Kailua's community gets together every year for the "I Love Kailua Town Party"
Kailua’s community gets together every year for the “I Love Kailua Town Party”

The Kailua Neighborhood Board is protesting the Hawaii Tourism Authority’s decision to advertise the small town community as a tourist destination.

At its meeting of September 5, 2013, the Kailua Neighborhood Board overwhelmingly adopted a resolution asking the HTA to respect the zoning and quality of life of residential neighborhoods and stop promoting Kailua as an alternative to Waikiki.

The HTA on its web site tells potential visitors that “If you are planning a family vacation or you’re traveling with a large group to Oahu, a Kailua vacation rental can be the perfect solution.…the Kailua area offers a peaceful alternative to lively Waikiki.”

“The Board finds that this is directly contrary to the Honolulu City Council decision in 1989 to phase out short-term rentals in residential areas in order to give protection and relief to impacted communities. It contributes to the City’s problem of enforcement against illegal short-term rentals,” a statement from the Kailua Neighborhood Board said. “The HTA action adds to problems created by short-term rentals of escalating housing prices, and scarce rentals; and affects the safety, social, cultural and environmental character of residential neighborhoods.”

The controversy is just another example of ongoing tension in Kailua between merchants and vacation rental owners who want to attract more tourists, and many residents who want to keep Kailua a small community without large crowds and tourist buses.