It's Friday, which seems like a good time to follow up on a few things.
First, Kauai County is continuing to move forward in controlling vacation rentals.
The planning department has asked the prosecutor's office to pursue criminal charges against several homestay and TVR properties, with more details forthcoming as soon as the charges are filed.
Meanwhile, the planning commission will soon decide whether to revoke a TVR permit and levy a $25,000 fine, as recommended by a hearings officer. The $3.7 million dwelling in question is owned by Rene Campos Jr. of Dallas and located in Kilauea's Seacliff Plantation.
The planning department first revoked the nonconforming use certificate in December 2011 after determining the property's guest house had been converted to a single family dwelling without the proper permits. The owner asked the planning commission to review the revocation last November, and it's finally moving toward resolution now.
Wonder how much rent the owner brought in during those five ensuing years? Surely far more than $25,000....
Meanwhile, a TVR owner got in a snit – claiming he/she was being “harassed” and “picked on” because planner Mike Laureta sent out an email informing permit-holders of the county's new zero-tolerance policy for late and incomplete applications. Mike wrote:
I'm giving fair warning – Ordinance No. 950, Sec. 8-17-10 (h)(1) removed the ability to reapply for renewal if you failed to timely renew. This means – from here going forward, if you’re 1 day late, the Department will issue you a forfeiture notice. If you don’t run your business in a professional manner and forget to timely renew, no excuse will be good enough.
If the renewal packet is incomplete beyond the renewal date, the Department will issue a Forfeiture notice. It’s incumbent on the certificate holders to provide all the documents listed on the renewal form – we will no longer chase you for missing documents. At the time you submit your packet, it had better be complete. I will be sending this email to all, in groups of maybe 25. So if you get this more than once, you really better not miss a renewal date……
Instead of whining, TVR owners should be grateful for the heads-up. The crackdown is totally warranted, as I saw a list showing some TVR owners hadn't renewed their permits for years. Two who forgot to renew are now appealing the forfeiture, which costs the county time and money.
TVR permits are a privilege, not an entitlement, and if folks can't get it together to renew on time, tough. Lawmakers promised us that the number of legal TVRs would slowly be reduced through attrition, and failing to follow the rules is part of that mechanism.
Meanwhile, the Council next week will again consider the bill defining and regulating homestays. But it's deferred until May 11 a bill that would limit homestays to the visitor destination area.
Moving on to other news, domestic violence coordinator Gina Kaulukukui has filed a lawsuit against Kauai Police Department and Assistant Chief Roy Asher, alleging sex discrimination and retaliation. Or in other words, the usual....
If Councilman Mason Chock has his way, KPD will need to enforce a new law, one that bans smoking in a motor vehicle whenever it's occupied by someone under 18. I guess when you can't come up with something grand in an election year, you go for the manini.
Speaking of elections, the race for the 14th District House seat vacated by Derek Kawakami continues to attract attention, with Kauai Sen. Ron Kouchi and Rep. Jimmy Tokioka reportedly urging former planning commission Jan Kimura of Kilauea to run. Guess Nadine Nakamura, who is far more qualified, doesn't meet the gender requirements for their Good Old Boys club.
And neophyte candidate Fern Rosenstiel is all upset because her strident Facebook posts, like the one I published Wednesday, are coming back to haunt her:
After it was reposted on the Pro GMO Hawaii page, Fern claimed it had been "taken out of context," though it's unclear in what context such sentiments would be acceptable. She then went on try and talk her way out of it:
Oh, yes, Fern, you've learned your lessons well: Always blame the corporations. They're the ones pitting us against each other, not you and your misinformed fistee friends, like the one who helpfully chimed in to remind us again of the condescending attitudes toward farm workers:
Meanwhile, Joni Kamiya wrote a poignant blog post about her father's brown hands. It was prompted by a meeting of the Kahuluu Neighborhood Board, where Center for Food Safety Director Ashley Lukens came to share her outrageous propaganda about pesticides. Joni's father and brother, who grow papayas, also showed up, along with another farmer.
Joni's dad, Ken Kamiya, stood up and told of how farmers are highly regulated in their use of pesticides and must also comply with the food safety regulations:
If we continue to harass the farmers, we're gonna quit. You're not gonna have any small farmers in Hawaii. Small farmers are the guys who grow papayas and cucumbers and anything else you guys like. Be careful and check your information and make sure it's legit.