HANAPEPE — Some Westside residents support the General Plan Final Draft,
saying that it adequately addresses their children’s and grandchildren’s
future; others say the draft should be scrapped entirely and redone.
heated question raised at a Kaua’i Planning Commission public hearing on the
final draft at the Hanapepe Recreation Center Tuesday was whether further
development as called for in the draft would keep future generations on the
Westside or drive them out.
Lopaka Mansfield, manager of Waimea Plantation
Cottages, said his employees’ children are in San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas
and Tacoma, among other locations, because they are unable to find suitable
work on this island.
When families are fragmented, the community is
fragmented, he said.
He said he didn’t support the Discussion Draft of the
General Plan Update as issued in April of this year, as it did not address the
future of the island’s children and their children.
He feels the Final
Draft does, so he supports it, including the designations for resort use at
Kapalawai, resort and residential development at Kikiaola (Waimea), and
expansion of the Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor.
Joseph Manini Sr., says the
entire General Plan should be taken back to the drawing board because, if it is
enacted as written now, it will result in the destruction of significant
archaeological and historical resources without proper authorization.
further stated that the entire Westside is a historical area, and should be set
aside for Native Hawaiian homesteading.
“Please keep the Westside country,”
and keep the visitors in the resort-designated areas of Po’ipu, Princeville and
the Eastside, said Judy Naumu Stewart.
Naumu Stewart and Manini, both
Native Hawaiians, also say that the Robinson family has no clear title to a
parcel of land between Kaumuali’i Highway and the ocean near Pakala proposed to
be a resort.
Therefore, the Kaua’i General Plan Final Draft should not
include a resort designation for the Kapalawai area, they say.
Michael Belles, whose client Destination Villages Kaua’i has leased the land
from the Robinson family and is in the process of getting various state and
county approvals for a 250-cottage resort on the 160-acre parcel, said he has
legal documents proving the family has clear title to the land.
Stewart also said the alleged owners of properties at Kekaha’s Kikiaola,
Kapalawai and Puolo Point near Salt Pond Park haven’t shown documentation
indicating clear ownership of these properties.
Naumu Stewart fears 14
acres of ceded land will be removed if a proposed harbor expansion is
accomplished. She approves of dredging of the harbor so that local fishermen
can get in and out of the harbor easier, but is against further
There is a natural harbor at Waimea which could be developed,
and if ceded lands are taken for Kikiaola Small Boat Harbor expansion, she’ll
file a class-action lawsuit against the state, she said.
The area is not
big enough to support the kind of expansion planned, she added.
think twice before allowing development on the Westside,” she implored the
Cheryl Lovell-Obatake, like Naumu Stewart a Native Hawaiian and
member of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) which worked to formulate the
General Plan Update document, favors use of Kapalawai as a cultural destination
village, which could be closed at night and re-opened the next day, as opposed
to the proposed resort use.
Bruce Pleas of Kekaha isn’t necessarily against
a resort on Robinson family property, but is against resort development at
Kapalawai. “The area is too special,” he said.
If areas from Kapalawai to
Kekaha are developed for resort and other uses, such development will force
locals out of the Westside, Pleas contends.
Increased property taxes,
property values and rents will result, and Pleas questioned whether or not the
new jobs created by the proposed developments will pay high enough wages to
allow current Westside residents to remain Westside residents.
the visions for the island included in the plan, but contends the visions get
lost in the meat of the plan.
Dr. Monte Hull of Kalaheo doesn’t support the
inclusion of Kapalawai and Kikiaola resort designations on General Plan maps
and in written descriptions within the plan, because they weren’t proposed by
the CAC, but rather by individual developers.
Such proposals should be made
to go through due process demanded of other General Plan amendment proposals,
meaning Planning Commission and County Council public hearings and
Further, Hull took the opportunity at the Tuesday public hearing
to try to dispel what he called the “myth” that more development means more
jobs means more of the island’s young people will be able to stay here and work
The best and brightest will likely continue to leave the island
for college after graduation from high school, with many of them also never to
return due to a lack of rewarding job opportunities for them on this
He said he would hate to see Waimea become a resort town, because
property values, property taxes and rents would go up, forcing from the town
the poorer local people.
