CIRA de CASTILLOTGI Staff Writer
LIHU’E — Most would agree that long-term rental and affordable housing on
Kaua’i’s North Shore is at a premium. Whether Princeville Corporation should be
a part of the solution remains to be seen.
The County Council has scheduled
a public hearing for Wednesday, March 15, to hear comment on a bill that would
eliminate a 1988 zoning condition that required Princeville to build 100
employee housing units before it could rezone and expand its shopping
In November, the county Planning Commission approved Princeville’s
proposal for a land and money swap in lieu of building houses. The Council must
approve the deal before it becomes final.
County Councilman Gary Hooser
said there are two issues that need to be considered. One is whether there is a
need for housing on the North Shore. The other is the value of the
“I am hearing conflicting information,” he said. “Housing (County
Housing Agency) says there is no need and the people in the community and the
things I read in the newspaper tell me there is a need.”
Commission, Hooser said, estimates the value of the exchange at $1.2 million.
“Unless someone can prove differently, 100 units of housing is worth a whole
Hooser has directed county Housing Administrator Ken Rainforth
to compile North Shore housing market data. When the Planning Commission was
deliberating Princeville’s request, Rainforth said there was “no appreciable
demand for employee housing or affordable housing in the Princeville
Later, he acknowledged the North Shore housing shortage but
maintained that it’s in the county’s best interest to accept Princeville’s
Princeville has agreed to deed to the county a half acre parcel
at Black Pot Beach Park in Hanalei as well as pay park dedication fees on
certain lots within the resort community.
Jim Pycha, of Real Estate
Kauai.com, says the North Shore real estate market is the tightest its been for
the past 30 years.
“There is a significant need for affordable long-term
rentals and housing,” he said.
But, he said, he believes the deal
Princeville is offering the county is a fair exchange. “The Black Pot Beach
area is a contribution to the betterment of the community and the cash exchange
is always good,” he said.
Ken Kubiak, of Pacific Paradise Properties, also
assessed the North Shore housing market as tight. There’s hardly anything
available to rent, he said, and when something becomes available, it’s rented
almost immediately and the price is high.
Both Pycha and Kubiak questioned
where a 100-unit project could be developed on the North Shore. “All the
available land here is zoned agriculture,” said Kubiak.
He speculated that
Princeville might be able to build employee housing units when it develops its
Rainforth said the original condition required Princeville
to build 100 employee units of which 25 percent had to be affordable. But, he
said, there’s no guidance in the ordnance to define affordable.
Princeville can build $300,000 homes and say, hey employees come buy, and in
six months when there are no buyers they can request relief from the county to
sell to the general public and the county has gained nothing. So what does that
solve?, Rainforth asked.
“There has always been talk that Princeville has
never done its part when it comes to affordable housing, and I can probably
agree with that,” he said. “But I don’t see how you can turn this ordnance into
something that can make Princeville do affordable housing.”