December 4, 2013
Kailua, Hawaii Residents Want Tourists To Stay Away

Kailua, Hawaii, residents have asked the state tourism agency to stop recommending the suburb as a tourist destination. Many residents complain that vacationers are taking over their neighborhoods and are often disruptive.

Although there are an estimated 500 rental properties marketed to tourists, less than 100 have proper permits. A majority of the rentals are improperly licensed as vacation homes. However, the state continues to suggest the suburb as a travel destination.

Residents are upset, as the rental properties are taking over their neighborhoods. The Kailua Neighborhood Board said homes that should be available to residents have been turned into bed-and-breakfast locations and vacation rentals. Board members argue that the practice has increased housing prices and limited supply.

As reported by San Francisco Gate, Kailua, Hawaii, board member Lisa Marten said the neighborhoods no longer "feel like a neighborhood." She is also concerned for her safety. She said it is difficult to distinguish the residents from the tourists.

Marten said two of her neighbors have turned their homes into rental properties. She said some of the renters are terribly disruptive. Earlier this year, one of the homes was rented by a large group, who proceeded to party and use "drugs from morning till night."

As the mother of small children, Marten asked the tourists to take their party inside. However, they refused, pointing out that they had licenses to smoke medical marijuana.

The Australian reports that the neighborhood board passed a resolution in September, which asked the state to stop promoting their town as a tourist destination. The board has no power to change the law, so the resolution is more of a suggestion. They can only hope the state will take it into consideration.

Not everyone agrees with the neighborhood board's assessment. Ikaika Anderson represents Kailua on the Honolulu City Council. Anderson said the board's suggestion is "an embarrassment" and does not reflect the opinion of all residents. The councilwoman said tourism supports the local economy and provides jobs.

Angie Larson, with the Hawaii Vacation Rental Owners Association, said it is "too late to keep Hawaii in a box." She said tourists already know Kailua, Hawaii, is a premier tourist destination.

[Image via Flickr]