 14, often while using the original cesspool.
Council Chair Jay Furfaro has asked Planning Director Mike Dahilig to attend tomorrow's Council meeting and give an update on the department's TVR enforcement initiatives.
They might want to dig a little deeper, like inquire about how the inspectors are trained, what sort of review is conducted when these nonconforming use certificates — some of them adding up to $1 million to the value of a house — come in for renewal. Because they're rife with what appears to be fraud, and some of the permits should be revoked.
And since these questionable permits were issued under the reign of former Planning Director Ian Costa and his deputy, Imai Aiu, why not invite them in to explain what the hell happened under their watch? After all, they're still working for the county, thanks to the mayor, who transferred them to other administrative jobs, without explanation.
Surely, when you consider the way TVRs have totally consumed the North Shore, and other communities, and the tremendous value these permits carry, we have a right to know why things went down the way they did — and what the county plans to do to set things right. And that includes the prosecutor's office, which is charged with investigating crimes.