New & Noteworthy: Kaua‘i TVR Dispute; Hilo Landfill To Close; and Corrections

posted in: February 2019 | 0

Relief Sought: Elizabeth Kendrick and Joe Chaulklin are owners of a house in Anahola, Kauai, that has been offered as a vacation rental for years. Listed price for the Ginger Beach House, as it’s advertised, is $12,500 a week, plus a cleaning fee, taxes, and a reservation fee.

Their operation of the vacation rental was sanctioned by Kauai County up until December 12, 2017. After that, the county informed them that they could no longer legally rent out the house, since they had not submitted their application to renew their transient vacation rental (TVR) in timely fashion.

Kendrick and Chaulklin appealed the decision of the Planning Department, which proceeded to hold a contested case hearing on the matter. Their attorney, Gregory Kugle, argued that the mere fact that his clients missed a filing deadline should not result in the loss of their permit: “Requiring petitioners to forfeit their nonconforming use based on a missed ministerial renewal date is inconsistent with state statute and county ordinance because petitioners did not discontinue their lawful TVR use.” He also claimed that under Planning Commission rules, his clients should have had a 30-day grace period to submit their renewal application. Last but by no means least, he said, “the Planning Department disregarded basic principles of due process because it denied petitioners their valid vested property rights.”

The hearing officer upheld the Planning Department’s decision. At the request of Kugle, the full Planning Commission heard further argument in November 2018. And again, the denial of the TVR permit was upheld.

All the while, Kendrick and Chaulklin continued to rent out the Ginger Beach House. In late November, the county sought an injunction in 5th Circuit Court, seeking to force them to cease operations.

Last month, Kugle sought to have the litigation removed to federal court in Honolulu. Kendrick and Chaulklin, he stated, “are now and were at the time” the county filed its complaint “domiciled in the state of Wyoming.”

Ginger Beach House, LLC, meanwhile, was registered to do business in Hawaii in 2013. According to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, it is no longer in good standing, having failed to file an annual report for 2018.

Hilo Landfill Closure: For more than a quarter-century, Hawaii County has been struggling to figure out how to close the Hilo landfill. Unlined, over-full, and with wastes containing arsenic and other hazardous materials, the landfill has been a burr in the saddle of every administration since the early 1990s.

Now, though, the county’s Department of Environmental Management believes the end is nigh. Department director William Kucharski said at a recent meeting of the Environmental Management Commission that the bids from contractors proposing to close the landfill would be opened this month (February).

That timetable has slipped a bit from the date Kucharski had announced earlier. In November, he had said bid opening would occur in January. He explained the reason at the EMC meeting: “We’re looking at applying Astroturf” to cover the closed landfill, Kucharski said. “No one in the state has done that before, so the state contracting board has to review that.”

While the municipal waste that previously was disposed of in Hilo will now be taken to the county’s landfill on the west side, at Puuanahulu, Kucharski said the increased traffic from county trucks would be minimal. “The new flow from Hilo will be about eight trucks per day,” he said. With the addition of a second scale at Puuanahulu, he added, current users of the west side landfill should not notice any increase in wait times.

(In October 1998, Environment Hawaii published a short history of the landfill and the myriad problems associated with its closure. That article may be read at www.environment-hawaii.org.)

Corrections: Our January “Board Talk” column incorrectly stated that the water diverted from Waikoko and Waialeale streams served hydroelectric plants along the Kekaha and Kokee ditches. The plants served are, in fact, along the Iliiliula-Waiahi Ditch system.

Also in January, a New & Noteworthy item on the Kahala Hotel suggested David Kimo Frankel had argued that the Land Board had violated the land use law. Actually, Frankel argued that the board had violated the coastal zone management law.

We sincerely regret the errors.

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