New State Study by DBEDT Declares Vacation Rentals Contributing to Housing Shortage!
Oahu is facing a 26,000 home shortage between 2015 and 2025 and the conversion of residential homes into vacation rentals has contributed to the problem according to Department of Business, Economic Development & Tourism.
Kailua residents have been saying for years that short-term rentals (B&B hotels and vacation rentals) are displacing our neighbors from our community and driving up long-term rental rates. The 36 page study stated “Another important driver of housing demand is the increase in the number of residential rental units being used as vacation rentals”.
Council member Ikaika Anderson is proposing to allow both vacation rentals and B&B hotels to proliferate in residential zoning. His Resolution 15-72 (Allows B&B hotels to be conforming in residential zoning) would allow 3975 hotel rooms in residential neighborhoods. 1325 of the rooms could be in located in Kailua. That would be the same as having the Royal Hawaiian Hotel, The Kahala Resort and the Turtle Bay Resort being located in Kailua.
Resolution 15-86 (allows vacation rentals to be conforming in residential zoning) has not determine how many hotels rooms will be allowed in residential zoning, but most predict it would double the number of hotel rooms in residential zoning. Clearly, Oahu can not afford to be losing any residential houses, apartments, cottages or rooms to any short-term rental proposals.
Please Protect Kailua’s Neighborhoods!
City Council proposes to legalize Vacation Rentals & B&B Hotels in Residential-Zoning
Zoning Committee Hearing on Thursday April 2nd @ 9am
The “illegal” vacation rental industry has swayed Zoning Committee Chair Ikaika Anderson to hear two new resolutions that will allow B&B hotels and Vacation Rentals to proliferate in all Oahu residential neighborhoods.
Resolution 15-72 (permits B&B hotels) and Resolution 15-86 (permits vacation rentals/TVU) will allow thousands of hotel-like rooms to legally operate in Kailua’s residential neighborhoods.
Please OPPOSE both resolutions 15-72 & 15-86 by submitting your testimony at: http://www.honolulu.gov/ccl-testimony-form.html?view=form
Be sure to click zoning committee, list both resolutions 15-72 & 15-86 in the Agenda box and click OPPOSE.
Stand Up and Be Heard!
The Zoning Committee meeting will be on Thursday, April 2nd at 9 AM at Honolulu Hale in the Committee meeting room. Please attend and testify! We know the illegal vacation rental owners will be there since they have an obvious financial interest in the resolutions. We need Kailua’s residents to tell Anderson and other Council members we oppose these ill-conceived resolutions!
For more information and the latest developments; Please like us on Facebook – Keep it Kailua
It’s Spot-Zoning at its Worst
Currently B&B hotels and vacation rentals are non-conforming in residential zoning and can only operate with a non-conforming use certificates. But both resolutions will make visitor-lodging businesses “conforming” in residential zoning. Furthermore, both resolutions do not allow neighbors or community members to submit input during the permit process and neighbors will only be notified after a TVU/B&B hotel permit has been issued. There are also no distance-separations between lodging business, so many neighborhoods will be overwhelmed by them and will become de-facto mini-resorts. Large hotel chains could even manage the properties!
A Very Slippery Slope for our Community
Anderson has claimed he will “limit” the number lodging businesses in residential zoning, but this is impossible. By law, no City Council can ever bind another council’s legislature. In other words, any so-called “limits” can be changed at any time by any council. Once you start permitting, it becomes a slippery slope. These lodging businesses will cement Kailua’s future as a tourist town and change the local residential-character of the community forever. Our community is already facing traffic nightmares, increasing housing-costs and other social-ills. Becoming the Windward Waikiki will only worsen our problems!
Just Say No!
Legalizing vacation rentals and B&B hotels in residential zoning will not solve the core-problems these businesses create in our neighbors and our communities. The core problems with these businesses in residential zoning are they reduce our housing-supply and therefore raise housing-costs. And they negatively change the residential character of our neighborhoods by displacing our neighbors with a revolving door of vacationers.
We Need Homes for Residents, Not Mini-Hotels for Tourists
Every home, studio, cottage or room that is used as a visitor lodging business is one less home for Oahu’s residents. Oahu is facing a housing-supply crisis that most experts believe is contributing to our worsening homelessness problem. Our residential communities need more long-term rentals. Legalizing short-term rentals takes away the opportunity for these properties to house local residents. The City Administration has stated Oahu needs an additional 24,000 homes by 2016 in order to shelter Oahu’s residents. It’s truly nonsensical to be reducing the number of homes for residents in order to give tourist a so-called “alternative” experience.
