Preserving Existing Views in Kuau Bayview
*** Please note that this is not a vote. We are simply collecting owners' opinions ***
Due to its location and ocean views, Kuau Bayview is in high demand right now. After recent inquiries from prospective buyers, in order to include everyone in important discussions, we are asking owners how they feel about possibly restricting future buyers from adding a second story to a one-story house. Since 1996 there has been only one instance of a one-story house having a second story added. Since Lot 62 is along the mauka border of KB, it did not affect anyone's view. Some owners are understandably concerned about the possibility of future owners coming in and blocking their ocean views. There are 49 one-story homes in KB & 43 two-story homes. Sellers of one-story homes may worry that they are not getting the maximum sales price if they cannot tell buyers that they can add a second-story.
The official purpose of the Kuau Bayview at Paia Homeowners' Association is recorded on the DCCA website as follows:
"TO PROVIDE FOR THE MANAGEMENT, MAINTENANCE, LANDSCAPING, PROTECTION, PRESERVATION, AESTHETIC AND ARCHITECTURAL CONTROL AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE SUBDIVISION"
One aspect of the "protection" role of the Association could be to protect the interests of homeowners by preserving existing views. During the development stage from 1996 to 1998 when the houses were being built, naturally A&B could not dictate what house model buyers would choose for their empty lot. An ocean view was a high priority as a factor in lot selection for most of the original owners. Some were disappointed when a two-story house was chosen for the empty lot in front of them, but that was just the luck of the draw in a new development. But now all the houses are built and the views have been established for twenty years. Everyone is relatively happy with the status quo. Happiness is a valued commodity in our community.
The topic of protecting views will be discussed at the Annual Meeting on Nov 15, 2018 to find out how many owners are interested in changing the DCCRs to establish a restriction on future buyers. IF there is enough support, the proposal could be something to the effect...
WHEREAS: Higher house prices mean buyers are more likely able to afford such a costly renovation, and;
WHEREAS: 2018 was a record year with 7 house sales, if owners wish to establish a restriction, time is of the essence;
THEREFORE: The KB HOA would like to consider establishing a date (eg. 2019-01-01) after which new people who buy into Kuau Bayview would be restricted on raising the height of their roof-line without written approval for their plans from all owners whose views would be impacted. All existing owners are grandfathered in and would not be subject to any restrictions because no rule existed when they bought. The proposed rule would involve a change to the DCCRs which requires at least 62 owners to vote in favor, meaning that owners who would not be affected because of their lot location would have to vote in favor for the sake of those owners who would be affected.
A change like this would require a concerted effort on the part of most owners. Votes would require a signed statement and would NOT be done using proxies to ensure the change would stand up to legal challenges. More research will be done on this if it turns out a majority of owners wish to proceed. Please bear in mind that any current one-story-house owner can build a second story as long as they own the house. But if they sell after a restriction has been established, that house could never become a two-story. So the divide would be between investors and those who wish to live their lives in KB. Which adds more to a sales price: guaranteed views or the ability to spend $400,000+ to add a second story?According to Maui County, no ordinance exists that would prohibit an HOA from imposing such a restriction. There are existing HOAs on Maui which have such restrictions in their DCCRs already. One example is a Wailea luxury gated community called One Palau'ea Bay. The 17 properties in One Palau'ea Bay are each over an acre in size, so their views are less affected by each other than KB homes that are much closer together.
Arguments For Protecting Views:
- Many owners in KB are original owners who have been here since 1996-1997. KB's approximately $90K in cash savings largely came out of these owners' pockets. These owners lived through the ugly Lord of the Flies period as KB struggled to become the desirable community it is today; they have earned the right to some protections. Some bought with the goal of retiring here and haven't even been able to live in KB full-time yet. All owners cherish their views. It would be devastating if a rich stranger from the mainland were able to buy into KB and take away someone's view after 22+ years of looking forward to seeing that view every morning. Unless you have experienced it, you cannot imagine what it is like to have your view blocked. Establishing a restriction in the DCCRs would provide peace of mind to existing owners and preserve priceless views into the future.
- Protected views would be a selling point that would increase property values for all owners.
