Commission accepts General Plan

SUBHEAD: Despite its unpopularity the Kauai County Planning Commission votes for the General Plan Update.

By Jenna Carpenter on 14 June 2017 for The Garden Island News -

Image above: Architect Ron Agor and representatives of the team promoting Kapaa's Hokua Place standing outside the Planning Commission Meeting during a break. The Hokua Place project was reinserted into the Kauai General Plan Update.  Photo by Juan Wilson.

[IB Publisher's note: Over the last 20 years the popular 2000 General Plan (Keep it rural!) was largely ignored by the Kauai Planning Department. Now, another travesty is born. This Kauai General Plan Update does not have the support of the general public. It should be an embarrassment even to the hacks in the Planning Department. Our planning officials should be ashamed of simply bowing to the American solution to social, infrastructure and urban problems - just build more suburban sprawl. Their plan is a sellout to our future in order to line the pockets of speculators, developers, contractors and banksters. It will also grease the palms of some career public employees and politicos. The cost will be environmental degradation, overpopulation and reduction of the resilience, self-reliance and sustainability of Kauai. The upside the public can choose to ignore this General Plan just as our current planners ignored the last.]  

On Tuesday, commissioners voted 4 to 2 to approve the seventh version of the General Plan Update, which restores Hokua Place, a proposed affordable housing development along Kapaa Bypass Road.

The Planning Commission’s work on the General Plan update is complete.

On Tuesday, commissioners voted 4 to 2 to approve the seventh version of the General Plan Update, which restores Hokua Place, a proposed affordable housing development along Kapaa Bypass Road.

In its previous version, the development had been deleted.

Kanoe Ahuna and Donna Apisa voted against the General Plan. About 20 people attended the meeting.

“I’m not comfortable making a decision. All I’ve known in the last six months are the same testimonies I don’t think we’ve addressed,” Ahuna said. “I don’t understand how we’ve heard the same testimonies and haven’t responded to that. How are we taking the community’s interest?”

Ahuna made a motion to defer the General Plan Update and have a workshop.

“So we can re-visit the critical areas,” she said.

Her motion was denied 5 to 1.

“I don’t see the point of a workshop. We are a decision-making body, and if there’s something that specifically needs to be addressed, we can bring it up and talk about it,” said Commissioner Sean Mahoney. “We’ve gone through all kinds of testimony and gone through all kinds of meetings. I think everyone’s been listened to.”

The General Plan, which contains everything from protecting Kauai’s beauty and the watersheds to addressing Kapaa traffic and designing healthy and complete neighborhoods, was last updated in 2000.

A 357-page updated discussion draft was released November 4th, after 18 months of public outreach.

But the $1.2 million project started in 2013, when the Planning Department began researching how to move forward with the update.

The Planning Commission has been tackling the update since the beginning of the year. It will now go the County Council for approval. If passed, it will go to Mayor Bernard Caravalho Jr.

During public testimony, Anne Walton, who lives in Kapaa, said the General Plan Update is built on an unstable foundation, including outdated data, inconsistencies and no rationale to support the reasons to keep Hokua Place in the General Plan.

“Let’s get back to where this General Plan started,” she said.

Carl Imparato, who lives in Hanalei, is concerned about how the General Plan addresses growth.

“We are drowning in an ever-expanding sea of tourists, and that excessive tourism growth is overwhelming our roads, parking capacity, parks and beaches, neighborhoods and lives,” he said.

He said nothing substantive was changed in the newest update.

“The current draft almost guarantees that county government will be the primary obstacle to genuine progress, rather than an ally in addressing the difficult issues that lie ahead,” he said.

Additionally, in the newest version, a paragraph that addresses a high tourist count was deleted, Imparato said.

He said the General Plan needs to go back to the drawing board, and when it does, he has two requests: The county needs to work with Kauai communities, and the General Plan needs to acknowledge and address Kauai’s tourism growth.

“Kauai’s health is poor. It’s like a patient in very serious condition. It needs surgery and rehabilitation, and all the General Plan is offering is a facelift.”

Commissioners made some amendments to the General Plan Update.

They added a definition to “provisional” as it relates to Provisional Agricultural, adopted agreements lined out in the Paris agreement and deleted a sentence that reflects a possibility of the Department of Land and Natural Resources beginning to charge people to go to state parks.The Planning Commission’s work on the General Plan update is complete.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Testimony against General Plan 6/14/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Okay given to destroy Paradise 6/12/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Nui Kuapapa 5/14/1
Ea O Ka Aina: Find and Limit Ourselves 2/17/17
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai General Plan open house 12/8/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Reject the Kauai General Plan update 11/30/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai County "Keep Kauai Rural!" 11/11/16
Ea O Ka Aina: General Plan Update  9/4/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Will developers write Kapaa's future? 5/7/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Planet Kaauai 2/26/16
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai Plan disappoints 12/9/15
Ea O Ka Aina: Potash King's Palace 6/24/10
Island Breath: Kauai Districts as Townships 3/27/08
Island Breath: Sustainability & Growth 4/19/05
Island Breath: Kauai Parks Master Plan - Puolo Point 10/7/04
Island Breath: Kauai Zoning 5/15/04

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