Tax Donkey Purgatory

SUBHEAD: Somehow the idea of a "Workforce World" evokes something even worse than the plantation era company towns of the last century. 

By Juan Wilson on 18 July 2014 for Island Breath -
Image above: Image of GoogleEarth plan of Workforce World by Juan Wilson derived from Garden Island published rendering below. Click to embiggen. For GoogleEarth KMZ file of layout click here.

The recent article titled WORKFORCE WORLD (see below) on the promotion of the Lima Ola project in Eleele prompted me to consider the impact on my neighborhood in the Hanapepe area.  The proposal will put stress existing infrastructure besides traffic, sewage, power and water.

Eleele Elementary School is under population pressure already. On many weekends Salt Pond Beach Park has no parking available for neighborhood families. A project the size of Lima Ola will need more jobs and commercial development than exists today.

From my professional experience as a planner I judge that this Lima Ola scheme is just the beginning of what will become major changes for the south side of Kauai that will lead to unsustainable suburban sprawl.

The developers and flaks behind this 550 unit master plan tell us that what they are trying to do is help out low and middle income people who need housing on the westside so they can work at the Pacific Missile Range Facility or perhaps on the several Agro-Chemical companies polluting the westside with GMO seed crops fed on experimental pesticide cocktails.

The idea that the future welfare of  Kauai will be dependent on the death dealing military industrial corporations (Ratheon, ITT, General Dynamics, Lockheed-Martin, BAE Systems, Dow, Dupont, Syngenta, BASF, etc, etc) that infest the westside of the island is laughable. It is without merit. These companies are not supporting Kauai, - They are killing the land and the ocean. They are laying waste to the Earth.

This "housing" project is one phase of many to suburbanize the south side from Hanapepe to Poipu on 3,000 plus acres of Alexander and Baldwin (A&B) land. That land is now being used mostly by Kauai Coffee and a bit by Dupont-Pioneer, but A&B has been think for years of a more profitable land use - suburbia.

I am not against all residential planning, although I think planning should not include efforts to accomodate ever increasing human population of Hawaii. The outer islands have the capability with current populations of being sustainable with some resilience. That is not true of Oahu. It is overpopulated several times over.   

But in America "Growth" is the magic word. It's the solution to all that ails us economically.

And land-rich, cash-poor large property owners like A&B must have wet-dreams of filling in every nook and cranny with more consumers for the plazas and galleria malls imagined as the jewels in their Barbie-World. They have a strong incentive to cash in on their land by selling it off for urban use. That's where the big dollars are. And our property-tax dependent county concurs.

If you want to know the future here just look at the nightmarish sprawl at Mililani on Oahu. What was once a pineapple plantation has become a desert of oil dependent cardboard Californication. Without cheap oil, cheap food, and overpaid jobs it all falls apart.

And that's the problem with Lima Ola Workforce World. There will not be jobs at the PMRF and the GMO outfits once the next wave of bursting bubble and economic collapse breaks the surface. A new Ford F-250 deluxe four-door extended-cab off-road pickup will be unaffordable for a tax donkey with a job. The need food and housing will trump a new tuck in that new and withered economy.

If you want to build housing think about making it self-sustainable and self-reliant. Think of growing your own food to share with your community. Think about providing useful service to your neighbors. Forget the jobs and the plazas. They won't be viable soon. So will you be on a 6,000 foot lot half covered in a particle-board house and blacktop for the cars.

We need homesteading, organic community gardens, permaculture and more. Sleep, work, play, grow, eat where you live. You won't need the car or the job in the right plan for Lima Ola.

If A&B really wants the best for Kauai and its people they should reduce the use of restricted pesticides on their lands, eliminate the leases to GMO companies, and begin a program with the County to offer homesteading opportunities on small acreage parcels along with community gardens and a permanent farmers market mauka and west of the Kauai Coffee Visitor's Center.

Workforce World

SUBHEAD: Housing officials want to break ground on $59.2 million project by 2017.
By Darin Moriki on 17 July 2014 for the Garden Island -

Image above: Architects rendering of the Workforce World plan. Note about 40% of the site is multifamily apartments, many of them multi-story. From original article.

It has been four years since County of Kauai officials acquired a 75-arce piece of land in Eleele from the McBryde Sugar Company to plan what some housing officials say is one of the county’s most ambitious affordable housing projects.

But in the years since then, ground hasn’t been broken on the now barren land set aside for the project.

That could change, however, within the next three years as Kauai County Housing Agency officials move forward to conduct studies, refine design plans and apply for permits to get the 550-unit Lima Ola master planned community off the ground. But not everyone agrees on the best path forward for the project.

Some county officials say the current plan to build out 165 single-family or duplex units and 385 multi-family units on the Westside is suitable to address a growing need for affordable housing on Kauai.

Other officials, however, say more planning is needed to ensure that specific elements, such as infrastructure improvements and traffic mitigation measures, will not increase construction costs and affect the affordability of units within the development.

“I know a lot of people are living in Kapaa and Lihue who are working on the Westside or at the Pacific Missile Range Facility, so this would benefit them — this would bring them closer to work,” Councilman Mel Rapozo said. “I think this helps Westside residents. I think there are sometimes three or four families living in a house on the

About 1,312 new housing units, according to Kauai County Housing Agency statistics, will be needed by 2016. Nearly 70 percent of those homes, or 925 individual units, will be needed to accommodate low- and very low-income families.

The development, which would potentially break ground between 2016 and 2017, according to county housing documents, is intended to accommodate residents whose income is between 80 percent to 140 percent of Kauai County’s median household income.

It would be scaled by the number of people who live in the home. The county’s median household income in general is $70,300, according to 2014 Kauai County Housing Agency data.

Eighty percent of the median housing income for a family of four, for example, is $72,600, while 140 percent of the median income for a family of four would be $98,400. Eighty percent of the single family income would be $50,850, while 140 percent is $68,950.

In all, County Housing Agency Director Kamuela Cobb-Adams estimated that the county has invested about $3.1 million into the project, including $2.69 million to purchase the land and about $130,000 to map out and design the development

To make the project more feasible, Cobb-Adams said county officials decreased per unit costs by re-engineering the design of the project and eliminating homeowners association fees that can make homeownership difficult.

County housing officials, Cobb-Adams said, are also pursuing partnership opportunities with state, county and federal organizations and searching for a variety of funding sources, such as state and federal grants, to help push the project forward.

>Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura and Councilman Tim Bynum, however, said they were concerned that certain improvements, such as installing a pedestrian underpass or overpass near Laulea Street to bypass the traffic on Kaumualii Highway, could eventually make the project a tough sell.

“I think a smaller, down-scaled project, maybe along the highway, would be better than this huge project,” Yukimura said. “If you look at other places and other opportunities, they could be, in the long run, better. This project should pencil out as an affordable project, but when you start putting in the kinds of things that are going to make it workable, like an underpass, then it starts to fall apart.”

While some improvements are needed to ensure that the development is accessible and energy-efficient community, Cobb-Adams said the main focus is providing homes for as many families as possible.

“We’re trying to make it as green as possible, we’re trying to make it as smart growth as possible, we’re trying to make it as healthy as possible, and we’re trying to make it affordable,” Cobb-Adams said.

“Affordability, however, is the No. 1 thing — food and shelter are the biggest issues on this island. From there we can build upon sidewalks and other planning issues.”


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