- While investors consider property value & return-on-investment as the #1 priority, those who call KB "home" value quality of life above all else, and that includes views. Showing consideration & aloha for our neighbors would not involve taking their view.
- Someone seeking investment property can easily find it on island. KB is a residential neighborhood. People buying with an eye on property value above all else may be planning on doing illegal rentals which we do not want in KB.
- View obstructing vegetation can be corrected but a second story cannot be removed so easily. There are 43 two story homes in KB. If someone wants a two-story home, they can wait for one to go on sale.
- "KB is one of the greatest residential neighborhoods on the north shore, we are more interested in supporting long term and intended long term residents' quality of life than investors' concern about profit."
- Larger houses can accommodate more people resulting in more vehicles parked on the street & more noise. Sound travels further from higher windows and decks.
- Larger houses encourage illegal rentals and Short Term Rental Homes. An owner could rent out part of his house as a separate suite, or divide the house into multiple suites and rent them all.
- Beyond a certain density, Kuau Bayview could cease to be considered a "first-class residential development" as defined in the DCCRs [10(d)(i)]. Overcrowding of small lots is a consideration and could become a problem.
- The state is planning to remove the 7500 sq ft lot size minimum for ohanas. When this happens, owners could build ohanas in their yards if they need more room without blocking anyone's view.
- Tall structures block long vision. The relaxing strong horizontal is an intangible, but very real, value contributing relaxation and contentment to an owner's state of mind.
- If someone were to buy contiguous lots, they could build a monster home, which would change the character of KB forever.
- Some owners depriving others of cherished views could sow resentment and ill will in our peaceful, quiet neighborhood.
- KB will be around for generations. Without any restrictions, someone could tear down an entire house and build a much taller one.
- "Need to preserve this neighborhood as it is. We could become another dreadful suburb in Honolulu."
- "Need to preserve the look and feel of the neighborhood to prevent it from becoming over-crowded and over-populated. This will keep the value of our subdivision. No monster houses that would allow too many tenants/occupants and increase vehicles on street."
- "I would think it would be reasonable that a person should need sign off from their neighbour if the building of a second story is going to block views or cause shadows or privacy issues."
- "Ocean views are a key part of the value of the houses in Kuau Bayview. Adding a second level also decreases privacy and increases congestion."
- "I am an original owner and cherish living in KB!! We need to protect our views. Life is not predicated on how much you can sell your house for. Don't ruin our lovely subdivision by selling to investors who just want to make profits. Let's sell to families that want to enjoy what we have!!!"
Neutral Arguments re Protecting Views:
- "I can definitely see both sides of the issue. While views are an important and integral part of KBV, I am also uneasy telling owners what they can't do with their own houses within reason. I would like to hear more input and discussion from both long-term residents and new owners before I offer an opinion. One concern is what if we do protect views, but it's later overturned. Then some future owners might have missed out an opportunity to renovate their homes. I do absolutely think it's an important question for the board and KBV residents to discuss, and I appreciate it being raised in such a thoughtful way."
- "Not sure about this one. I personally would like to add a second story if I could afford it. My views are pretty much blocked now due to my neighbors foliage. It is really frustrating. I try to keep everything trimmed and think about other people's views, but it doesn't seem like other people think about this at all. If I did do a second story, I assure you I would design it in such a way as to protect the view from my neighbors house while increasing my own view. If people were to agree to design 'rules', then I feel it could be done. Unfortunately, it seems most people only think of themselves."
Arguments Against Protecting Views:
- One owner feels that such a restriction would be a "taking of potential value" that would lower the selling price of one-story homes and cloud their title.
- The same owner feels that denying future owners an expensive improvement violates the real estate principle of "highest and best use." He feels the marketplace should decide what any property is worth.
- "Landscaping blocks many views so trying to protect views with a building restriction is a fool's errand."
- Litigious people may try to challenge such a restriction.
- "This will decrease all property prices now and in the future if buyers are not able to expand their property should they wish to do so. Some houses have already built up [only one]- so have therefore set a precedence. Real Estate law would come into effect here as would individual rights."
- One owner who is also a realtor prefers "density over sprawl" on principle.