Poipu resident Sam Lee previously wrote about homestays/B&Bs in a guest post that generated considerable comment. As the Kauai County planning commission prepares to conduct a public hearing next Tuesday on a draft bill regulating homestays/B&Bs, I asked him to revisit the issue.
The draft bill proposed by the Planning Department seeks to establish a process to permit homestays/B&Bs in the commercial, resort and residential districts around the island. The meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m., Tuesday, April 14 rooms 2A & 2B of the Moikeha building.
Which takes us now to Sam's newest guest post:
Homestays should NOT BE ALLOWED IN THE RESIDENTIAL ZONE. There is ample land in the Commercial and Resort zones for Homestay use. More short term visitor rentals should be DISCOURAGED within neighborhoods. Visitor rentals within RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICTS have proven to be INCOMPATIBLE and IMPOSSIBLE TO CONTROL once they gain a foothold.
BEFORE allowing HOMESTAYS IN THE RESIDENTIAL ZONE, THE PLANNING COMMISSION MUST JUSTIFY THE NEED FOR HOMESTAYS IN THE RESIDENTIAL ZONE. IT MUST CLARIFY THAT THE NEED FOR HOMESTAYS IS DIFFERENT FROM THE DEMAND CREATED BY APPLICANTS SEEKING HOMESTAY PERMITS.
Here are some highlights of the proposed ordinance and definitions of terms used (emphasis added in CAPS), with my comments:
Census Designated Place (CDP)
Consists of a densely settled concentration of population locally identified by name e,g. Poipu, Koloa, etc. CDPs are delineated by State, County and the census Bureau following Census Bureau Guidelines.
Homestay Quota System
Means the quota system for generally permissible homestay permits for the County of Kauai. The quotas are established for CDPs having a (full time) resident population of at LEAST 1000 residents. Homestay permits SHALL be limited in number for each CDP having a resident population of at LEAST 1000 residents to one Homestay Permit for every 300 residents with the CDP. The Planning Department has population data for each CDP.
Please note, however, that the number of homestay permits issued for your area could EXCEED the number established by the quota. Read more about the loophole under “General Provisions for Homestay Quota” below.
Means an owner-occupied dwelling in which overnight accommodations are provided to transient guests for compensation in the same dwelling or in a guest house.
Means an owner occupied dwelling within which overnight accommodations are provided to transient guests or in a guest house , not exceeding 5 bedrooms for transient accommodations.
Means an owner occupied dwelling in which overnight accommodations are provided to transient guests within the dwelling or in a guest house, not exceeding 2 bedrooms for transient rental. A Minor permit could TENTATIVELY be issued within 30 days from the date the Planning Department accepts an application for a Minor Permit.
Currently on the books is language that requires any applicant who applies for a Homestay Permit to apply through a USE PERMIT. This requirement should be maintained for Minor Permits rather than the overly simple and quick process contained in the draft. HOMESTAY PERMITS , MINOR AND MAJOR, SHOULD BE ISSUED THROUGH A USE PERMIT. The ordinance should include the process for a USE PERMIT
General Provisions for Homestays
A Major Homestay operation SHALL not exceed 5 bedrooms. A Minor operation SHALL not exceed 2 bedrooms.
Any room advertised as a transient rental for sleeping purposes within a Homestay operation MUST BE A BEDROOM.
The residential structure(s) used for the Homestay operation must be the owner’s PRIMARY RESIDENCE and the owner must provide proof of having a Homeowners Exemption Certificate for the residence in the year preceding the date of application for a homestay permit.
During Homestay operations the owner benefitting under the Homeowners Exemption for the Homestay Site must be PHYSICALLY WITHIN THE COUNTRY OF KAUAI, RESIDING at the homestay site and PHYSICALLY available for the needs of their guests. NO OTHER person may act as a substitute for the Owner.
Homestays are PROHIBITED in Agriculture and Open Districts.
General Provisions for Homestay Quota System
A Homestay approved under a Class 1 or Class 11 ZONING PERMIT is subject to the Quota System.
Homestays APPROVED/REVIEWED under a USE PERMIT are EXEMPT from the quota.
DEFINE what category of Homestay Permit needs to be issued through the USE PERMIT PROCESS. Need to DESCRIBE USE PERMIT process.
The proposed ordinance states: Any application for a Homestay Permit EXCEEDING the number established by the Quota System whether a Minor or Major permit SHALL require a USE PERMIT.
Herein lies the possible LOOPHOLE to the QUOTA LIMIT. Poipu, for example, has a resident population that would limit the number of permits to no more than THREE. If the first three homestay permits for Poipu are Minor Permits, which are subject to the quota , then no more minor permits could be issued. BUT, since there are NO LIMITS TO THE NUMBER OF MAJOR PERMITS THAT CAN BE ISSUED, THE PROTECTION AFFORDED BY THE QUOTA COULD BE MEANINGLESS.
