Reject the Kauai General Plan update

SUBHEAD: Comment period by the public has been extended to 12/16/16. Stop the suburban oblivion now!  

By Juan Wilson on 30 November 2016 for Island Breath -

Image above: Detail of the cover of the proposed Kauai General Plan update produced by the Kauai Planning Department and its consultants. From (

Last County sponsored public meetings on General Plan update issue are:

Two additional Open Houses Announced! If you missed the first round of open houses, please join us at the following Open Houses to learn about the General Plan Discussion Draft, and share your input:

Waimea Theatre, Monday, December 5, 2016, 6:00pm- 8:00pm
Princeville Library, Tuesday, December 6, 2016, 10:00am- Noon

These events will be open house style, with comments accepted in written form. There will not be a formal presentation. For an ASL interpreter, materials in an alternate format or auxiliary aid support, call at 241-4050 at least five business days before the event.

Comments on the update of the Kauai General Plan will be taken up to 16 December 2016. This is an extension of the previous date of 12/2/16.

Comments to the draft can be emailed to

or snail-mailed to:
Kauai County Planning Department,
Attention: Long Range Division
4444 Rice Street, Suite A473, Līhue, HI 96766.

See more at (

The PDF file of the proposed update ti the Kauai General Plan can be found at (

As a Kauai resident and architect/planner I've been concerned with the island’s General Plan update process and resulting report. Like many such documents, it turns out to  mostly "eyewash", "boiler plate", "window dressing", and "feel good fluffery" that merely disguise its real purpose... to promote real estate development… specifically, in this case, to get the approval from the public of a plan to convert Agricultural designated land into suburban sprawl with the effect of doubling the population of Kauai in a generation.

The Big Ag companies that used to operate coconut groves, pineapple and sugarcane plantations are at a loss. Companies like Grove Farms and Alexander & Baldwin see no way forward except to convert their property from a State Land Use designation of Agriculture to the State Land Use designation of Urban. I've seen the A&B annual reports identifying all their land from Poipu to Port Allen (some 3,000 plus acres) in their mind being Urban.

But not Urban in the sense of old Koloa, Hanapepe or Waimea Town - really it's (sub)Urban in the sense of Milliani and the suburban sprawl on central Oahu that occurred after the failure of much of the pineapple industry over the last 30 years.   

One thing has been clear since the previous Kauai General Plan was put in play in 2000 (and not followed by the County). The people of Kauai want the island to remain rural in character. But that dream is slipping away with every new big box store and fast food franchise.

I have been working with the Hanapepe-Eleele Neighborhood Association (HENA) on reviewing the currently proposed Kauai General Plan Update. We have been meeting and reviewing and marking up the proposal with comments and suggested changes.

 We have been parsing through the document PDF file (

The soul of this document is on the first page of the Introduction in bold large colored typeface.

Growth is Happening Whether We Like It or Not

In other words "You don't have a choice about this."  Bullshit!

HENA worked on the Introduction and Goals section and then has concentrated on the Hanapepe-Eleele Section of the document.

My suggestions began with.

Remove headline
“Growth is Happening Whether We Like it or Not”

Replace with
“Growth will happen to the extent the people of Kauai want it."

Remove content
"Sustainability means growing responsibly to meet the needs of current and future generations without depleting important resources."

Replace with
"Sustainability requires a goal of greater self reliance and self sufficiency. Training and supporting careers working in local communities using renewable resources and alternative energy. Providing food, services, and locally made products is a key factor in achieving sustainability."

The General Plan proposal for each community around the island provided maps and text explaining unique aspects of growth change in that local. The section on Hanpepe-Eleele spoke of the charm of Old Hanapepe Town with its galleries, and artisan crafts as well as its historical character. It spoke little about Eleele and none about Hanapepe Heights.

These distinct and different places that are separated by the dramatic rift of Hanapepe River Valley running through the center of it all. Even Hanapepe Town is split by the river into a distinct East and West side.

With this in mind, the planners and consultants for the General Plan use a crude set of concentric rings around Hanapepe-Eleele as areas of new development (and this is the case with all the other community area plans in the proposal). The differences in the use and purpose of these development rings are never fully detailed. In a way they appear to be a gradient of lessening density around an urban core.

Under "Permitting Actions and Code Changes the General Plan says 
  1. Promote and support appropriately scaled infill development in all towns, with the exception of areas affected by existing and future hazards.
  2. Allow for a variety of accessory dwellings such as ‘ohana units and “granny flats” within the Neighborhood Center, Neighborhood General and Neighborhood Edge designations.
  3. Allow additional rental units in all Residential Communities.
Image above: Page 37 from Kauai Plan Closing Workshop on Hanapepe-Eleele showing the expansion of the Urban Neighborhood center, Neighborhood General, Neighborhood Edge and Residential Community "doubling" in area. Note the proposed Lina Ola project is the yellow area in the upper right down through the light orange down to Route 540 about 2/3 down this image. From (

To get a more specific idea of what impact these areas to be developed would have I used two current projects as metrics for determination. One project is Eleele Iluna and the other is Lima Ola. Both are adjecent to one another and adjacent to existing housing in Eleele.

The Eleele Iluna project for 107 single family homes is under construction. It is being built by Habitat for Humanity as Phase Two after 18 homes were built with sweat equity immediately next door.

