Council seeks vacation rental balance

  • A cyclist rides past a vacation rental on Alii Drive. (Laura Ruminksi, file/West Hawaii Today)
  • AIRBNB.COM Available vacation rentals dotted a map of Hawaii island today.

HILO — County Council members are calling for a balance that would allow revenue-generating vacation rentals in some areas, while keeping them from consuming neighborhoods in others.

The council Finance Committee heard a 90-minute presentation from computer analyst Stefan Buchta, who’s concerned about his Leleiwi neighborhood being overrun by the short-term rental business.

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Buchta said Big Island residents are being squeezed out of neighborhoods by out-of-state investors who pay cash for properties and turn them into vacation rentals. Making a presentation at the request of Hilo Councilwoman Sue Lee Loy, Buchta said the easy profits made by short-term vacation rentals reduces the inventory of housing available for local families who can’t find long-term rentals and can’t pay cash to buy a home.

Buchta said the original concept of “home-sharing,” where people rented out a room in their home, has dwindled to 11 percent of vacation-rental revenue. Now, the market is dominated by whole-house rentals, many owned by commercial hosts who own more than one house or condo unit.

He emphasized home-sharing and small-time vacation rentals can enhance the economy without hurting neighborhood character, the way a bee can collect pollen from a flower without harming it.

“There are bees and there are ants, and if there are too many ants, they’ll begin to kill the flower,” Buchta said. “The commercial operators are abusing the system. … These people are running multi-million-dollar businesses in residential neighborhoods.”

Buchta estimates taxing Big Island vacation rentals could bring $20 million to $30 million annually in taxes to the state.

Council members, who are set to hear a bill in the coming months that would limit vacation rentals to commercial and hotel/resort districts, said allowing short-term rentals could create tax revenue, but they are also hearing from constituents worried about the character of their neighborhoods.

“It became very apparent to me there is a need to address this issue,” Lee Loy said. “It’s an issue that affects not only my community but communities all across the island. “

Kohala Councilman Tim Richards agreed.

“There’s not a one-size-fits-all,” Richards said. “We have to strike that balance.”

Kona Councilman Dru Kanuha said he can see an economic up-side, but he gets calls every day from constituents with complaints about the rentals.

Many residents don’t welcome the vacationers.

In testimony, Jolene Mears said the Keauhou Uka community in Kailua-Kona is no longer a quiet residential neighborhood, thanks to vacation rentals. She said the party-like atmosphere of large houses in particular lessens the quality of life for the residents.

“We are regularly … woken up by screaming, laughing, cursing, drunken brawls and have absolutely no ability to get the gr0up to quiet down,” Mears said.

She said calling the police doesn’t always get quick results, because the police are overwhelmed by the number of transient rentals cropping up in the area.

“In addition to the noise that seems constant, we have seen guests urinating over their railing, strutting around naked and have found litter in our backyard,” Mears said.

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One testifier said the belief is unfounded that allowing vacation rentals in residential areas will result in them being overrun with tourists.

“Tourists aren’t rats,” said Cheryl O’Brien, “and the properties they stay in are almost across-the-board better cared for than others.”

  1. Kevin Kalley March 14, 2018 7:58 am

    There are laws to handle the noise and partying, enforce them (IF you can get the police to respond). An occasional bad vacation tenant is often a better option than a permanent inconsiderate/loud/intoxicated neighbor.


    1. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 12:57 pm

      Agreed!


  2. PDog March 14, 2018 9:54 am

    Oh my goodness. They think a vacationing, TEMPORARY, tourist is worse than a PERMANENT long term renter??? My long term renter neighbor has all night parties at least three times a week. Has six dogs that start barking and fighting at 5:30 in the morning AND they are about to start a backyard breeding business! Oh…and he just got a rooster.

    I would pay his landlord money to turn it into a vacation rental.


    1. Alex March 14, 2018 11:52 am

      PDog, I have lived in a several local neighborhoods on both sides of the island and I totally understand what you mean. But I think the problems are deeper. We have a real zoning issue at our hands. What is “ag” and what is “residential”? The local culture here embraces the the backyard animal raising/six dog lifestyle and I think we have to respect that. This came to a head yesterday in the wild rooster bill discussion at the county council meeting. I was there and it was quite a discussion!


      1. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 12:55 pm

        Six dog lifestyle is fine until the six dog pack isn’t kept quiet.


