East Hawaii News

Second emergency proclamation issued for former Uncle Billy’s property in Hilo

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Hawai‘i Gov. Josh Green on Friday issued a second emergency proclamation for the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel on Banyan Drive in Hilo, as poor and dangerous conditions continue at the site of the once iconic 146-room hotel.

The former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Resort now is an abandoned, dilapidated property. (Cammy Clark/Big Island Now)

Green issued his first emergency proclamation for the state-owned property located on the Big Island’s Waiakea Peninsula on July 18. That expired Friday. The new proclamation extends the emergency relief period now until Nov. 13 to help deal with public safety issues at the abandoned and dilapidated former hotel.

“The conditions at the property and hotel continue and will likely result in substantial injury or harm to the population, substantial damage to or loss of property and substantial damage to or loss of the environment,” the proclamation says.

Just as the first proclamation, the second allows certain state laws to be suspended to the extent necessary to speed up work to secure the property, demolish the former hotel and return the property to a safe and healthy condition after.

Green says in the document that it is necessary to supplement his original proclamation to ensure a continued and effective response to the issues at Uncle Billy’s.


The once thriving and popular hotel was a fixture on Banyan Drive for more than 50 years and a favorite for kamaʻāina and visitors alike. But it has become anything but accommodating since its permanent closure in 2017.

It has long been condemned and is now a source of trouble and danger.

The proclamation said the condition of the property and hotel, under the jurisdiction of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources, has attracted trespassers, enabled drug use, fighting and other illegal activities and experienced numerous fires.

In data provided to the Hawai‘i County Council in July, from September 2018 to April 2023, Big Island police responded to 157 incidents at 87 Banyan Drive (former Uncle Billyʻs); and from May 2018 to May 2023, the Hawai‘i Fire Department responded to 28 calls at the property.


The governor’s second proclamation reiterates the urgency of mitigating the problems.

“Despite regular security presence, the lack of repairs, maintenance and operations has contributed to unsafe, unhealthy and hazardous conditions at the property and abandoned hotel,” the proclamation says. “These include overall structural decay, unabated hazardous materials, fire damage, water intrusion, falling ceilings, exposed rebar, overflowing sewage, mold and mildew. These unsafe and unhealthy conditions endanger the lives of members of the public, adjoining hotel patrons and trespassers, as well as law enforcement officers and other first responders who have responded frequently to service/incident calls to the property.”

A portion of the inside of the former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel in Hilo. Vegetation and other debris were removed earlier this year in preparation for the installation of a perimeter fence around the former hotel and its future demolition. (Photo courtesy of the Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources)

It also says the property’s proximity to the ocean presents pollution risks to ground and ocean water should the conditions continue unabated.

East Hawai‘i-based Andrew’s Fencing was awarded a contract to install a perimeter fence around the former Uncle Billy’s property to keep people out of the property. That project began in August.


The Hawai‘i Department of Land and Natural Resources also said at the end of July it anticipated that demolition of the former hotel could begin by the end of the year.

The exact demolition timeline is contingent upon a variety of factors to be determined after the project is awarded to a contractor and a site assessment, which includes addressing any hazardous materials, is completed.

To read the second proclamation, click here.

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