Here we are at 13 – lucky 13, it turns out, for the owners of Hale Hoku. They managed to score a vacation rental certificate in 2011 even though the property had zoning violations. In fact, they were essentially the same violations — creating a ground floor apartment in the flood zone — that had prompted the Kauai County planning department to deny the TVR application in 2009.
In his April 28, 2009, denial letter, county planning inspector Bambi Emayo directed Hale Hoku owner Jon Evans to “cease and desist all vacation rental activities immediately.” Evans was also told to immediately stop using the house as a prohibited multi-family dwelling and remove cabinets, cooking appliances and the gas and electrical supply from the downstairs units. Any unpermitted alterations and additions “shall be demolished and removed.”
Yet even though all activities did not cease, and a 2011 inspection found the downstairs living unit intact, deputy planning director Dee Crowell still issued Hale Hoku a TVR certificate on April 18, 2011. In his approval letter, Crowell wrote (emphasis in original):
There are other violations on the property or structure not necessarily connected to the TVR use. The remedy of any violation(s) must be completed prior to any consideration for renewal of this certificate.
With the letter was included a zoning compliance notice, also dated April 18, 2011, in which inspector Vill Balliscan describes the presence of an unpermitted living room, bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor of the house. The owner was again directed to cease and desist use of the downstairs unit and submit plans and permit applications for the unauthorized renovation.
Realtor Jane Abramo of Na Pali Properties, acting as the owner's property manager, sent a fax to Vill on May 23, 2011, promising “a full response” to his notice “within the next 10 days to two weeks.” Yet county records show no response, no permit applications, no remediation, no enforcement and no renewal applications.
The property, however, continues to operate as a vacation rental, with the Na Pali Properties website showing bookings through September.
The house does not have a long history as a vacation rental. In fact, the original owner, Maxine Hanan, disliked TVRs, and felt they were ruining the neighborhood. But she died in July 2006, and in March 2007 her house was sold to Exchange Accommodators Inc. for $1.775 million. Evans and Susan Bouchard took ownership on Sept. 18, 2007.
On Oct. 15, 2008, Evans submitted an application for a TVR certificate, in which he states his TVR use began on Dec. 11, 1998 — well before he owned it, and while Mrs. Hanan was still occupying the house. His TAT license, meanwhile, showed the start date as Jan. 1, 2004. As proof of Hale Hoku's prior TVR use, Abramo provided records indicating it had been rented for 12 days in 2007 and 21 days in 2008. The file did not include any evidence that either general excise or transient accommodation taxes had been paid.
As noted earlier, Bambi denied the application on April 28, 2009. On May 14, 2009, Evans and Bouchard sent Bambi a letter claiming the house had never been rented by them as a multifamily unit, and stating their intent to remove the cabinets and appliances in the downstairs kitchen.
The downstairs enclosure in the flood zone had also prompted concerns by FEMA. On May 7, 2010, the county advised FEMA that the TVR application had been denied.
In 2010, the County Council revised the TVR ordinance, and on Oct. 13, 2010, Evans submitted another application. This time he states the TVR use began on Jan. 1, 2004 — again, before he bought it, and while Mrs. Hanan was still occupying the house. Though the house was constructed as three-bedrooms and 1.5-baths, he describes it as three bedrooms and three baths. And despite the unpermitted downstairs additions and additional bathrooms, Evans claims in his sworn affidavit that no unpermitted expansions or improvements had been made. Furthermore, the files did not include any evidence that GE and TAT taxes had been paid, and the application included just three reservation records totalling 23 nights in 2007 — less than the 30 days of occupancy required.
On Feb. 9, 2011, Vill inspected the property and found the downstairs was still functioning as a living unit.
Yet on April 18, 2011, Crowell — a former planning director who was brought back in as deputy under new Planning Director Mike Dahilig — inexplicably issued a TVR certificate for Hale Hoku.