        1. PDog March 14, 2018 1:37 pm

          To be clear, I’m totally fine with six dogs. I have dogs, goats, chickens, ducks, parrots, a donkey…that’s life on a farm. What I’m NOT fine with is the fighting/barking of those dogs, the new backyard breeding that they’re planning, and the all night parties.


        2. italiantina March 17, 2018 5:51 pm

          If you have six dogs, please take care of them. Don’t chain them to 3′ chains with no food or water. Don’t pen them in all day long and never get out for exercise. I have witnessed so many sad situations from the local attitude toward dogs. So sad. Disgusting and down right inhumane.


    2. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 12:54 pm

      Not to mention the wafting mj and cigarette smoke and cars parked everywhere. Tourists are gone ina few days…


  3. Joan Sheldon March 14, 2018 10:27 am

    Perhaps the best way to handle this would be to not allow future Non-resident owners ( like mainland and foreign country landlords) to obtain licenses for short term rentals. However, owners who are residents should be allowed to own and share short-term rentals as it helps keep the money in Hawaii. Just make all short-term rental owners require an in-expensive (so they won’t cheat) license and then don’t approve the out-of towners. Charge Big fines for no license.


    1. Alex March 14, 2018 11:36 am

      Yes, totally agree. Owners who live “on site” have an inherent responsibility to the neighborhood. In addition, I think we may still need to limit the density in some areas, AirBnB in San Francisco has this “one host, one home” policy that is very sensible for residential neighborhoods. That would limit the people using home sharing primarily as a way to make money.


      1. Joan Sheldon March 14, 2018 11:56 am

        If more than one homeowner in a neighborhood wanted to share their home or rent a bedroom/bath for short-term rentals, it would not be fair to choose one over the other or limit it to one house per street…. yikes. Choosing Hawaii resident owners over mainland (or foreign) owners…. that’s a different story….. totally fair….


        1. Alex March 14, 2018 1:09 pm

          We agree that making true Hawaii residents a component of the solution is one of the keys. This will work for some neighborhoods, but I speak from experience when I say that this will not be enough, because we are so late in putting in our regulation and now we are facing a flood. I’ve counted existing rentals in most neighborhoods and, to avoid 30% of all residential homes become vacation rentals within the next year or two in some areas, will need a second and third filtering criteria. Most mainland cities with tourism industry also ended up with a combination of criteria, such as:
          – owner physically lives there/doesn’t live there
          – density per neighborhood or even block (most apply it to residential neighborhoods only, we may also want to apply it to “ag”)
          – limit number of listings or dwelling per host
          – limit number of nighs a dwelling can be rented out per year
          – temp permits for festivals such as Merry Monarch, Ironman etc.


    2. PDog March 14, 2018 1:47 pm

      I’d like to address this. What about neighborhoods where the owners come for three months a year? There are houses in my neighborhood where the owners come and live in the home that they OWN for three or four months every single year (in one case the woman works for the state as a whale researcher). They rent their homes as short term rentals the rest of the year. The homes are not available as long term rentals for only 8-9 months out of the year, because a long term renter would have to move out while the owners took up residence. Do you propose that these owners leave their homes vacant for eight months?

      Their houses will be targets for thieves and squatters.


      1. Alex March 14, 2018 3:01 pm

        PDog, great points. Will have to address the part-year owners. In our neighborhood, we always had a few and I’ve helped watch their house, pick up mail, etc. But now, the internet has solved “the booking problem”, and so many more people are streaming in with mainland money, pushing out locals with lesser income. Maybe we can make this scenario economically less attractive by introducing a new property tax classification for these homes based on income.


      2. Joan Sheldon March 14, 2018 5:19 pm

        Reply to PDog, There are always exceptions to every rule and this is so in the case that you mention. When an owner uses their property as a second home (like 3 mos a year) of course they should be able to rent it for short terms for the reasons you say. In the mainland, many resort homes or condos are owned by owners that live in other states and use their property as vacations or second homes for themselves. They are called “Snowbirds” if from cold-winter states or “Sunbirds” like from Palm Springs or other desert hot areas in the summer.


  4. David Currier March 14, 2018 10:41 am

    The Bill 108, as written, is totally biased in favor of the hotel industry and wealthy condo and time share owners in the rich, multi-national operated resort areas. Individual property owners in areas like Puna and the east side of the Big Island, where adequate hotels will never be built because of lava, are being unfairly regulated by this dreadfully developed piece of legislation. Because of the demographics of the Big Island, it’s easy to postulate that this bill is racially discriminatory.