The other project, Lima Ola, is for 550 mixed single and multi-family units immediately adjacent to Eleele Iluna that would occupy most of the "Residential Community" designation on the east of Hanapepe Valley. Shown in yellow in plan below.
Image above: Detail of map by of Hanapepe-Eleele area used to analyze future density and population of the area. Click to see full enlarged map and explanation.

I recreated the Proposed General Plan Use map from ( and added the existing TMKs (red lines) and building footprints (black) from the Kauai Planning Department. I also created the building footprints and TMKs from the information available about Eleele Iluna and Lima Ola.

With this inormation and the 2010 US Census I made a calculation. US Census counts Hanapepe-Eleele area having 5,028 residents, an average density of 2,465 per square mile or 3.85 per acre. The Proposed Kauai General Plan Update shows four concentric rings of development identified 
Urban Neighborhood Center, Neighborhood General, Neighborhood Edge and Residential Community.

Implications for Hanapepe-Eleele of adopting the Kauai General Plan Update
These new neighborhood areas measure about 616 acres (or 96% of a sq mile). At 2010 census density this would translate to 2,372 new residents totaling a 7,400 head count, an increase of 47%. A difficult adjustment.

Implications for Hanapepe-Eleele  of approving Lima Ola Affordable Housing Project
Lima Ola Affordable Housing is owned  by the County of Kauai and  planned  by the Kauai Division of Housing. Lima Ola Project Area  is 75 acres with 550 units that equal 7.33 units per acre.

Kauai average is 3 people per unit or 1,650 new residents. At that density the new General Plan residential areas would increase Hanapepe-Eleele area population by:

 7.33 units per acre x 616 acres = 4,515 units x 3 people per unit = 13,545 new residents, or an increase of 269% people.

This would have disastrous impacts on Hanapepe-Eleele area traffic, state education and county recreational facilities. This added population would likely require two new elementary schools, one middle school, and one high school.

Implications for Hanapepe-Eleele of Expanded Hazard Area and Sea Rise
As the only fire station, library and community center in the Hanapepe-Eleele area are all in lowland of Hanapepe Valley and in the the newly expanded river flood/hurricane surge/tsunami inundation area, then Hanapepe-Eleele will likely also need 2 new fire stations, 2 new community centers and a relocated library at higher ground.

Also with greatly increased population and increased isolation when hazard strikes a 24/7 medical center with an emergency/trauma capability would be advised.

Implications for Additional Traffic Through Hanapepe-Eleele
Traffic is already a problem at rush hour between Eleele and Kalaheo. This arises between Wahiawa Valley and the 540 Bypass to the Kauai Coffee Plantation. Bumper to bumper is common on the Kaumualii Highway to the light in Kalaheo. Two additional lights are planned on the highway in Eleele for the Lima Ola project.

But even now it is becoming difficult to exit Hanapepe Town at either end of Hanapepe Road or Kona Road at the library and fire station. Those three locations will likely require three more stop lights in town.

It is unfortunate that the State of Hawaii is going to spend a fortune in the next few years rebuilding the Kaumualii Highway bridge over Hanapepe River. Not only creating horrible traffic jams through town for years, it will likely have to be widened to four lanes when two additional lanes are required on highway across the island before this General Plan runs its nightmarish course to suburban oblivion.

Implications for Kauai of adopting the updated General Plan for 2020-2025
Expect the population of Kauai to more than double in the next generation. Expect traffic, crowded beaches, and a reduction int the quality of life.

But worse is the reduction in our ability to cope with economic collapse driven by dwindling worldwide resources and environmental damage due to global warming and population growth.

Sustainability on Kauai, as well as the rest of planet Earth, will be dependent on constraining growth of all kinds. Forget virtual reality, time travel, and alternate universes. If we can't live on Earth we certainly won't live on Mars or anywhere else. There is no option for us to survive while ruining the Earth.

Suggested Action on proposed General Plan Update
Reject the new proposed update to the Kauai General Plan. Ask our Planning Department to go back to the drawing board for a plan to “Keep Kauai Rural”.  The current General Plan still stands until 2020. We have time to look into the likely near future of localization and a need to be more self reliant and resilient.

Again Deadline is December 16th 2016:
Comments to the draft can be emailed to

or snail-mailed to:
Kauai County Planning Department,
Attention: Long Range Division
4444 Rice Street, Suite A473, Līhue, HI 96766.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai County "Keep it Rural" 11/17/16
Kauai County General Plan 2000-2020 undated
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan Update 9/3/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Plan Disappoints 12/9/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Tax Donkey Purgatory - Lima Ola 7/18/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Lihue Loss of Vision 9/5/14
Ea O Ka Aina: Kilauea Development on Agland 4/9/11
Ea O Ka Aina: If a tyrant developed Kauai 3/24/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Potash King's Palace 6/24/10
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Farm Worker Housing 7/14/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Let Moloaa farmers farm 4/2/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan 4/2/09
Ea O Ka Aina: Peak Oil Planning 1/29/09
Island Breath: Kauai Sustainable Land Use Plan 11/1/07
Island Breath: LEGS Sustainability Conference 10/13/07



Katherine Muzik said...

I agree. The beaches are dwindling, meanwhile the plastic particles and jellyfish are increasing, quite a frightening spectacle. It is time to pause, reflect, repair, respect our aina and Moana. Now or never.

Unknown said...

The Kauai General Plan, in any form, is The United Nations Agenda 21. It needs to be rejected all together.

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