County Releases Kalapana Vendor Information Sheet

Listen to this Article
5 minutes
Loading Audio... Article will play after ad...
Playing in :00

Evening shot of ocean entry on the Kalapana side of the lava flow.
PC: NPS/J. Wei

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 April 25, 2018, county officials distributed a detailed information sheet (see “Kalapana Vendor Information Sheet – April 25, 2018” below) 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.

Enforcement is necessary to alleviate bicycle or pedestrian accidents and disruption to residents in the area. By the Sunday, 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 following is the information sheet that was distributed to vendors:

Kalapana Vendor Information Sheet – April 25, 2018

Visitors are coming in increasing numbers to view the active lava viewing in the Kalapana area. Tours, bike rentals, and other related business is booming! BUT is your business legal?

Hawai‘i County Code (“HCC”) Section 22-2.5 prohibits the commercial use of any portion of county roadways for the purpose of displaying, vending, hawking, selling, renting or leasing any goods, wares, food, merchandise or other kinds of property.

The county will begin strict enforcement of this law in the Kalapana area to ensure its uniform application across the island, and to ensure the safety of visitors and residents utilizing Highway 130.

Please note that HCC Section 22-2.6 prohibits the construction, erection, or installation of any signs, bills, posters, or other advertising materials on any county street.

Additionally, pursuant to Hawai‘i Revised Statutes § 291C-36, it is illegal to erect any unauthorized sign, signal, marking, or device which attempts to direct movement of traffic on the roadway.

To summarize, all vending and commercial use of the roadway, along with the posting of unauthorized signage are prohibited.

Below is information that may prove helpful in ensuring your business’ next steps fall within the law, should you find a suitable location to vend off the roadway.

Special Management Area Permit Lands in close proximity to the shoreline including all lands oceanside of Highway 130 require a Special Management Area (SMA) permit to guide and ensure the continued protection of valuable natural resources along the shoreline.

For more information contact:
County of Hawai‘i, Planning Department
Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi St., Ste. 3, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8288 or

Agriculture Zoned Lands Special Permit Lands generally situated on both sides of Highway 130 in the Kalapana area are situated within the State Land Use Agricultural District. Non-agricultural uses may require a Special Permit issued by the Windward Planning Commission or the State Land Use Commission, depending on the size of the parcel and desired use.

For more information contact:
County of Hawai‘i, Planning Department
Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi Street, Ste. 3, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8288 or

Grubbing & Grading Permit
A grubbing permit is required when grubbing more than 1 acre. A grading permit is required when any one of the following occur for an excavation or fill:

  • More than 100 cubic yards of excavation or fill;
  • Vertical height of excavation or fill exceeds 5 feet; or
  • When general and localized drainage pattern with respect to abutting property lines is altered.

For more information contact:
County of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Works
Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi St., Ste. 7, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8321 or

Temporary Structure (Tents) Permit– Fire Department Temporary structures and tents that are open to the general public require temporary structure permits.

For more information contact:
County of Hawai‘i, Fire Department
County Building – 25 Aupuni St., Ste. 2501, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 932-2900 or

Temporary Structure (Tents) Permit – Public Works Department Temporary structures greater than 120 square feet require a temporary permit. Temporary structures shall be located in accordance with IBC Table 602, based on the fire-resistance rating, occupancy classification and proposed type of construction. Temporary structures and tents are not permitted for more than 180 days. Temporary structures of membrane or tent-type material greater than 750 square feet must be non-flammable rated or non-combustible treated.

Applications can be downloaded here or found online.

For more information contact:
County of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Works- Building Division
Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi St., Ste. 7, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8331 or

Construction of a Building – Public Works Department Construction of buildings require permits from multiple county departments including Planning, Public Works, Fire and Department of Health to assure occupants’ health and safety and compatibility with the community and environment.

For more information contact:
County of Hawai‘i, Department of Public Works
Aupuni Center – 101 Pauahi St., Ste. 7, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 961-8321 or

Transport of Passengers Certificate and Permit The transport of passengers for a fee requires a State of Hawaii Public Utilities Commission certificate and permit.

For more information contact:
State of Hawai‘i, Public Utilities Commission
688 Kino‘ole St., Ste. 106-A, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 974-4533 or

Food Service Permit The sale of certain foods and beverages requires a permit, training and inspections by the State of Hawaii Department of Health.

For more information contact:
State of Hawai‘i, Department of Health – Hawai‘i District Health Office/Hilo
1582 Kamehameha Ave., Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 933-0917

General Excise Tax All commercial businesses and non-profits conducting certain activities or services for a fee are required to pay State of Hawai‘i General Excise Tax.

For more information contact:
State of Hawai‘i, Department of Taxation
75 Aupuni St., Ste. 101, Hilo, HI 96720
(808) 974-6321 or

The dissemination of this fact sheet is for informational purposes only and does not create any liability for, nor obligate the county in any manner. The county assumes no responsibility or liability for any loss or damage suffered by any person or entity as a result of the use, misuse, or reliance on any of the information contained herein. Other federal, state and county laws may be applicable. It is advised that any parties or business interested in vending seek the appropriate advice and guidance of legal counsel.


Hawai‘i County to Bar Vendors from Roadways, Shoulders
County Providing Kalapana Vendors Info on Legally Conducting Business


Sponsored Content

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Stay in-the-know with daily or weekly
headlines delivered straight to your inbox.


This comments section is a public community forum for the purpose of free expression. Although Big Island Now encourages respectful communication only, some content may be considered offensive. Please view at your own discretion. View Comments