It also appears, from a video uploaded to YouTube on Dec. 6, 2011, that the property has another violation: a “workshop” that is a fully furnished living unit with washer-dryer, fridge, microwave and toaster oven. The video description states: "Workshop that is located on the 15,000 sf Hale Hoku property in Haena."
Another video of the main Hale Hoku house speaks of “a separate workshop building to explore hobbies or simply take a much needed siesta!”
It seems it might be time for the planning department to make yet another visit to Hale Hoku — and issue yet another warning that the owners can ignore.
Dee - signing in place of Mike because? plausible deniability ?
LOL these bumbling fools make this administration look more and more like the laughing stocks of the Pacific region.
so even with no evidence as required by ordinance because no one in Mike's department can file properly? Read, write? what other kinds of supported misconduct are the public going to allow to continue?
I don't understand why would you give a TVR permit to someone with zoning violations?
Jon Evans should be criminally charged with filing false documents, tax evasion, and endangering life & property. Send him to jail, put a lien against the house, and put a daily fine on the house until compliance. These abuses have got to stop!
What kind of bumble will the mayor appoint next? Hopefully one of his many friends or family members, so the laugh fest can continue.
Joan, i guess it's cool and all what you are doing...
But damn...you seriously have way too much time on your hands. Must be nice to be a "journalist"
ya know, 10:54, why don't you weigh her contribution to Kauai and the truth before you cast your snide, ignorant opinion.
Yeah, Joan just spend your time watching TV and drinking beer like the other sheeple
I agree with 9:57AM, there is only one way to make these violators take notice, hit them where it hurts!
If fines are collected dating back from the first notice of violation, there is no need to ask for more money to hire staff. The money is there to collect!
Dee Crowell should be among the first ones to get fired, shame on you, how many more got a hall pass, and how much was it each time? Something changed hands!!!
IT'S A TOUGH JOB BUT SOMEBODY HAS TO DO IT. You just keep on keep on keepin' on Joan! Great job! Maybe if you keep this up we can chisel our way through the whole county scam. You could become an example of what it takes to straighten out all government. Wouldn't that be a novel idea!
Anomaly 1054, you must work for the county or maybe own a TVR. You must be angry when about the loss of your fringe benefits. Oh well.
KEEP IT UP JOAN, MAHALO PLENTY!!!!
to 9:57 AM
Realtors -- in this case, Jane Abramo/Na Pali Properties -- should be included in legal actions also, for their participation in deceiving the County.
This is ANOTHER outrageous example of how poorly managed this county government is.
Where and when and how will this end?
Who will run against this 'mayor'?
My husband and I appreciate your work, Joan!
Taxpayers pay these people to go to work everyday and they give out permits that take our land and destroy our future
the rub is we pay them to do it
We're not the only ones paying them.
I hate the rich man but there are just as many locals with illegal rentals and vacation rentals. Are you going to go after them too?
legal or illegal - is that the question?
Once the county gets the TVR log back on line you will be able to search it to determine if those properties have valid certificates.
Don't shoot the messenger!
We love you Joan!
Does real property keep track of this? Does planning look at this site to determine compliance or violation?
So as a community we have to report these violations because our county government is ineffectual in doing the job that we pay them to do.
how do I find out if this property has a TVR permit?
You'll have to call the county Planning Department, Since the TVR log has been taken down from the web there is no way for people to check that kind of information on their own, unfortunately. Hopefully an accurate and more user-friendly log will soon be posted on line. In the meantime, call planning at 241-4050.
so happy to know that several people printed out copies of the TVR lists before the permitting department took it off line - hope they know that they are being watched and don't try to make any unethical changes to the data...
look like no permit for that airbnb rental...just FYI.
in case anyone in the county is actually checking. haha
Hey, I just wanted to give a little heads up...I appreciate your site but just a little fyi, the youtube video of the 'workshop' and main house are actually of another place on Alamoo
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