The County of Hawai’i is providing vendors currently illegally operating on roadways in the Kalapana area with information aimed at helping them with next steps to ensure their businesses are legally conducted in suitable locations.
The County plans to enforce an ordinance that bars vendors from operating on County roadways and shoulders amid safety concerns, focusing on vendors renting bicycles, vending food and offering guided tours in the Kalapana lava viewing area.
The County hand-delivered or mailed a letter on April 11 to the affected vendors which said that the County will strictly enforce the provisions of Hawai’i County Code § 22-2.5, effective July 1, 2018, which prohibits commercial activity within any County right-of-way. Failure to comply with this deadline may result in monetary fines as provided in HCC § 24-16, the letter said.
On Wednesday evening, County officials distributed a detailed information sheet for the Kalapana vendors at a community meeting to address the vendors’ questions and concerns at the Pāhoa Community Center, and to help them ensure their businesses fall within the law.
The information includes explanations of Special Management Area Permits, Agriculture Zoned Lands Special Permits, Grubbing and Grading Permits, Temporary Structure (Tents) Permits, and how to obtain such permits. Other information involves Transport of Passengers Certificates and Permits, Food Service Permits and registration for General Excise Taxes.
“It is advised that any parties or business interested in vending seek the appropriate advice and guidance of legal counsel,” the information sheet said.
Enforcement is necessary to alleviate bicycle or pedestrian accidents and disruption to residents in the area. By the July 1, 2018 deadline, all vendors currently operating on the roadway or shoulders must vacate all portions of the roadway.
The April 11 letter said that to address these concerns, the County intends to move the parking area for vehicles past the Lokelani subdivision, near the second gate of Highway 130, so that vehicles can traverse the roadway without the heightened concern of striking cyclists or pedestrians.
The letter expressed empathy with the vendors affected by the enforcement, but said that the County is dedicated to the safety and well-being of its residents.