N.S. housing needs may not sway Princeville decision

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

center.

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

exchange.

“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.”

The Planning

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

lot more.”

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

area.”

Later, he acknowledged the North Shore housing shortage but

maintained that it’s in the county’s best interest to accept Princeville’s

proposal.

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

mauka property.

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.

“So

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.”

0 Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

By participating in online discussions you acknowledge that you have agreed to the TERMS OF SERVICE. An insightful discussion of ideas and viewpoints is encouraged, but comments must be civil and in good taste, with no personal attacks. If your comments are inappropriate, you may be banned from posting. To report comments that you believe do not follow our guidelines, send us an email.