Most Neighbors oppose living next to or near visitor lodging businesses because they displace neighbors from our neighborhood and change the residential character of the neighborhood and the community. Short-term tenants have little interest in public agencies or in the welfare of the citizenry. They do not participate in neighborhood watch programs, coach paddling, or join the hospital guild. They do not lead a scout troop, volunteer at the library, or keep an eye on an elderly neighbor. Literally they are here today and gone tomorrow–without engaging in the sort of activities that weld and strengthen a community.
Anderson’s Proposed Enforcement Measures Unproven
Ikaika Anderson claims his resolution will “some-how” improve enforcement of illegal short-term rentals. We don’t believe it! His resolutions are filled with loopholes and bureaucratic red-tape. In fact, a neighbor cannot even file a complaint with the City unless they first obtain a police report. This is a waste of Police resources. Furthermore, Anderson is refusing to hear the DPP’s Bill 22 that was unanimously passed by the Planning Commission and according to the DPP’s Director will improve the City’s ability to enforce zoning laws against illegal short-term rentals. We support Bill 22 and believe it should be implemented and “proven” before any discussions of allowing more visitor-lodging businesses in Kailua.
Resolutions Reward Illegal Operators
Both resolutions will reward illegal operators with lucrative permits who have been knowingly breaking the law. There are no restrictions to who can apply for a permit, including proven violators who have received violations from the City. The illegal short-term rental owners will be first in line to receive permits since they already have established their “illegal” businesses. Based upon the proposed number of permits to be granted for both B&B hotels and vacation rental, most industry insiders predict every illegal operator will be issued a permit despite thousands of complaints by neighbors. Apparently crime does pay!
Zoning should Regulate Land-uses
Clearly, vacation rentals and B&B hotels are lodging businesses that serve the same business purpose as hotels, motels, lodges and Inns. Our zoning laws regulate and separate land-uses in order to protect the delicate distribution of land-uses and avoid land-use conflicts between neighboring properties. Resolutions 15-72 and 15-86 turn residential zoning laws up-side down! Many in our community do not want to live next to mini-hotels. They selected residential zoning for their homes and believe they have the right to live in a neighborhood with neighbors and not a revolving door of tourists. Anderson claims he just “cannot” figure out the difference between renting short-term (less than 30 days) and long-term (more than 30 days). But we can! It basically comes down to the purpose of the tenancy. Short-term stays, also called transient-stays are lodging activities. Visitors are only staying in accommodations for a short-period of time and are not utilizing the lodging as their permanent residence. In contrast, long-term rentals provide residents a home where they reside permanently and contribute to the wellbeing of the neighborhood and the community. This is not rocket-science! Maybe Anderson just does not want to know the difference?
As we expected, Ikaika Anderson has included a new resolution 15-86 to be heard at his City Council Zoning committee meeting on Thursday April 2 that will allow vacation rentals (TVU’s) to proliferate in residential neighborhoods. Vacation rentals have no owners on site and can be owned by investors and speculators. In addition to resolution 15-86, resolution 15-72 that will allow thousands of B&B hotel rooms in residential neighborhoods, will also be heard at the committee meeting.
Resolution 15-86: http://www4.honolulu.gov/…/D…/dspage08733866147535967792.pdf
Resolution 15-72: http://www4.honolulu.gov/…/D…/dspage07715327809893714702.pdf
Please OPPOSE both resolutions by attending the meeting on April 2 at 9AM and submitting testimony at
(Please submit separate opposition for Resolutions 15-72 & 15-86)
Enforcement Regulations Don’t Apply To Illegal Vacation Rentals (TVU)
Council Member Ikaika Andersons’s resolution 15-72 regulations do not apply to illegal vacation rentals (TVU’s) as Anderson has implied on his official Facebook page. In fact, the words TVU or vacation rentals are never even mentioned in the 15 page document. Anderson claims he is proposing a so called “balanced” approach by permitting illegal B&B hotels and improving enforcement regulations against illegal short-term rentals.
On Anderson’s Facebook page, Anderson stated; “My resolution will crack down on the current illegals- all illegals, B&Bs & TVUs alike- while allowing a permitting mechanism for a limited # of owner-occupied B&Bs. There’s room to do both at the same time.”
After our legal advisers evaluated the resolution, its clear Anderson’s resolution only applies to B&B hotels in requiring a permit number be included on all of their advertisements (a key requirement in helping shut down illegal operations)! In addition, Anderson proposed fine structure and other ineffective regulations will also only apply to B&B hotels, not TVU’s.
