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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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