Kauai mayor considers lifting ban on vacation rentals
LIHUE, Hawaii (AP) — Kauai’s mayor is considering lifting a ban on legal transient vacation rentals on the flood-ravaged north shore if owners agree to house some of the families displaced by severe flooding and landslides.
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said Friday the county would use $100,000 in emergency relief funds to pay for the temporary housing and would ask for discounted rates, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported .
“I think it would be a win-win,” he said. “We can get some of our north shore residents out of their tents and cars and we can help the legal transient vacation unit owners get back to business.”
A total of 15 families were displaced when their homes were destroyed in mid-April.
Carvalho issued an executive order in May prohibiting vacation rentals from operating in Lumahai, Wainiha and Haena so the county could concentrate on helping residents affected by the disaster. The order was expected to stand until at least October.
Kauai Visitors Bureau Executive Director Sue Kanoho said giving transient vacation unit owners a chance to recoup some of the revenue lost over the last three months would be “huge for them.”
The proposed arrangement might also help owners who don’t qualify for individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency because their property is a second home, Carvalho said
While the state’s original application for flooding assistance for Honolulu and Kauai was denied, officials from the state, the counties and FEMA worked together on a new one that was approved last month.
Up to $410,231 is set aside for Kauai individuals and households, while Honolulu’s allocation is $579,446, said Cindy McMillan, spokeswoman for Gov. David Ige.
Carvalho estimated each qualifying Kauai household would get about $34,000 for housing assistance and other needs related to their primary homes.
The county doesn’t have an official count of how many transient vacation rentals are in the Lumahai, Wainiha and Haena region or how many are second homes or investment properties.
Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com