Commission reviews Princeville land plan

The Kaua’i County Planning Commission is reviewing a proposal by the Kaua’i County Council to amend a law to prevent the sale of more open spaces within a 450-acre parcel at the Princeville Resort.

Meeting at the Lihu’e Civic Center, the commission reviewed the bill, which intends to preserve the bulk of the property for use as a golf course and open space. The bill was introduced by Kaua’i County Council Chairman Ron Kouchi.

Eagle County Development Corp., the original developer of the resort, had intended the land to be used in that way indefinitely.

The council bill came about after a 21-acre parcel was recently put on the market, apparently for the development of residential uses, county officials said.

In 1995, that parcel and another parcel were sold by Princeville Corporation, the current resort owner, according to the council.

The 21-acre parcel was sold for $10,960 and was assessed by Kaua’i County in 1995 at $11,000. The other parcel sold in 1995 for $9,900.

However, the 21-acre parcel has been put on the market and the sale price far exceeds the original sale price, the council said.

The asking price “indicates that the original representations which had been made at the time of the initial zoning re-designation of Princeville Phase I may not have been transmitted to the subsequent owners of the parcel,” the bill said.

The council believes the future sale of other lots could interfere with the intent of the developer of the resort and that of the county.

The planning commission called for a public hearing on the issue, but the date wasn’t set. The commission is anticipated to make recommendations before sending the bill back to the council.

EWM Kauai project

The commission recessed a public hearing twice after George Taguma complained he was not allowed to show a video tape of a commission visit to a 3-acre revegetation site in Hanama’ulu last week.

The experimental project is part of a proposal by EWM Kauai LLC. to revegetate 29 acres of coastline located north of Hanama’ulu Bay.

That project is part of a larger proposal by EWM to develop a 460-acre residential, commercial and golf course project north of the bay.

EWM is seeking a general plan amendment to change the zoning from agricultural to urban use. The proposal also was heard during a continuation of a public hearing yesterday.

Commission chairwoman Abigail Santos called for a five-minute recess and then a ten-minute recess after Taguma complained the commission didn’t want the public “to see what I videotaped.”

Santos said the public hearing was related to EWM’s proposed revegetation project and was not for discussing the commission’s procedures on the visit. Taguma disagreed, saying “you were the ones who brought us to the site.”

Critics of the 460-acre project asked the various development requests be taken in a different order, that an approval of the revegetation project amounted to tacit approval for the entire project.

Not so, said Kaua’i attorney Walton Hong, who represented EWM. Hong said the three development requests are separate and that Ernest Moody, the developer, wanted first to clean up and revegetate the coastline for reasons of safety and aesthetics.

Commissioner Jay Furfaro said the denial of the revegetation project could have far-reaching consequences for EWM’s other land development requests. The commission is considering the revegetation project first and the other requests later.

Dr. Jack Lundgren of Wailua said he saw no damage to the existing vegetation at the site, and that ironwood trees should be left alone for future agricultural pursuits on the land.

In defense of the 3-acre revegetation test site, Hong said the developer does not condone the poisoning of dying or dead trees. He said many of the trees were severely damaged by Hurricane Iniki and that the holes marked the natural decay of the trees.

Kawika Cutcher of Anahola didn’t object to the revegetation project, but did object to approval of the 460-acre project.

Its approval will attract affluent home buyers who will bring more social problems to Kaua’i, he contended. “You are going to have pornography, drug use and the breakdown of the family,” he said.

The planning commission closed the public hearing on the proposed revegetation project, and has 60 days in which to make a decision on the proposal.

Hanalei roads

The commission heard a request from Barbara Robeson, co-chair of the Hanalei Roads Committee to make a determination on whether the state Department of Transportation is required to obtain a county Special Management Use Area permit for proposed shoulder improvements and other projects on ten miles of Kuhio Highway from Princeville to Ke’e Beach.

Robeson asked county planning director Dee Crowell to make a decision. If one is not made, she said her group will take the matter to court for a ruling, according to Chuan, a member of the committee.

DOT is planing to install metal guard rails and to make significant alterations to culverts that carry Limahuli Stream and other streams that run across the highway.

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

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