    Council persons responsible for the draft version of Bill 108 should be embarassed by the amaturish way they cobbled together this bill. Its totally inequitable slant certainly favors the likes of Councilperson Karen Eoff who has lied to her constituants about ownership of vacation rentals. Even our Hawaii Tourism Authority, which should be working to enhance our tourism infrastructure, seems to have bought into the hotel philosophy that we private property owners should provide low income housing for hotel employees who are not adequately paid.

    There are already noise ordinances on the books. Let’s insist that our feeble police department enforce what we have. An perhaps those noise laws need to be enhanced to give the police greater latitude and mandate the issuance of tickets with steep fines. No warnings.

    We hosts do not object to reasonable regulations which ensure that tourists, property owners, and neighborhoods are protected, but that legislation must be well defined, detailed and equitable.


    1. Alex March 14, 2018 11:20 am

      Hi David, I was not involved with Bill 108 itself, but I know enough about the genesis of the legislation that I can assure you that the hotel industry has / had no part in it. (The “hotel industry is behind this” argument keeps coming up and, at least for the Big Island, it is not case.) The big hotels don’t suffer from vacation rentals, yet. It is the smaller hotels and B&Bs which are fully permitted and regulated which are impacted. In any case, at this point, the hotel industry on the Big Island has not taken a stance on this. (Unlike in Honolulu.) Neither was there much thought given to the needs of the large hotels, I believe, when the bill was written. The thrust of the legislation, which is yet to be introduced, is simply to protect neighborhoods.

      We are in Hilo, not that far from you and would be happy to show you around our area and explain why I support any such legislation.

      You raise some valid concerns about the needs of Puna for hotel capacity. (Just my personal opinion.) Would you like to get in touch. So that we can understand your concerns better?


      1. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 11:23 am

        Alex vacation rentals are an entirely different market from hotels. Tourists who use bnb/vaca rentals would consider another destination before staying at a hotel. Hotel inventory has been shrinking on the Big Island while airlift has been increasing so it’s better to have supplemental inventory to meet demand while not hassling with huge construction projects/development/water demands, etc that resort construction brings.

        Then there are locals who travel interisland for business/family reasons who are already being gouged by the monopoly airline and could use a break when it comes to lodging. Are we calling them unwelcome tourists?


    2. wahineilikea March 14, 2018 11:28 am

      The major movers behind efforts to shut down all the illegal vacation rentals are not hotels, not at all. We are residents who are fed up with the single-family home vacation rentals that are taking over our neighborhoods. They are in violation of our zoning code and are destroying the character of our residential neighborhoods. Enforce the existing laws!


    3. PDog March 14, 2018 2:01 pm

      All of these complaints about noise, parties, and speeding. Zoning has nothing to do with that. The police address those issues with enforcement of existing laws. I completely agree that this is a dreadfully crafted piece of legislation that only benefits the wealthy condo and investment home owners of the resort and hotel areas (Mauna Lani, Mauna Kea, Waikoloa Resort, Hualalai Four Seasons, Ali’i Drive, etc.). It appears that so many people who are vociferously supporting this bill are taking a hear no evil, see no evil approach and don’t want to acknowledge its flaws.

      “legislation must be well defined, detailed and equitable.” – if anyone read to the end of your post, David, that is an important quote. The current bill is NOT well defined, detailed and equitable.


  5. bigigirl March 14, 2018 11:25 am

    Am a Kamaaina that has run a VR in Volcano for 15 yrs. Renters appear to be families, couples etc that are of high esteem & most respectful. They tour all day & sometimes appear to go to bed @ night very early due to the time difference. Have never had one complaint & live nearby.


    1. Alex March 14, 2018 5:34 pm

      Biggirl, thanks for the comment. Maybe we can build a case study around your rental experiences & economics that will help make a better decision for Volcano and other special areas like it. I think that there is an understanding that Volcano has special needs, because of the needs to support the Park. Let me know if interested and want to get in touch.


      1. bigigirl March 15, 2018 4:19 pm

        Hi Alex, Appreciate your offer’ however want to lay low. Actually want to get out of the business, all the work burns me out.


