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Windmills and Vacation Rentals

Updated: Sep 16, 2020

Na Pua Makani (Wind Flowers), the latest industrial wind development in our region, is under construction near Kahuku High and Intermediate Schools. The service roads and foundation work are being built to support eight new 568’ turbines that will surround the town and loom over the residents of Kahuku. These massive towers will dwarf the exiting wind 428’ turbines.

Keep the North Shore Country has challenged the adequacy of Na Pua Makani’s Habitat Conservation Plan over the last two years, and recently filed an appeal with the Intermediate Court of Appeals to reverse approval of the plan. At issue is whether or not the wind project will effectively minimize and mitigate the destruction of our endangered ʻōpeʻapeʻa, or Hawaiian hoary bat. Details can be found at (Full disclosure: I am a director of this non-profit organization.)

Na Pua Makani is presently seeking permits to cut trees and relocate utility lines around Waimea Bay to facilitate delivery of the gigantic turbine parts to the construction site. Residents may remember the difficulty the first wind project had getting its turbine blades around the bay. These new turbines are much longer. Information about the delivery plans will be made public when details are finalized.

Since the City Council passed Bill 89 relating to vacation rentals, I have had many inquiries about the new law. The key point to remember is that this bill did not make vacation rentals illegal – they have been illegal since 1989. What this law does is make advertising illegal vacation rentals illegal, while also creating a new permitting process for a limited number of owner occupied bed and breakfast units.

Condo units at Kuilima were originally thought to be exempt from regulation, but they are not. The law says condos in certain apartment zoned land, within 3500 feet of a resort area of at least 50 acres that was comprehensively zoned according to a master plan are exempt from the law. However, on closer review, only condos at Koolina fit this description.

Kuilima is not exempt from the law, so only those units holding Non-conforming Use Certificates are allowed to operate as vacation rentals. Because Kuilima is part of Koolauloa, owners will be eligible to apply for the limited number (23) of bed and breakfast permits that will be allowed in that moku. No new permits will be allowed between Kaena Point and Waialee because of prohibiting language in the North Shore Sustainable Communities Plan.

Home exchange programs are not exempt from zoning and tax laws. Other details and FAQ are available for review under News at

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