Wednesday, October 20, 1999

City & County of Honolulu

Felix cited for
home weddings

A city spokeswoman says the
councilman has 30 days to halt
operations or to file an appeal

By Gordon Y.K. Pang


City Councilman John Henry Felix says he will likely appeal a citation to stop him from holding wedding ceremonies in his Aina Haina home.

The notice of violation that was to be issued today by Planning Director Jan Sullivan was to state that Felix cannot operate a commercial wedding operation in a residential district.

Felix, who moved into the three-building, Kalanianaole Highway compound early last month, has maintained there is no wedding chapel but that he is allowed to conduct services under the city's definition of "home occupation."

City spokeswoman Carol Costa said yesterday that Felix will have 30 days to cease operations or appeal to the city Zoning Board of Appeals. No fines would be issued before then.

Since early September, Felix has charged 20 or more couples $300 each to use his home used for symbolic wedding ceremonies.

"They're all married in Japan. They do not obtain licenses here," he said.

Felix said each of the last two owners of the property also held wedding services at the house.

Don Clegg, a Felix consultant who previously held the land use and planning posts for the city, said the city's definition of home occupation allows for the services without the need for a permit provided the primary use is as a home and those working there are residents.

In this case, the main use of the house is as Felix's home, he said. Services are held in the living room and receptions in the pool deck area.

Felix said five others who work as wedding conductor, caterer, photographers and vocalist also all live on the compound, Felix said. Ron Boyer, Felix's chief Council aide, conducts the ceremonies while the caterer is Boyer's wife. A sixth person, his personal aide, also lives on site.

Wallace Lam, who lives several houses down, said he doesn't think everyone Felix listed actually lives on the compound "but I can't prove it."

Lam said he and others worry about the precedent that would be set if Felix is allowed to continue holding ceremonies.

"Once you open the door, that's it," he said, noting that he and neighbors know of other potential operators in the area awaiting the outcome of the Felix site.

"We like this area as a residential area and enjoyed it for many years and we would hate for it to be transformed into a business area."

Felix said he's taken out pews that were previously installed and tried to make the house more of a residence.

On Monday night, the Aina Haina Community Association voted to oppose the use of the home for wedding services.

E-mail to City Desk

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