I STRONGLY SUGGEST THAT THE INTEGRITY OF THE QUOTA BE PRESERVED BY SAYING THE NUMBER SET BY THE QUOTA CANNOT BE EXCEEDED BY THE COMBINED NUMBER OF PERMITS ISSUED (MINOR +MAJOR).
Development Standards for Homestays
One additional paved and designated off street parking stall for each bedroom used as Homestay.
Clarify that homestay parking must be ADDITIONAL, PAVED DESIGNATED PARKING. Cannot be a part of an existing driveway or garage apron. Clarify that PAVED means surfaced with concrete or asphalt.
The ordinance also states:
Homestay residence must be on DOH approved SEPTIC SYSTEM
Homestay owners MUST be available on a 24/7 basis during homestay operations. The owner MUST provide his name and contact information to neighbors adjacent to the Homestay and to the Planning, Police, Civil Defense and Kauai Visitors Bureau upon issuance of a homestay permit.
No other individual or representative can act for the owner to meet the requirements of the ordinance.
How will these provisions be enforced?
Complaints Against Homestay Operations
Neighbors within 300 feet from a Homestay may file a complaint with the Planning Department. The Planning Director MAY require further review (of the complaint?) by the Planning Commission. For a complaint affecting a minor permit in a residential area, the Planning Director MAY issue a CEASE AND DESIST NOTICE and require the operator to apply and meet the conditions for a Use Permit before recommencing operations.
Change MAY to SHALL. REQUIRE Planning Director to refer any complaint about a Homestay operation to the Planning Commission. REQUIRE the Planning Director to issue a CEASE and DESIST and REQUIRE that the homeowner to apply for a USE PERMIT for any complaint regarding a Minor Permit operation within a RESIDENTIAL ZONING DISTRICT.
Renewal of Homestay Permits
Provide proof of General Excise and TAT licenses and primary occupancy. The Department MAY initiate reinspection of the premises.
Require MANDATORY REINSPECTION OF the premises for which a Homestay Permit renewal is being sought. Annual inspection will deter otherwise hard to detect violations within the dwelling. The number of Homestay permits issued should be low, enabling reinspections with existing staff.
Homestays in a Residential Zoning District not included in a V.D.A.
Homestays in Residential Zoning Districts may be issued ONLY with a USE PERMIT.
This is misleading. As the USE PERMIT PROCESS only applies to an application for a MAJOR HOMESTAY PERMIT.
Permitted Minor Homestay Locations in Residential Zoning District not in a V.D.A.
Minor Homestays may be permitted within a Residential District not in the V.D.A. subject to the following.
a) only one homestay per lot of record
b) located within a CDP with a resident population of at LEAST 1000.
CAUTION: A minor permit can be issued by the Planning Department within 30 days for a Homestay in the Residential District providing no objections are filed before the approval date. STRONGLY RECOMMEND THAT A MINOR PERMIT Application for Homestay in the Residential District be SUBJECT TO THE USE PERMIT PROCESS.
Minor Homestay Procedures. Notification of Neighbors
Within 7 days after being notified that his application has been accepted by the Planning Department for processing, the applicant must HAND DELIVER WRITTEN NOTICE OR SEND BY CERTIFIED MAIL WRITTEN NOTICE of his application to at least 85% of the residents within 300 feet of the applicant’s property.
The Notice must include:
a) location of the property
b) proposed use of the property
c) description of the homestay operation
d) notify neighboring property owners of their right to object to the application
e) provide the Planning Department’s address to which objections must be mailed
f) furnish neighbors with the tentative minor homestay approval date 30 days after the Planning Department accepted the application for processing.
Objections to a Minor Homestay Application in a Residential Zone not in the V.D.A.
Any property owner within a residential neighborhood and within 300 feet of a property for which a Minor Homestay permit is being sought, may OBJECT to the application by HAND DELIVERING OR MAILING BY CERTIFIED MAIL a NOTICE OF OBJECTION to the Planning Department BEFORE the 30 day approval date. Upon receipt of an objection, the Planning Director shall DENY the application, reclassify the application as a MAJOR Permit and require the necessary ZONING Permits, including a USE PERMIT.
Clarify what Zoning Permits could be required and if granted, would the permit count under the Quota system?
Revise Ordinance to include description of USE PERMIT issuance process.
Revise Ordinance to include NOTICATION OF NEIGHBORS protocol for MAJOR PERMITS IN RESIDENTIAL ZONE.
Revise Ordinance to include PROTOCOL FOR OBJECTIONS TO MAJOR PERMIT IN RESIDENTIAL ZONE.
INCLUDE DECRIPTION OF REMEDIES RESULTING FROM OBJECTIONS TO MAJOR PERMIT IN RESIDENTIAL ZONE.
Here's a link to the ordinance so you can read it in full.
The public can submit written testimony and/or speak at the hearing. Prior to the meeting, testimony can be emailed to planner Kaina Hull at email@example.com.