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Kauai officials sue vacation home owners for $130,000 in rental fines

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LIHUE >> Kauai officials are suing the owners of a vacation home, claiming they are violating county zoning ordinances for using the property as a short-term rental.

The Kauai County Planning Department filed the lawsuit last week, seeking to compel Greg and Joanne Allen to pay $130,000 in fines, The Garden Island reported.

County officials have been trying for more than a year to stop the couple from renting out their four-bedroom Wailua house that is outside the area designated for transient vacation rentals, according to the lawsuit.

The planning department had notified the owners in June 2017 that their rental operation was “unlawful,” telling them they could be fined if they did not stop the rentals within 15 days, according to the lawsuit.

The department issued another cease and desist order two months later and fined the couple $10,000. The Allens contested the fine, leading to a hearing before a planning department officer last year.

The hearing officer upheld the initial fine and the department’s request to add $120,000 because the Allens continued renting out the property “in blatant disregard of the department’s notice and order,” according to the documents.

Greg Allen said the planning department has been “overzealous.” He said the previous proceedings were unfair because his lawyer was not allowed to present his case at the hearing.

He has no immediate plans to stop renting the place out, he said.

“In America, people still have land rights,” Allen said. “And sometimes it is necessary to go through this process in order to ensure that the rights of the landowners and the government are fairly represented.”

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