        1. Alex March 15, 2018 7:24 pm

          Hi BigGirl, thank you anyway. Drop me a message here if you should change your mind in the future. We want the council to craft policy that helps people like you – I think you are the kind of business the county wants to embrace and support. But then you are maybe dropping out, that is unfortunate, but understandable. All the best to you.


  6. oceanwatcher.com March 14, 2018 12:33 pm

    The sad truth is that many of these rentals are not licensed, do not pay any taxes, and are in areas where they clearly don’t belong. I live in a neighborhood on one of those roads considered “an old government road”, unclaimed by either the state or the county, in an area zoned as “ag”. As such, the residents have to maintain it, pave it, and do everything the county refuses to do. Yet, we are overrun by neighbors who have B&B’s, and multiple “ohana” rentals on their properties and nobody will do anything about it. So, instead of a single family dwelling with typically two cars, we now have one property with multiple residents living there and up to six cars using one driveway. This has increased the traffic and noise on our little road by over 300% – not to mention the wear and tear to the road that we incur and which many of these people operating the rentals make no contribution.
    The county refuses to maintain the road and the cops do little or nothing when called, because they claim they have no jurisdiction on a “private” road. The planning department turns a blind eye. Everybody has an out for doing nothing……….and since so many of the neighbors are doing something not really kosher, they don’t want to complain about others around them for fear of being turned in themselves.
    It is completely out of hand both for short term and illegal “ohana” type rentals. It really needs to be stopped!
    As for non resident owners using real estate here as an investment and as a rental cash cow, perhaps there should be some legislation to require them to reside in the property for a certain period of time before it could be used as a rental. Don’t expect any support from the realtors on that score though as it is used as a selling point.


  7. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 1:07 pm

    Want to see housing/property values dive like never before? Be sure to set the stage where out of state owners will be outlawed and start a sell off. Damned if I’m going to lose equity in my home
    or vote for the jerks who started a housing crisis.

    Think of all the shrinkage in property taxes


    1. Joan Sheldon March 14, 2018 5:39 pm

      If they sell off…. just hold tight, your property value will go up again in a year or so because that’s history. When there is a huge sell off, the price goes down so locals can afford housing and that’s good. Then the inventory disappears and prices go up again… Happened in 2011 and 2012…when I was in Kona, stayed down for a short time then up up up…


      1. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 7:40 pm

        Don’t agree. This would be different and will affect all the equity gains since 2011. Investor buying has been proping that up since the housing crash


        1. Alex March 14, 2018 8:32 pm

          Leilani, I don’t think we want to condone investor buying in our neighborhoods. Are you in real estate?


          1. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 9:25 pm

            Not all investors invest for vaca rental income. So excluding investors would be ineffectual.


          2. Alex March 15, 2018 7:08 am

            What other investment purposes /kinds of investments do you see?


          3. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 7:18 am

            Flipping and foreclosures for starters. Both provide benefits to any community


          4. Alex March 15, 2018 7:45 am

            Ok, I see, thanks! I am not saying we should go after all investments. Just limit the impact one single individual, or a group of individuals, can have over a neighborhood. As long as residential neighborhoods actually remain neighborhoods and don’t turn into blocks of houses waiting for tourism dollars… hopefully we can agree on that


          5. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 8:49 am

            Why? Keeping a house empty is essentially the choice of the property owner. I would personally prefer to be on a block where 3 out of 5 homes are empty most of the year. Why? Because it’s better than dealing with neighbors barking dogs, roosters, motorcycles, fighting, smoking and all night parties. Calling the cops etc. Besides it’s better than to have the homeowner opt to long term rent to sexual predators, ex cons or a family of 8 that ends up being a family of 12. Think about that.


          6. Alex March 15, 2018 9:33 am

            I’ve lived (and still live actually) next to some rather rough local neighbors, but nothing like you describe. You are fear mongering a little bit there — ex cons, predators etc. The way I deal with it is through our neighborhood association where some folks are in the same ohana with some of the rougher neighbors with the roosters and pitbulls. That has worked wonders. Eventually we actually all like each other. And we are feeding the pitbulls for them, so they love us. We are all just human


          7. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 12:26 pm

            Think again because Hilo is not typical of all areas and I doubt if a homeowner or a sexual predator or crimunal would openly walk up and intro him/her self as such. However, it is the right of a homeowner to rent to whomever they choose so it’s possible and probable since cons and preadators need a place to live too.