It’s estimated that Anderson’s bill will allow 2000 B&B hotels and 6000 B&B hotels rooms in Oahu residential-zone neighborhoods. According to the proposal, Kailua could have approximate 2000 B&B hotel rooms. That would be the same as putting the Royal Hawaiian, the Moana Hotel, the Kahala Resort, the Turtle Bay Resort and Ko Olina Hotel in Kailua (soon to be named KAIKIKI)!
B&B hotels and vacation rentals reduce our residential housing supply and raise housing costs for all residents. Kailua is a residential community, but the proposed astronomical increase in the number of B&B hotels will change the residential character of our neighborhoods and community by displacing our neighbors with a revolving door of vacationers.
It’s now becoming apparent; Anderson has no desire to shut down any illegal short-term rentals. In addition, Anderson’s law will most likely reward every illegal B&B hotel with a permit, so there will be no need for enforcement regarding B&B hotels.
Clearly, Anderson is intently trying to mislead the residents of Oahu. Does Anderson really believe residents are that stupid?
Please submit testimony to firstname.lastname@example.org and state you OPPOSE resolution 15-72.
Propose Resolution 15-72; http://www4.honolulu.gov/docushare/dsweb/Get/Document-162832/dspage07715327809893714702.pdf
A recent vote drew national attention to a rare Hawaii effort opposing tourism business. But board members only want the law enforced.
A bill that looks to eliminate illegal short term vacation rentals from Oahu gained a preliminary approval from the Honolulu City Council Wednesday. Residents in Lanikai have long complained about noise and safety concerns due to the rentals.
“They’re not real neighbors. There are people coming and going you don’t know who they are and they displace real neighbors. They might be people you car pool with, might be someone who looks out for you or who you look out for. There’s these strangers coming in and out instead of that,” said Lanikai resident Lisa Marten.
Bill 22 in the city council would step up enforcement power by the Department of Planning and Permitting. The department currently has many hurdles to pass in order to identify and eliminate illegal rentals. Some believe the bill goes too far.
“Bill 22 comes at it from only one angle enforcement. There is no ability to provide for owner occupied bed and breakfasts,” said councilmember Ikaika Anderson.
Anderson proposes that along with increased enforcement, new bed and breakfast units should be approved. He said the language of the bill will greatly reduce the illegal rental problem.
“There must be certification that the owner’s primary residence is on the same tax map key parcel as the bed and breakfast proposed,” reads Resolution 15-72.
Anderson said he’ll hold Bill 22 in committee until his resolution makes it through the council.
The resolution will be heard by zoning and planning committee April 2.
Along with efforts by the city and county of Honolulu, the state is also looking to regulate the rental business through House Bill 825.
A Honolulu Star Advertiser series on illegal vacation rentals by Allison Schaefers has validated Keep it Kailua’s Position that illegal lodging businesses in residential-zoning are a significant problem that are harming Hawaii’s neighbors, neighborhoods and residential communities. Below are PDF files of all the articles.
The next major wave of foreign investors buying US real estate appears to be coming from China. A recent AP article brought to light the fact that wealthy Chinese homebuyers have poured into the U.S., spending $22 billion on property in the states, tops among all foreign purchasers over the 12 months preceding a March study from the National Association of Realtors. That was up from $12.8 billion the previous year, when Chinese buyers also took the No. 1 spot.
According to a 2012 Hawaii Business Magazine article, Hawaii Realtor Patricia Choi (ranked as the #1 Broker on Oahu by the magazine for 4 years) believes there is so much potential in the China market and she’s focusing more and more attention on China. She stated in the article; “I’ll be leaving on a flight to China next week”. And “This is my third year in a row that I’m going to China.”
Will some Chinese bought 2nd home investments become “illegal” vacation rentals? It’s appears to be likely. Many of the neighbors who live near illegal Kailua vacation rentals deem the majority of illegal businesses are owned by out-of-state speculators who often claim they are unaware of the zoning ordinances that regulate vacation rentals on Oahu.
Hawaii Business Magazine Article:
A very well-written and heart-felt essay…
Feathered clouds painted the blue sky as the tradewinds finally flowed through the coconut trees. The sun hid behind the Koʻolau mountain range beaming its rays on west Oahu. My wife and I sat outside our house on the white bench my dad made out of extra two-by-fours.
We like to relax and spend time together during our weekends. There was an event taking place a mile away at the Kailua Whole Foods. We had nothing else planned, which is unusual because my wife likes to have a plan, so we decided we’d take an afternoon stroll.
As we walked down Kainalu Dr. I reminisced to my wife on how I would walk home from school and get into little scuffles on the side of the road. An uncle or aunty would stop their car on the road to yell at us, “Cut it out!” which only led to us fleeing the scene.
