Commercializing Oahu’s Neighborhoods

Commercializing Oahu’s Neighborhoods

Nothing is more in conflict with the essentials of private property rights then the creeping use of vacation rentals in many of Oahu’s neighborhoods.   The idea that a person should not be able to use their property as they see fit (within the parameter of neighborhood peace and security) is what divides freedom loving societies from those of arbitrary restrictions.   People working out of their homes or renting their property out to others can all be done without negatively impacting those around them and is beneficial and often essential for individual prosperity.
The worldwide vacation rental phenomena presents a unique challenge because of the following facts:
  • Tampering with an individual’s use of their property is something we want government agencies entering into, only under strict circumstances.
  • A person’s ability to receive income off their property is a just and wise use of that investment.
  • In a free market society an individual or group has the right to structure the sale, rental or use of their property to achieve the highest possible return.

Aside from zoning laws, tax questions and loss of monthly rental units, the conversion of residential homes into commercial/resort use can perpetuate spiraling costs that are difficult to control.  Investment value is based on cost versus return on investment.   It would take one million dollars invested at 10% interest to realize a one hundred thousand dollar a year return on investment.   At 5% (not an unreasonable return based on the security level of the investment) it would pay fifty thousand a year.  This is the best way to establish the investment value of a vacation rental property which is its worth is based on its commercial not residential value.

It is not difficult to see this spiral eventually forcing those who can only afford residential market cost out of many areas and having formerly residential areas becoming dominated by commercial investment interest.   This is why even those homeowners prospering off vacation rentals should be leery of the long term trend.

Turning neighbors against neighbors to try and control vacation rentals or bringing in groups like Airbnb to sponsor favorable legislation to legitimize vacation rentals across the state doesn’t deal with the essential problems.

Tourism trends such as how does vacation rental cost and amenities vs hotel/resort cost and amenities compare, and how does this effect a visitors choice of lodging need to be examined and understood.

Long term quality of life issues for residents as their neighborhoods become more commercialized and does that same issue create a shrinking value of visiting experience for tourist need to be examined to be in control of, not driven by, these trends.

Questions such as does Waikiki need to be transformed more fully into a resort only community with ambiance and facilities attractive to the contemporary taste of both residence and visitors alike?

Do some presently residential only neighborhoods need to have resort/commercial areas established like those in Princeville on Kauai to help keep the residential property base separate from the resort/commercial property base?

These are questions the present Democrat controlled legislature/government are reluctant to ask because their own over-spending and poor allocation of resources has made the quest for cash, the dominate factor in most legislative issues.

Quality of life analysis and maintaining neighborhood peace are being lost without a alternative voice for these issues that only a resurgent GOP can provide.

Doing nothing to address the long term trends that underlay the vacation rental industry represents the all to common benign neglect (or worse making the wrong choice) the state of Hawaii seems to fall into when dealing with serious public issues.

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