A Kauai citizens petition to transfer approval of permits for construction of transient accommodation units from the Planning Department to the Kauai County Council was overwhelmingly approved by voters yesterday. This issue was driven by a recent-years spike in such new units that exceeded what was envisioned in the General Plan causing concern about changing the character of Kauai. Approval of new permits will now be restricted to a number consistent with the general plan.
At first glance, this restriction would seem to benefit owners of existing vacation rentals by restricting future supply and therefore driving up occupancy rates. The immediate impact on development may well be small given the current downturn in construction. In the future, the method for apportioning a limited number of permits remains to be seen. Also unknown is whether what appears to be a restriction on private property rights will be challenged in court.
[Disclaimer: Opinions on the meaning and impact of this amendment are solely my own and may not be consistent with other interpretations.]
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