KAILUA, Hawaii – Many have wondered about a recent resolution made by our Kailua Neighborhood Board opposing the issuance of new permits for tourist rentals in residential communities in Kailua Hawaii. This, in fact drew national attention with many kailua news and hawaii news outlets showing confounding headlines stating that Kailua residents want tourists to stay away, as they covered kailua events.
The resolution was in line with what the board has been pushing for since September 2013, which is to request the HTA to stop visitors from renting short-term vacation lodges in Kailua. Our neighborhoods are not resort-zoned, they are to provide lodging for the locals only.
Transient vacation units and B&Bs are not allowed in residential zoned areas. There is an estimated 500 TVUs and B&Bs here in Kailua and over 85% of them are operating illegally. These short-term rentals are responsible for the alarming rise in rent and housing prices in the district since they trim down rental housing opportunities for us. Aside from this, the board as shown on hawaii news, is also concerned that these TVUs generate negative impact on the safety and cultural character of true kailua living.
The board wants to make it clear that this resolution does not state that tourists are no longer welcome in our district, but to ask the Hawaii Tourism Authority to stop encouraging illegal tourist-hostel businesses in residential-zoned communities. The HTA promotional materials do not inform tourists if their rentals are operating illegally or not.
The HTA should have informed visitors on how to determine whether their short-term accommodation are legitimate. They should have disclosed to kailua news and the media that cover kailua events, that this resolution is an objection about the promotion of vacation rental units in a residential-only zoned area and not against tourism as a whole. Our city officials and lawmakers should also be answerable for not making the public understand the intent of the resolution. Lastly, owners of TVU’s and B&B’s that are operating illegally, should be held accountable for breaking the law. A call for increased zoning reinforcement is made so that locals can enjoy kailua living at its best and without any worries.