West Kauai Community Plan open houses rescheduled

  • Cat Frazier / Special to The Garden Island

    A resident, left, signs in at the Hanapepe open house in August on the West Kauai Community Plan, with county Planning Department staff ready to assist. About 45 people attended the meeting.

The County of Kauai is launching the West Kauai Community Plan to update two outdated regional development plans: the Hanapepe-Eleele Development Plan (1974) and the Waimea-Kekaha Development Plan (1978).

The plan will utilize a participatory process to develop new recommendations for land use, housing, town character, public facilities and infrastructure. Climate change, sea-level rise, social equity and historic- and cultural-resource protection will also be addressed.

To launch the public process, the Planning Department is holding a series of free events in September:

• Monday, 4 to 7 p.m. at the Kaumakani Neighborhood Center; and

• Wednesday, 4 to 7 p.m. at the Kekaha Neighborhood Center.

In August, West Kauai open house events were held at the Hanapepe Public Library on Aug. 18 and at the West Kauai Technology and Visitors Center in Waimea on Aug. 22. Two meetings scheduled Aug. 21 and Aug. 29 were canceled.

About 45 people attended the Hanapepe open house, and 15 attended the Waimea open house.

Planners staged a gallery for the public in Hanapepe to familiarize themselves with already-identified issues that will need to be addressed in the coming years.

In the effort to develop a unified outlook, they included exhibits for self-expression, including a vision wall and youth-oriented creation station, complete with Legos and markers for coloring.

In cooperation with the University of Hawaii Sea Grant Program, areas at risk of flooding due to sea-level rise and erosion were indicated on aerial maps of each municipality lining the wall where visitors could affix post-it notes of current concerns.

Community feedback will also be gathered and organized into focus workshops set to be held this fall.

These explorations are part of the dialog phase and will be centered on housing and infrastructure, economic development, transportation, heritage resources and shared spaces/recreation.

Development will continue into the spring with project prioritization, planning, mapping and code drafting, then finally review, approval and execution. The Planning Department hopes to garner community championship for what is going to be an extended vision of the future, and welcomes public participation throughout the process.

“It takes all of us to figure out the solution,” said Lea Kai‘aokamalie, a planner and GIS analyst with 20 years of experience. “It’s what we call ‘Kakou.’ Everyone is in this together.”

The open house events include an informational gallery walk, a vision wall, and a youth-oriented creation station.

The anticipated project timeframe is 18 to 24 months.

Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. has also appointed community leaders and stakeholders to a focus group that will help the Planning Department guide the process and plan development.

For more information, visit www.westkauaiplan.org or contact the Long Range Planning Division at 241-4050 or plankauai@kauai.gov.

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