Princeville residents lack voiceTo the Forum:

I enjoyed Mary and Bill Chase’s refreshing article describing the interesting

venture by Kilauea residents for public meetings regarding land use planning

for their community. It is a marvelous idea and it is to be hoped that it will

be fruitful.

By contrast land use planning in Princeville occurs in

negotiating sessions between Princeville Corporation and the County Planning

Department in which the residents have little or no voice.

This divergence

reflects the difference in origin and land holding in the communities. At the

outset of its development all land in the Princeville area was owned by

Consolidated Oil & Gas., a corporate predecessor of Princeville

Corporation.

The Corporation determined that it wished to develop

Princeville as a self-contained “resort community” and it obtained County

approval for this concept. This arrangement, though, was a new one for both the

County and the Corporation, and has not been well-handled.

The resort or

commercial facilities (the Corporation’s principal focus) emerged largely as

planned and well over 800 persons are now at work in Princeville, with the

majority of them being employees of the Corporation and its affiliated

hotel.

But the community aspect never did meet expectations. When

time-sharing arrived in the early 1980s, the Princeville situation was

exacerbated by the adoption by the County of the Visitor Destination Area (VDA)

Ordinance and the designation of all of Princeville within the area.

Princeville now has over 300 timeshare units and about 300 more are planned

from new units which are approved for building and from existing condo units

that are being converted.

Excluding the timeshare units, Princeville has

about 1,500 dwelling units, but like the timeshares a large majority of them

are non-resident owned. Because most of the non-resident owned units are

offered as vacation rentals, the fact is that residents are only a minor

portion of the Princeville population.

Without an adequate core of

residents an area is just not a community.

As the Corporation had promised

that there would be sufficient housing in Princeville for the people working

there, in 1988 the County required that a condition be attached to an Ordinance

relating to the Princeville Shopping Center for the Corporation to provide 100

units of employee housing.

Unfortunately, this condition was largely

futile as it depended on a shopping center expansion to be effective. Although

a housing shortage was developing, for about 10 years the Corporation took no

action.

Last year the Corporation sought to eliminate the condition and

reached an agreement with the Planning Commission under which the County would

receive $1.2 million in cash and property for termination of the

condition.

If the County had, in this deal, undertaken to meet the

Princeville housing needs, the agreement might have been acceptable. But the

County wanted its benefits without any burden, with the net results that the

County would be enriched, the Corporation would escape an obligation, but the

community needs would be ignored.

When this position generated a public

uproar, the Corporation recently withdrew its application to remove the

condition, and the serious housing needs remain outstanding and

unanswered.

For our planned self-contained communities, the County must be

accountable to assure that the developer’s program provides the community with

the facilities and amenities that are appropriate for the needs of its

people.

If the planning process is to have integrity and serve the public

interest, Kauai County and Princeville Corporation should be mandated to act

with resident participation to assure that residents who wish to work in

Princeville have suitable housing. Can government really work? Wait and

see.

Walter Lewis

Princeville

Princeville

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