City bill would limit new B & B's


POSTED: Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New bed-and-breakfasts would be allowed up to a certain number, with other restrictions in place aimed at preventing communities from losing a residential feel, under a proposal advanced by the City Council.

The version of Bill 7 approved by the Council yesterday would require that the property owner be a resident of the bed-and-breakfast operation and set limits on the number of rooms and guests allowed, among other provisions.

The new floor draft of Bill 7 was approved 5-3, with one member absent. It now goes back to the Zoning Committee for further crafting before coming back to the full Council for a final vote.

Councilman Ikaika Anderson, author of the floor draft, acknowledged that the measure is a “;work in progress,”; and he expects changes.

“;Let's take this back to the Zoning Committee, discuss this one more time,”; he said.

The move by the Council ensures more testimony from community residents who showed up in force at Honolulu Hale yesterday to passionately argue their cases. Council members heard roughly four hours of testimony on the matter.

Opponents of bed-and-breakfasts and transient vacation units spoke of residential neighborhoods becoming “;mini-Waikikis”; with rental cars lining streets and strangers lurking in neighborhoods.

They urged Council members to kill the legislation to preserve the residential quality of neighborhoods.

“;We need tourism, we just don't need it at the expense of residents,”; said Kailua resident Laurel Anderson.

Supporters of the businesses say most bed-and-breakfast operators are responsible owners who contribute to the economic vitality of a community and provide a service for many who prefer to stay outside the tourist district of Waikiki.

They say bed-and-breakfasts also serve to help “;empty nesters”; and seniors make additional income for mortgage payments and other financial obligations.

Supporter Will Page disagreed with characterizations of bed-and-breakfast and rental units as homes for drug dealers, casinos or other illegal activity.

“;B and B's provide a good and genuine service,”; he said. “;They provide a place for a visitor to rest their head.”;

Councilwoman Ann Kobayashi was among those who favored a crackdown on illegal bed-and-breakfasts before allowing more to start up.

“;Right now we can't enforce what we have,”; she said. “;I think we should show that enforcement can work.”;