Then as we turned the corner onto Ku’ulei Rd, I shared stories of my friends and I riding our bikes through the streets on Fridays after our half days at school and go to Andy’s Drive-Inn for hamburger steak. Those were good times. Simpler times. I find myself doing this often, reminiscing.
Today, when you reach Ku’ulei Rd, you can be welcomed with traffic and herds of rental scooters dodging tourists on rental bikes. I never knew there could ever be traffic in Kailua, but there is now.
As my wife and I made our way past 7-Eleven and towards the closed down 76 gas station, we passed by crowds of people. I knew they weren’t from Kailua or maybe they just moved in to town. People who are born and raised in Kailua can pick each other out from a crowd. It’s like this innate connection we get at birth.
When we made it to Whole Foods, I was amazed at the crowd there. It was a cool event filled with music, food, and arts and crafts vendors. It was nice to see a community come together. But, while I stood there and looked around my wife knew I didn’t feel at ease, plus I’m not a big fan of crowds overall.
While we waited in line to grab a little bag of kettle-corn (because, who can resist freshly made kettle corn?) I over heard a group of people talking.
“I just moved here from Washington”
“Cool, we’re from Texas.”
“Oh nice, our friends we came with are from Texas.”
I began to get the feeling of me being the visitor from out of town.
After we grabbed our kettle corn, we continued to make our walk around the tents. We came across a small tent that was selling handcrafted shell jewelry. There was an older Hawaiian woman, a kupuna, sitting behind the table just staring off into the parking lot as a younger woman, probably her daughter stood, talking to customers. While my wife looked through the earrings and bracelets, I looked at the kupuna and she looked straight back at me with her dark brown eyes with crow’s feet wrinkles.
I smiled and nodded. She smiled back and turned back to staring out as if she was looking out at the ocean sunrise.
But within that small interaction there was an understanding. The feeling of lost and reminiscences of the past were all over her face and she saw it on mine as well. We moved on and I could feel the kupuna watching me while we walked away. I was another extra that played a small role in her movie that she was directing.
After we made our rounds and picked up a drink for our walk back home, we took a seat outside of Whole Foods on the small wall near the back entrance.
“What are you thinking?” my wife asked, she knew I was still bothered and she’d been watching my eyes wander.
“It’s gone…” I replied.
We believe that it’s all about perspective when it comes to our emotions. For happiness, it’s important to find what we are grateful for instead of focusing on what we do not have.
But there I sat on a wall feeling distant, small, and in search of what was. I watched the cars roar by, bikes crowd the street, people from all over the country and island share drinks and laughter, music play, and tourists come from every corner. It was definitely a positive environment. But to me, it was too much and I knew it was just the beginning.
People say that Kailua is becoming this new hip place filled with small boutiques, restaurants, cafes, markets, and needs more to grow the ‘economy’. It’s a cool town for fashion trends, style, and beach goers to visit. Tourists are told Kailua is a quiet beach town and a perfect way to experience local life away from Waikiki and Honolulu. So bus loads flock over to experience this oasis of small town Hawaii which is becoming more like Ala Moana.
Society believes that in order to improve a place, it needs more things. More people, more cars, more damn trees to beautify the streets, more businesses, more buildings, and more attractions. But it’s good for new businesses others would say. Increased economy doesn’t mean you have to build more, it means you have to contribute more. Investors are buying homes to turn them into vacation rentals, people are having to rent parts of their house to vacationers to help pay their mortgage and increasing property taxes, and family’s who spent their whole lives through the generations have to sell their houses because they can no longer afford it.
My question is, when is it enough?
So there I sat on the wall, accepting the fact that Kailua was no more. It was unreal and sad to see the constant changes over the years I lived away from Hawaii. Each visit showing the downfall of a small town. I can only imagine what my parents see, being born and raised in Kailua, as they drive through their hometown.
I looked over to my wife and asked, “You ready?” She nodded and we got up from our seat and made our way back home while I continued to reminisce of the Kailua that once was.
With every end, there is a new beginning. Mind you, I have no ill feelings towards the new development and people coming into Kailua. Places change as time evolves.
Though I can’t hide the fact that the small beach town that was known for its quiet and country-like feel is now crowded, filled with noise, and more changes are to come. I still love my Kailua, because once a Kailua Boy is always a Kailua Boy.
But as times change in Hawaii, we all, including the tourists and people moving to Hawaii, need to take a step back and slow things down or else the small things that makes us fall in love with this paradise we call home will soon be gone.
Aloha and A hui hou.