Knudsen to spoil Poipu

 SUBHEAD: Kauai Planning Commission continues to "OK" the rape the island. 

By Jeri DiPietro on 18 January 2009 for Island Breath - (

Image above: Aeria view of undeveloped land between Waikomo Reservoir and Poipu Road. Photo by the Kauai Historic Society.

It is inappropriate to allow cars to drive over Historic Hapa Trail, a walking/bike path. (see below “Developers to build road across Hapa Trail,” The Garden Island, Jan. 15th)

This path is county property, and the county will be liable for any potential harm incurred.

Other options exist, like making the driveway go straight onto Poipu Road. The county is willing to give them a variance for this route, but the developer claims it will cost more money.

The majority of the fuss at the Dec. 9 Planning Commission hearing was the owner’s attorney claiming to have a sign off letter from State Historic Preservation. They did have a letter but it wasn’t a sign-off. The letter asked for more conditions to ensure protection for archaeological sites of the amazing 203-acre agricultural system of taro, loi and auwai, known as the Koloa Field System. This system allowed the abundant growing of wetland taro in a dryland area long before the sugar plantations came to Koloa. Did the Planning Commission not take it upon themselves to do research? This is a chronic habit: do as little as possible. The discretionary portion of the planning process is absent. 

Regarding the Hapa Trail conditions associated with a residential subdivision application, the Knudsen trustee and its attorney say they are only obligated to restore 500 feet of trail, but they will agree to restore 2,000 feet. This is a smoke screen. Estimated completion date agreed on is the year 2029. The truth of the Poipulani ordinance implies they restore 6,000 feet and restore the rock walls. The rock walls have been victims of rock theft over the last 25 years. They and other landowners who benefited from the 1972 Kiahuna-Moana upzoning are compelled by law to restore the entire trail.

The ordinance states when they develop that land, and maintain Historic Hapa Trail in perpetuity.

The Kaua‘i County Council has appropriated money for an Environmental Assessment for Hapa, a requirement for altering county property. Some of the County Council does not agree with the Planning Commission decision, and the council will be obligated to sort out another bad decision. When will we truly begin to put our island first, for the benefit of future generations?

At the rate we are going, soon there will be nothing left to remind us of the way it used to be.

[IB Editor's Note: Stacey Wong's efforts to destroy Kauai continue as the Kauai Planning Commission knuckles under to Developer. The sad outcome on this proposal to suburbanize more of Poipu. This will likely have to end up in the courts.]

Knudsen to build across Hapa Trail

By Leo Azambuja on 15 January 2009 in The Garden Island News -

Despite public outcry, developers got their way on Tuesday when the Kaua‘i Planning Commission approved a permit to build a road over the historic Hapa Trail on the South Shore. The Eric Knudsen Trust is planning a housing development in an area just east of Hapa Trail.

In order to obtain easier access to Po‘ipu Road, the developer opted to build an access road across the trail, a pedestrian path which runs alongside a 1.2-mile stone wall registered as a historic site. The trail used to be known as Hapa Road, but lawmakers had it changed to avoid it being mistaken as a road where cars could drive. The move was intended to help preserve it.

The site of the proposed development encompasses an area that includes several ancient taro patches and intricate irrigation systems. Community members who spoke against the development, mostly Koloa and Po‘ipu residents, had already accepted the possible loss of historic sites, but were not eager to give Hapa Trail away.

Resident Jerry Di Pietro said it is illegal to disturb the stone structure because there is a legal clause ruling that whoever develops the lands where the lo‘i and irrigation systems are located must maintain and restore the trail, including the stone structure. Hapa Trail belongs to the county. The developers already have prepared an Environmental Impact Statement, a more complex version of an Environmental Assessment.

Residents claimed that the EIS addresses only the development, not the trail or the stone structure, but Deputy Planning Director Imai Aiu said the EIS does address Hapa Trail. The stone structure is another controversy in itself. Residents say it is an ancient native Hawaiian structure.

The developers say it was built by the Knudsen family in the late 1800s. Commissioner Camilla Matsumoto said regardless, it is a historic site and as such it must be preserved. Former Mayor and Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura, who was pivotal in the name change of the former Hapa Road, questioned why developers would not be willing to relocate access to the project from its eastern side.

The developers pledged to restore Hapa Trail, but they will have 20 years to finish the project. Newly elected Commission Vice Chair Caven Raco, saying that developers met all lawful requirements and should be granted the permit, made a motion to approve it. Commissioner Steven Weinstein said it was “time to move on,” which Commissioner Stuart Hollinger agreed with.

All three, alongside newly elected Commission Chair Jimmy Nishida, voted to approve the permit. Commissioners Herman Texeira and Matsumoto voted against it. After the permit approval, frustrated community members, who endured the 14-hour meeting, left the Mo‘ikeha Building saying there will be a lawsuit.

See also:
Island Breath: Knudsen Trust Setback 12/10/08 .

No comments :

Post a Comment