Will developers write Kapaa’s future?

SUBHEAD: The General Plan update forsakes  "Keep Kauai Rural"  for major Eastside development.

By Gabriela Taylor on 6 May 2016 in Island Breath -

Image above: The developers of HoKua Place proudly showing inclusion of their traffic stopping development near the Kapaa Bypass Road in the Kauai General Plan Update. Also note the solid block of Urban Center (orange) and Resort Area (maroon) along crowded east coast between Wailua and Kapaa. From (http://www.hokuaplace.com/general-plan.html). Click to embiggen.

General Plan Update Meeting on Kauai Traffic

 Monday, May 9th 2016 from  2:00pm to 4:30pm

Kauai County Building Meeting Room 2A/2B (adjacent to the DMV)
4444 Rice Street in Lihue, Kauai, Hawaii

I’ve been attending the Community Advisory Committee (CAC) General Plan Update Meetings, because it’s vital that we give our input about decisions that will affect us on Kauai for the next 20 years and beyond.

I’m discouraged about the direction that this is going and need your help.  Please read my Garden Island newspaper article below for a more comprehensive explanation of what happened last week the all day GPU meeting for development of  the Eastside, where the developer for Hokua Place resurfaced and was supported by the county as though it were a done deal. And I was the only one there to contest it.

Please remember that in addition to the 780 dwellings  (only 25% affordable),  there are 3 new resorts going up over the next 4 years in the Wailua Corridor. Doing the math, this equates to  at least 3000 additional cars pouring onto Kuhio Highway. And the DOT only has committed to building one more lane from the south end of the Kapaa By-Pass Road to the light at the corner of Coco Palms. We have only seen the tip of the iceberg regarding traffic!

We need to flood the CAC with testimony. It is important to state the problem, but then necessary to come up with solutions. I will ask the CAC for  the following:
  1. A moratorium on permits for any new resorts and non-affordable housing developments.
  2. Go back to the 2000 GPU and delete the proposed up-zoning from Ag to Urban of the 97 acres proposed for Hokua Place development (with more dwellings than the House lots), to be built with a commercial component, behind the Kapaa Middle School. 
I will also support new Bill#2627 proposed by Gary Hooser and Mason Chock to add affordable rentals, in a unique way, to Lihue District. They acknowledged that Kapaa/Wailua District isn’t appropriate for such development:
"There are many challenges not he least of which is the extreme traffic in the Kawaihau District.” (TGI, op-ed column Forum page, May 4).

Will developers determine our future?

By Gabriela Taylor on 28 April 2016 for the Garden Island 


The April 28th “Community Place Type and Visioning Workshops” meeting in Kapaa was an all day opportunity for the residents of Kapaa to stand up and speak to what is important for our future. Sadly, few residents were seen among several county employees as well as the CAC, (General Plan Update (GPU) Committee members).

Crippling Kapaa traffic was barely mentioned or the already planned future developments (6 in total), further contributing to the already insurmountable congestion problems, let alone any significant solutions presented for addressing these most pressing issues.

It was disappointing to not hear the DOT speak of solid plans for road expansion, save for the pittance of a third lane added from the south Kapaa By-Pass Rd running in front of Coco Palms to Olehena Rd., to begin construction in 2017.

But the biggest shock was to see that slides, projected on a screen by the county, displayed images of the proposed 97 acres for Urban development beside Kapaa Middle School with the same zoning designation color as urban downtown Kapaa, as though Hokua Place were a done deal.

There have been more  than 160 written testimonies as well as oral comments protesting  this monstrosity in previous public hearings. The developer, Greg Allen, was there defending the up-zoning from agriculture to urban for Hokua Place, as well as were some county employees (conflict of interest?) who thought it would be good for the economy (property taxes?).

Hey county!!  What about the quality of our lives here in the Wailua/Kapaa area?

The final wrap-up presentation, which included recaps of the CAC process, sorely lacked substance and insights on how people on the east side are going to manage with the lack of the most basic quality of life factors being met today as a result of poor planning in the past, and now compounded as we move forward into the future.

Are we willing to learn from past mistakes and make a course correction, or are we only willing to repeat them through complacency?

We need to pause and conduct a comprehensive calibration of where we are and how we got here. That means examining all aspects of what it means to be a remote island state. What about lack of affordable housing and food security on an island with 90% of food imported (boat and plane) and  the challenge of affording to live here when cheap oil disappears?

Up-zoning Ag land or leasing it to seed companies is not in the interest of sustainability for our island. In essence, the band aid approach will not work unless the Herculean challenge of sustainability is faced. We are living on a small island that ships or flies in 90% of it’s food.

Climate Change challenges us, even now, with droughts and unusual weather patterns that threaten agriculture everywhere. Food prices will go up when cheap oil runs out. I haven’t heard the CAC/GPU respond to that, nor to affordable housing.

Besides creating more mayhem to the stressed traffic situation, Hokua Place has categorized only 25% of its nearly 780 proposed housing units as affordable (online: luc.hawaii.gov). The question is what is the threshold for “affordable” and to whom does this apply, and compared to what one is using as the base for “unaffordable”.

Of course, they can sell expensive dwellings to people moving here from the mainland. Imagine nearly 1600 additional cars from Hokua Place and another 1600 guests and employees from the three new Wailua resort developments behind Longs and Coco Palms flooding Kapaa/Wailua, and cry, or pray that road rage and depression don’t do us in with heart attacks! This is not to mention the barely acknowledged additional “entitled residential projects” – Kulana and Pi’ilani Mai He Kai (DHHL Anahola).

Before that happens, I ask you to get involved in this community process by attending the next CAC/GPU meeting on Traffic Monday May 9, 2-4:30 in the Lihue County building, adjacent to the DMV. Public speaking time is limited so make it short, but please either turn in written testimony or email it to to:  (plankkauai@kauai.gov)

Ask the CAC/GPU, to go back to the last GPU of year 2000, and delete the recommendation that 93 agricultural acres behind the Kapaa Middle School Urban be up-zoned to Urban.

Also, how about  considering a moratorium on resort development, no more permits given for resorts and non-affordable housing developments in the Kapaa/Wailua area and put the focus on addressing our most current and pressing issues instead of exasperating them?  See you there!

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Wailua self destruction 8/20/15
Ea O Ka Aina: My Hokua Place Testimony 6/20/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Hokua Place comment deadline 6/18/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Coco Palms Good to Go 3/11/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Kapaa Heights Development 1/14/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Lihue loss of vision 9/5/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Annals of pure bullshit - Coco Palms 6/22/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Coco Palms Travesty 8/10/13 

1 comment :

  1. "Welcome to little L.A.!!!" That's what the Ads for tourists will say in 2050. "The traffic is the same. the air is the same, the crime rate is the same, even the sewage and garbage is the same. Come to Kauai!! You won't even know you left home. You can still look at the ocean but you can 't swim in it, too polluted. You won't be able to fish any more, but, that's the price of selling out to developers, well worth it , don't you think? More property taxes, more jobs servicing tourists at minimal wages.......highrises and highways just like San Diego. Wow!! Who could ask for more?
    In 2050, someone will say, "How could the people of Kauai , and it's planning commission, not see that the most precious commodity of this Island is its naturalness, its open spaces,(what's left of them), its small town charm, its spectacular beauty? Tourists from all over the world by the millions used to come for that, but not any more. It's just like all the other places now. What a pity."