Many other of the 20 people in attendance at the
hearing spoke in favor of both the Kapalawai and Kikiaola proposed
developments, citing job creation and economic diversification among reasons
for their support.
Gloria McElgunn Duarte, owner of The Original Tax Lady
tax-preparation business in Waimea, moved west from east because she didn’t
like the way Kapa’a town developed.
“I’ve seen what bad development can do.
Waimea needs some development,” she said, adding that the Westside is fortunate
to have kama’aina families proposing low-key developments for the
John Francisco supports Kikiaola Land Company’s proposed
master-planned community development, which includes resort, single-family
housing, golf course and other components, as these will create jobs for
The development will also provide a much-needed boost
to the Westside economy, he continued. Alternatives to sugar employment are
needed for the long-term, in the event sugar dies, he said.
have moved away from Kaua’i and the Westside due to economic hardships, and
here comes a private developer with a proposal which will benefit the entire
community, Francisco said.
“Please do not force out our West Kaua’i
community from the area due to a lack of jobs,” Francisco said. He and others
want to be able to live and work on the Westside.
“People are important,”
and taking care of people will allow the people to take care of the
environment, he argued.
Roland Sagum III, the father of three children
concerned if there will be career opportunities for them on the island when
they become adults, is also a Native Hawaiian, CAC member and active community
He is satisfied with the work the CAC did in formulating the
General Plan Update, and his participation in the plan allowed him to hear
diverse opinions about how people would like the future of Kaua’i to be.
former county deputy planning director, Sagum said a General Plan is never
going to please everyone, with some people criticizing the plan as too
environmentally friendly, and others saying it is too pro-development.
Sagum, the plan is exactly what it is called, a General Plan with general
guiding principles for the general future of the island.
Sagum, a paid
consultant with Kikiaola Land Company, favors the various Westside development
Kekaha resident Robert Valencia agreed with Sagum, saying the
General Plan will never win unanimous approval from the people of
Valencia supports Westside development plans, which give him hope
that his grandchildren will have opportunities to live and work on Kaua’i if
Liz Hahn-Morin, who after 30 years of living on Kaua’i finally
is able to live and work in the same town (Waimea), supports the development
proposals, looking forward to the day when her children and grandchildren will
be able to not only live and work on Kaua’i, but be able to live and work on
John Sydney Yamane, a third-generation West Kaua’i
businessman, is excited about his hometown’s future (Waimea), and supports the
various development proposals.
Being in a high-tech business, he is excited
about the area’s high-tech present and future. “Sugar can’t cut it
Children are coming out of college very smart, and need smart
jobs, he added.
West Kaua’i has always been an area where growth is
planned, and the General Plan offers a vision of what people want Kaua’i to be
like, he said.
Carol Hart and Don Moses both voiced their support for
Kikiaola’s plans, especially concerning expansion of the small boat
Margy Parker, speaking as a Kalaheo resident, favors the plan to
make Puolo Point near Salt Pond Park an open-space area, adding that
recreational activities in the area would attract more people than the current
use of a portion of the area for tour helicopter operations (Burns Field, also
known as Port Allen Airport).
Ruben Ruiz, whose family has been on the
Westside for over 100 years, said he has no objection to resort designations at
Kapalawai or Kikiaola.
His concerns, as voiced loud and clear at the
commission’s first public hearing on the General Plan at Kilauea last week, are
about the proliferation of vacation rentals and their impacts on neighbors and
neighborhoods on the Westside.
Strict regulations are needed, especially
since visitors are coming to the island all year long, with no real tourism
off-season. He wants vacation rentals allowed only in places with Visitor
Destination Area (VDA) designations.
Many vacation rentals are second homes
for people who live elsewhere, and are revenue-generating accommodations, he
“Tourism, we have to remember, is a courtesy-related business,” Ruiz
told the commission.
Besides the in-person testimony being offered at the
various public hearings, Kaua’i Planning Commission Chair Gary Baldwin said the
commission and department have received over 1,000 pages of written testimony
An additional three public hearings are planned by the commission
on the Kaua’i General Plan Final Draft, including Tuesday, June 6, from 1:30
p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Koloa Neighborhood Center; and at the Lihu’e Kaua’i
War Memorial Convention Hall, also from 1:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., on Tuesday,
June 13, and Tuesday, June 20.