Planning Commission to inspect Hanama’ulu project

The Kaua’i County Planning Commission plans to visit 29 acres of coastline area in Hanama’ulu that a land developer, EWM Kauai, LLC, plans to beautify through a massive relandscaping project.

The work calls for removal of tangled vegetation and diseased trees and the replanting of Hawaiian endemic trees and plants.

The work is part of a 460-acre residential, commercial and golf course development EWM Kaua’i has proposed for Hanama’ulu.

When Ocean Bay Plantation is completed in 15 years, the project will be among the largest residential developments in East Kaua’i, enhancing values business and homes in surrounding areas, county officials have said.

As phases are completed, the project will create new housing opportunities and alleviate housing shortages.

At its meeting at the Lihu’e Civic Center last week, the commission announced its plans to visit the 29-acre site to see what the “renaturalization” work will involve. No date was announced at the meeting.

EWM is seeking a Special Management Area use permit, a Class IV Zoning Permit and a use permit. EWM also will require approval of a Conservation District Use permit from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The area of the work runs along the north side of Hanama’ulu Bay and northward along the coastline toward Nukoli’i.

EWM officials said the presence of a significant number of dead and diseased trees poses a danger, and proposes removal of ironwood, koa haole and java plum.

The areas are to be replanted with endemic and indigenous Hawaiian trees, including False Kamani, True Kamani, milo, kou, Beach Heliotrope, Sea Grape and Autograph trees and palms. Shrubs and ground cover plants also will be planted.

The work is to be conducted a minimum of 45 feet mauka of the shoreline, the Kaua’i County Planning Department said.

At a public hearing commission held on the proposal last week, only two residents opposed the project.

Mark Boiser, a Hawaiian advocating independence, said because the Hawaiian nation still owns title to the 460 acres, EWM had no right to develop any parts of the property.

Ray Chuan, a Hanalei resident who is a declared candidate for the council, said the commission should deny the permit applications, saying there was no “rush to clean up” the coastline at this time, according to Kaua’i attorney Walton Hong, who represents the developer and attended the meeting.

Others objected to the creation of the golf course, contending runoff from it will wreck marine habitat.

But others said the developer has shown “sensitivity to the land” with its revegetation plan.

Others voiced fears that the smaller project is the “foot in the door” for the development of the bigger project, said a staffmember of the Kaua’i County Planning Department.

In an environmental assessment it has received, the state Office of Environmental Quality Control reported a master plan for the project includes 73 single-family house lots, 100 single-family and 250 multi-residential units, an 18-hole golf course and golf clubhouse, a beach club and a small retail commercial center.

The project is expected to be built in phases, starting with the golf course and clubhouse, followed by the development of 73-single family homes.

The remaining 100 single-family and 250 multi-family units are to be developed over 5 to10 years.

The developer projects site clearing, grading and infrastructure work to start next year.

The 460-acre project must go before the Kaua’i County Council for rezoning and approval. The agriculturally-zoned land was used for cane cultivation in the past.

Staff writer Lester Chang can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and mailto:lchang@pulitzer.net

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