Grove Farms' Green Smoke

SUBHEAD: Grove Farms blows green smoke up your skirt with Wailani Mall "Smart Growth" proposal.

Image above: Artist's rendering of crosswalk in the proposed Grove Farms Wailani Mall project. From original article.  

By Juan Wilson on 21 March 2010 for Island Breath -

We now know the style of post-crash real estate speculation. It's green! It's sustainable! Just as natural as a chartreuse lycra outfit on a putting green! Grove Farms is touting a new kind of community to be built on the highway near the entrance to Lihue Airport - A new mall on 130 acres of what was agricultural land to be called Wailani. The story (see below) published Sunday about Grove Farms Wailani project in the Garden Island News near the airport raises questions.

The Wailani project will put office with retail space into the mix of tenants. This is nothing new in the evolution of sprawl development. In addition, the plan purports to be a walking community - that is, once you park your car and get out to do some retail shopping or visit the office of your auto insurer. Yes it will have residential units built into it - that will qualify it as the "first walkable 'smart growth community' on island".

But by “affordable” I doubt if any of the baristas at the Wailani Starbucks will be able to afford to live there. And lastly (here comes the green part) this developer says it "will likely" get a LEED's certification (if that does not get in the way of making money on the deal). Who do they think they are kidding? The only new component of this project is that it is labeled "green", "sustainable", "smart growth", and "a walkable community". Even if were to sport photo-voltaic rooftops, natural ventilation and It is none of these. At this point on our journey to sustainability of Kauai, the only smart growth is no growth.

We need to be powering down and gardening up for a future with less tourism and more independence. The state of Hawaii is broke and even our county is beginning furloughs in anticipation of harder times. What does Grove Farms see in the future? It seems it is more of the same with a new label - “Sustainable Living”. The rendering above should tell you what you need to know...

A huge parking lot with a retail structures indistinguishable from nearby the Kukui Grove Mall is what you’ll get. The real planning here put this project at the center of the new four lane highway access that is under construction between Kapaa and the airport. A convenient place to buy wine and cheese on the way from the car rental to your transient vacation rental on the north shore.
• If this proposal was not located at the intersection of two highways in order to draw traffic from all over the island, and was instead a part of an urban renewal scheme for Lihue or Kapaa, it might make sense. • If this plan was to create a new community of resident farmers on agland with a place to sell their products it might fit into our real future. • If Grove Farms had asked for a parking variance to limit the parking area to just that needed for a self sustaining community it might make sense.
Grove Farms would be living up to its name if were providing land for growing food on Kauai within our communities. As it is, this is just another mall in a new style. It is a scheme for Grove Farm to sell off land that we'll need soon for growing food and real sustainable living. Do they really believe painting something with green make it more wholesome? Using Grove Farms stated goals to solve real problems on this island might lead us to apply them to the Coconut Marketplace. It was Kauai's first mall and is now a ghost town along the highway on the way to Kapaa. Why couldn’t that be a vital walkable community? If we cannot support the Coconut Marketplace, why should the Wailani site work?

‘Smart growth community’

By Coco Zickos on 20 March 2010 in the Garden Island -  

Embarking on a new wave of sustainable living, Grove Farm Co. is developing the first walkable “smart growth community” on island, President and Chief Executive Officer Warren Haruki said Friday.

Wailani, or “heavenly water,” will feature a grocery store, movie theater, bank and YWCA among the many businesses to be located just a few steps from residents’ front doors.

“This will be a huge lifestyle improvement,” Haruki said.

The first phase of the project — “one of the largest construction projects in the foreseeable future” — will be bounded by Kapule Highway and Ahukini Road on some 130 acres of land near the judiciary building in Lihu‘e, he said.

The buildings will be mixed use with offices and retail outlets on the ground floor and residential units on the upper floor. Single family homes and affordable housing units are among the “variety of living options” which will be available for kama‘aina.

The entire neighborhood development will likely be Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified, which covers a “host” of environmentally friendly criteria to comply with, Haruki said.

Permeable pavement which filters water to the soil below, non-potable water for landscaping and public areas, as well as renewable energy systems are among the many green initiatives the project will include, he said.

While it is unknown at this time how many employees will be needed to complete Wailani or just how much the entire project will cost, it will undoubtedly stimulate the island’s economy, Haruki said.

The “next milestone” for the company will be filing for final subdivision approval this summer, Haruki said.

Depending on how long the approval takes, Haruki said it is possible they will break ground by late 2011. The entire concept will not come to fruition for another eight to 10 years, he said.

Haruki will be unveiling more details to community members during this month’s Lihu‘e Business Association meeting from 7:30 to 9 a.m., Thursday, at Duke’s Canoe Club in Kalapaki.


1 comment :

Rebecca said...

This sounds like it could be the same people who are putting a $200,000 race car on the market soon. I thought people were learning to simplify. I think their idea will die an unsustainable death but I don't want to see another massacre like the one in Kola happen again. I will be interested to see how our county planning dept. deals with this.

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