The Honolulu City Council is attempting to close loopholes in some of the city’s ordinances. And, they’re targeting sidewalk vendors and golfers. HPR’s Wayne Yoshioka reports.
Bill 6 would eliminate a loophole that allows wheeled kiosks on Waikiki sidewalks. The current law allows mobile carts as long as they are not used to peddle products. But, Rick Egged, president of the Waikiki Improvement Association, says illegal commercial activities are being conducted under the guise of First Amendment rights.
“Everyone knows that Waikiki sidewalks are the busiest in the state and therefore, it creates unsafe conditions at various times during the day. I don’t think there’s any question, we’re looking at objects that are being used for promotional purposes as opposed to any other expression of free speech.”
The bill would eliminate any mobile cart exceptions in the Waikiki District. Royal Hawaiian Center marketing director, Sam Shenkus, says Kalakaua Avenue retailers pay the 5th highest rent in the nation and should not have illegal competition.
“Kalakaua is at about $450 a square foot. So, it hurts, when you’ve got somebody rolling up a cart, selling a tour or selling a time share and kind of gaming the system.”
Another measure, Bill 109, would close a loophole at the Kahuku municipal golf Course. That rule allows a golfer to play two nine-hole rounds for 6 dollars less than it costs for a full 18 holes. Honolulu City Council Budget Committee chair, Trevor Ozawa.
“Under the current fee structure a person without a city ID card, playing 2 nine-hole rounds pays less than a person playing 18-hole rounds. So this is really to eliminate the discrepancy by setting the 18-hole fee at twice the 9-hole fee. So people don’t do 9 holes and then go back and wait again and do another 9 holes.”
Department of Enterprise Services director Guy Kaulukukui says golf cart rentals are also going up each year at all municipal courses. But, overall, he says, the fees are still a pretty good deal.
“By Fiscal 2021, a local golfer or a golfer with an ID card playing by themself and riding will be paying $48.”
Both bills now go for a final public hearing and floor vote by the full City Council, July 25th. Wayne Yoshioka, HPR News.