Sweep of Former Uncle Billy’s Hotel Reveals Evidence of Recently Occupied Rooms
Officers did not find anyone during a sweep of the 146 room former Uncle Billy’s Hilo Bay Hotel this morning, but they did find evidence that rooms had been recently occupied.
Fifteen officers from three law enforcement agencies conducted the dawn sweep of the iconic hotel, which was condemned by Hawai‘i County authorities for its unsafe condition.
It is under the jurisdiction of the DLNR Land Division, which is in the process of soliciting interest from developers to renovate the salvageable buildings on the property and demolish those that are beyond repair.
State officials say people who had been living in the hotel’s rooms had been notified that law enforcement would be coming in to clear it. A private security company is being contracted to provide 24-hour security, and DLNR is investigating the possibility of putting permanent barriers up until a new lease for the property is issued.
Officers from the DLNR Division of Conservation and Resources Enforcement, the Hawai‘i County Police Dept. and the State Department of Public Safety Sheriffs Division teamed up to search each room and found only trash, clothing, scattered bedding, and graffiti within.
State officials remind the public that the interior of the hotel is considered a public health hazard and people are cautioned to stay out.
DLNR District Land Agent for Hawai‘i Island, Gordon Heit, was on the property this morning to provide support for the law enforcement operation, as were homeless service providers, in case anyone was found still living in the hotel.
He reportedly encountered individuals living on the property previously and had things thrown at him, according to information released by the DLNR.