The city of Honolulu is letting people off easy for violating laws that ban commercial activity in residential areas, such as renting out homes for weddings, according to Honolulu City Council members.

Indeed, past media reports show that the city often reduces fines for such activities. For instance, an illegal wedding business owned by supermodel Kathy Ireland in Kahala was only required to pay 5 percent of city fines, KHON reported last year.

But that could change.

Honolulu Councilmembers Stanley Chang and Ann Kobayashi have introduced a bill that would require council approval if the city wants to seek a reduced settlement for accrued fines, according to a Wednesday press release.

“Illegal commercial activities occurring in residential areas are a huge problem in Honolulu, particularly illegal wedding businesses that can make millions of dollars and disturb nearby residents,” said Councilmember Chang in the press release.

Kobayashi said it comes down to an issue of transparency.

“Enforcement can be challenging, but at the very least we want to ensure that violators pay their fair share,” said Kobayashi.  “If the Administration would like to offer a discounted fine in a special circumstance, they should come before the council in the interest of transparency.”

Commercial activities that need a permit or are prohibited in residential-zoned areas can be found here.

You can read Bill 50 here.

About the Author