          8. bigigirl March 15, 2018 4:15 pm

            There is a sex offender site for the different areas that may be viewed.


          9. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 8:28 pm

            many are not registered even though they are required to comply


    2. Alex March 16, 2018 3:49 am

      Leilani, the arguments you are raising here in various areas make me a little sad for our future. Is this the kind of society we in Hawai’i want for our children to inherit? Not sure about how all of you other folks here feel about this. I am hearing money, want, and greed. My home, my property values, my rights! Do we really want to be slaves to these forces? Where are Aloha, Kuleana, a society that is Pono?


      1. LeilaniLee March 16, 2018 8:50 am

        Alex, these are not arguments. They facts providing perspective. Understand that you may live in a world where your neighbors mean more to you than your children’s education. You may live in a world where conflicts are settled by a community association and you may live in a world where you are not responsible for the safety of your kids. That is your kuleana. But you need to realize that “home values, property ownership, rights” is a huge economic driver that makes things possible for many. Tourism and the revenue it generates makes a lot of “pono” programs possible. Housing and property values do so too. So you are connected and benefit from this in ways you may have not thought possible. Besides marginalizing the investment families make and the sacrifices people make for the betterment of there families is disrespectful. Well, I’m all for aloha and pono and kuleana, but frankly it doesn’t pay the bills unless you are in assistance which is what “my property, my values and my rights” make possible.


        1. Alex March 16, 2018 7:09 pm

          Leilani, I, too, when young and ambitious used to play the game you describe. But since I’ve discovered for myself what Billy Graham means when he says. “When you love money, you’ll never have enough. You’ll be infected by the disease called MORE.”


          1. LeilaniLee March 16, 2018 7:41 pm

            Alex, not everyone wants to live like you. Many are raising kids, paying tuition and medical bills, taking care of elderly parents and more.


          2. Alex March 16, 2018 8:27 pm

            Yep, totally understand, doing all of what you describe, including tuition for wife who is back in university part time (except we unfortunately never had a chance to raise our own kids. Few medical bills because I have time to take care of my body more. So try to make up for it by serving our community.) It is not easy to make ends meet. But when I was “wealthy” and lived the high life, things were even harder. I never forget the emptiness inside that I felt back then.


          3. LeilaniLee March 16, 2018 8:57 pm

            Well you cannot expect everyone to be content living like you do. What you call more is actually providing for kids future and family


          4. Alex March 16, 2018 9:07 pm

            Yes, but by setting up that kind of system of “forever more”, aren’t you destroying the future of your children without realizing it? Image, if I had stayed in San Fran, how much would my kids need to make just to get a decent appartment? I watch my friends there, with kids, and they are all plotting to get out. But when we got there, in the 1990ies, what a great place it was! When I finally left for Hawaii, in 2003, the social fabric of the city was already dying.


          5. LeilaniLee March 16, 2018 9:50 pm

            Destroying children’s future by educating them? Sorry doesn’t ring true.


          6. LeilaniLee March 16, 2018 10:15 pm

            Well that’s your perspective thanks but many have kids to feed and educate and believe me that is not more.

            Home values support that and creating a environment that will diminish those values impact the future of many island children

            If that what you call more than all Hawaii families need more


          7. Alex March 17, 2018 12:11 am

            Leilani, OK, so we agree to disagree. Your claim is that rising property values are good for local families. I think that just the opposite is true. I think that local families are being priced out, since their incomes tend to be lower than mainland people buying part-year houses and also can’t compete with short-term rental “developers”. In my own neighborhood that is very obvious. Let’s be honest with ourselves. Rising home values have already put many areas entirely out of range for island incomes.


          8. LeilaniLee March 17, 2018 7:56 am

            The solution is to build more work force apartments and raise wages.

            For over a generation Hawaii legislators have failed to build affordable apartments for workers and left it to private homeowners to fill the gap.

            They have builders participating in programs for affordable housing that require residency up to 5 years with huge market gains for owners, but permitting on the Big Island is such hassle that developers look to easier markets while landowners build unpermitted structures.

            Legislators can also raise the wages and they are slow to do that as well. We should be at minimum $15 but we are at $9.25 in a land where the cost of living is the highest in the country.

            Home prices and equity gains are a sign of a healthy market and record tourism numbers is good news for Hawaii.

            You can outlaw vaca rentals, but you will still be stuck with the affordability issue.

            Oh but the marijuana dispensaries got passed and Harry Kim raised his staff salaries 20pct.

            It takes living here for a more than a generation to gain an overall perspective to understand where the real challenges lie. And believe me it ain’t vacation rentals.

            Do think again


          9. KonaDude March 23, 2018 7:06 am

            Raising minimum wage is a double edged sword, it can hurt the very people it is supposed to help..


          10. LeilaniLee March 23, 2018 10:52 am

            That argument is as old as dirt. It has been proven to be more beneficial than not especially in many areas where the cost of living is high.


          11. KonaDude March 23, 2018 12:46 pm

            So if you owned a small business paying $9.25 and had to start paying $15 tomorrow you would just eat that cost and not pass it on to the customer. Wow you are so generous.


          12. LeilaniLee March 23, 2018 1:15 pm

            Those costs can be mitigated and managed like they’ve done in other places. Certainly better than the status quo which has gotten no one anywhere


          13. KonaDude March 23, 2018 1:31 pm

            So you’re not going to answer the question I see!!


          14. LeilaniLee March 23, 2018 2:30 pm

            Didn’t see any question marks, so I couldn’t conclude there were any questions, sorry.


          15. LeilaniLee March 17, 2018 9:28 am

            The State of Hawaii has, for more than a generation, failed to build adequate workforce rentals and have left it to private homeowners to deal with it.

            There are programs that allow affordable housing with minimum residency of up to five years. These owners can benefit from huge market gains but on the Big Island, they have made the permitting process so cumbersome that developers look to other islands instead and landowners build unpermitted structures.

            Oh but the marijuana dispensary laws have passed and Mayor Harry Kim provided a staff salary increase of up to 20% along with a GET tax increase.

            Legislators have failed to take steps to advance minimum wage. Should be $15 but it’s $9.25 where the cost of living exceeds that of the Bay Area.

            You can outlaw vacation rentals but the reality is you will still have the affordability issue which has also been a problem for generations.

            Housing and tourism are leading and record breaking sectors which are both very strong and prop up the rest of the state. Seems typical that short sighted individuals want to destroy this and plunge our delicate economy into a slump

            You see, it takes much more than living here for a few years and observing your neighborhood to understand that vacation rentals are not the problem but in fact it’s Hawaii’s government.


          16. Alex March 17, 2018 10:41 am

            Leilani, yes, government usually gets blamed. And it is definitely not innocent, but it is also easy to say for people, “oh, government is the problem. Let them deal woth it”. This will not solve affordable housing. The governmemts who have truly tackled the affordable housing problem, say, in Europe have all put draconian restrictions on short term rentals. (The tourist city of Berlin in Germany, for example, fines illegal AirBnB hosts 100,000 Euros.) I am not just looking at our neighborhood. Am driving around the island 3-4 days a week now, going into many different neighborhoods, looking at vacation rentals, talking to owners, guests, and neighbors. Am creating detailed vaca rental-to-TMK maps of all the rental and their neighbors. Are you interested to see some of my maps? Maybe if you saw the scale of the rental explosion then we could start discussion what kind of solutions you might support?


          17. LeilaniLee March 17, 2018 7:47 pm

            I would doubt the legitimacy and validity of your maps. I would doubt the legitimacy of your neighborly discussions.

            Again, Workforce apartments and private developed affordable housing has not been persued like it has been on other islands where it has been successful. It is the governments fault. Specifically the counties fault.

            So if all you got is the NIMBY argument then that’s fine with me.


          18. Alex March 17, 2018 9:16 pm

            Leilani, this is a total misunderstanding. I never said that the affordable housing programs would not be important. Of course they are !

            All I am saying is that any government program will not solve these problems, and you and I know it! It would be great if we could just throw the problem over the wall and “let government handle it”. But, no, you and I have a responsibility to contribute. Remember the old phrase, “don’t ask what your country can do for you?” Ask yourself what you can do for your country.


          19. KonaDude March 23, 2018 12:49 pm

            Government only cares about you until you vote, then it’s business as usual. The government isn’t going to take care of you!!


          20. LeilaniLee March 23, 2018 1:31 pm

            Exactly. The plantation mentality professionals


  8. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 1:13 pm

    For all of you who complain about
    noisy vacation rentals and prefer to have all vacation rentals banned, understand that this may not solve problem and property owners can just as easily move in sexual predators and ex-cons as your long term neighbors.


  9. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 2:22 pm

    Let’s be clear. Vacation rentals will not revert to local rental inventory if outlawed. There will be a sell off or they will be left empty. There are owners who will refuse to rent long term because if the difficulties in evicting tenants.


    1. Grumpier March 14, 2018 3:30 pm

      Sad part is you see this new building going on right next to the empty foreclosed houses the banks dont give a crap about.


    2. Alex March 14, 2018 4:56 pm

      Leilani, yes, that is a problem. In some cases other uses will have to be found. For examplem housing seniors. (Also a very profitable industry, btw.)


      1. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 7:42 pm

        That’s not my point. The point being that vaca homes take away long term rentals inventory when it doesn’t


        1. Alex March 14, 2018 8:13 pm

          Which neighborhood are you in?


        2. Alex March 15, 2018 7:11 am

          Sure it does. It removes homes from the market. In our own neighborhood, we are having vaca home developers going in with cash bids against local families. One of the locals pushed out, a nurse, has agreed to testify in detail


          1. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 8:42 am

            Your perspective does not take into account that although your single local buyer was outbid, the seller is the one who has the final say and has no obligation to any buyer. In addition the many lots surrounding the cash sale will benefit from higher value and the county benefits from high property assessments. It’s a free market. It’s a democratic society and a capitalistic system.


          2. Alex March 15, 2018 9:44 am

            If I plan to live in a neighborhood longer term, as most of our neighbors do, higher assessments are not what I want. Neither do I welcome higher property prices, unless I am speculating. I have relatives in California and have seen first hand how high property prices can impact neighborhoods. What used to be vibrant towns with artists, book shops, and ‘normal people’ can quickly turn into lifeless areas with golf courses and tennis courts


          3. LeilaniLee March 15, 2018 12:20 pm

            Well equity and leveraging equity is one if the benefits of homeownership. It helps local families pay for their kids college, home repairs, medical bills and much much more. Property taxes are incidental in the face of healthy equity. So I guess you are the exception. What you say about neighborhoods with golf courses and tennis courts is short sighted. I raise Ewa as an example. 7 golf courses all within 3 miles, tennis courts and residents enjoying their neighborhood.


    3. bigigirl March 15, 2018 4:22 pm

      I would rent long term in a heart beat!


  10. LeilaniLee March 14, 2018 2:29 pm

    The Big Island has an opportunity to set itself apart from the other islands and offering a different experience for visitors. No additional infrastructure, scalability and no large compounds.


    1. Alex March 14, 2018 4:45 pm

      We can set ourselves apart, but only when we limit the kinds of vacation rentals that a single host can build carefully. Because the trend for vacation rentals is also to go larger and larger — “monster house” and/or multiple properties — because there is more money in larger scale. The unfortunate secret of the vacation rental industry is that scale = profitability. In my analysis, I found that 6% of vacation rental owners have several properties, often on different sides of the island. Some are going large.


  11. Grumpier March 14, 2018 3:24 pm

    You dont need new rules or laws, enforce the ones there. Can’t stop the noise and arguments, BS, that is arrestable offense and if you get an officer that wont take care of the problem, you call their rank.

    As far as those renting out rooms getting lower, its because of your constant taxing. It goes from helping you and them, to the county has to get their share, and now you want to raise them again. Do so, and we take your pay away by vote.


  12. onceawarrior March 14, 2018 9:48 pm

    IMHO, the issue for the council is first to uphold the zoning laws.
    Agriculturally zoned lands allow a dwelling, whether simple or mansion like, for producing agricultural products.
    Vacation rental use of a dwelling or even mansions on agricultural land is a misuse.
    If balance means granting exceptions or exemptions to scofflaws or to advocates in the name of economic enhancement, that action would then exacerbate the legislative trust . Make believe farms would continue to misuse lands and flourish under pretense.


  13. italiantina March 17, 2018 6:17 pm

    I believe the problem Jolene Mears speaks about in the above article was due to the fact that the house across from her was managed by Sunquest. They don’t care who they put into the home as long as it’s rented. There is no screening, no owner on island to care. Why not regulate bad managers and out of state owners. Don’t shut down affordable housing for mainland vacationing families just because of a few bad apples.


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