Princeville residential project garners favorable reviews

A proposal by a Utah company for a 68-unit, multi-family residential project at Princeville generated support from speakers at a Kaua’i County Planning Commission public hearing yesterday.

At the meeting held at the Lihu’e Civic Center, all four speakers said the proposal by MKH Properties Co. LLC., if approved, will be an asset to Princeville.

The audience members also praised the work of Salt Lake City, Utah architect Kevin Horn as being thorough and in tune with the aesthetic demands of a resort like Princeville.

They also thanked the developer for working with residents before going to the commission with a plan.

“We see it as having those elements (aesthetic and architectural concerns), which make them an enhancement to the community,” said Frances Simon, the principal partner of Kauai Design and Architecture LLC. “And we see it (the proposed project) as a contribution and something we could be proud of in the future.”

The county planning commission closed the hearing, but made no decision to receive written testimony.

MKH is seeking approval of a county Class IV Zoning permit for its 6-acre project site, dubbed Plantation at Princeville.

Company representatives said the 68 units would be housed in 17 building units, and that there would be two levels within each building unit.

The ground level would contain two, two-bedroom units, each consisting of 1245 square feet, and the second story units would contain two three bedrooms, each consisting of 1405 square feet, said Horn of Horn & Partners.

Each of the four units in the buildings also would have a 200-square-foot lanai and a 250-square-foot garage, Horn said.

In documents sent to the Kaua’i County Planning Department, Kaua’i attorney Michael Belles of Belles, Proudfoot and Wilson, which is representing MKH, said the developer wants to capture the “aesthetic and feel of the grand plantations and plantation cottages.”

What looked to be computer-generated images contained in the documents showed two-level structures with green roofs, pillars and wrap-around lanai and separate entrances.

Belles said the proposed density of the project is 20 percent less than what another owner had proposed for the site in the past. “That is 20 percent less than was approved in 1979 … a significant reduction,” Belles said.

The developer also is proposing 150 parking stalls, 68 of which are private garages connected to the units and offstreet parking stalls.

To avoid a “parking lot appearance,” stalls are proposed to be spread along a road in small clusters, the developer said.

A 24-foot drive isle will traverse through the property, allowing traffic to exit and enter at two ends of the project. Existing and planned roads appear to be sufficient to accommodate traffic from the new development, the developer said.

Belles also said there are no plans to turn the project into a “gated community,” and that the developer would be willing to sign an agreement to that effect.

The project would be serviced by Pepelani Loop, Albert Road and Ka Haku Road, the main road that would connect the project to Kuhio Highway, according to county documents.

The project also proposes a clubhouse and fitness center and a swimming pool.

The landscape architect for the project also has selected native plants that will reflect the “natural vegetation surrounding Princeville,” the developer said.

The project will be sold and developed in three phases to minimize impact on occupants of the development and surrounding single and multi-family homes, according to MKH officials.

Simons said she and others with her firm were impressed by the developer’s preference for an eye-pleasing project.

“Our concern was the aesthetic aspects of the project, the compatibility with the surrounding residence and whether this project was in harmony with island architecture,” Simons said. “We watched these guys develop the project over the past few months, and especially under the talented direction of Kevin Horn.”

Marc. D. Pomerleau, a spokesman with the Princeville Community Association, said a community design committee has given a thumbs up for the plan and that the group “looks forward for a final review that incorporates any of the planning commission’s recommendations.”

Pomerleau said he was heartened to hear from Belles that Horn and other representatives of the developer met twice last August with the community to get in their input on the plans.

Belles said the two sides discussed concerns that were important to the community, including those related to drainage, road capacity and architectural design.

As a result of the meetings, the developer revamped the project to address the concerns, Belles said.

R.C. Smith, a former resident of Princeville and now resident at Aliomanu Estates in Anahola, said he also “liked the project” and saw it as a positive one that will enhance the Princeville community.

Of Horn’s presentation and plans, Smith said he has never seen a “better new project presentation, as far as detail is concerned, the thoroughness.”

He said he liked the fact that the developer has no plans at this point to turn the project into a time-share project.

Chris Spencer, a general contractor on the project, said the development, if approved, offered him and his wife the chance to buy a home in Princeville, where they currently rent.

“I see this as a good opportunity for myself and other families,” he said.

When planning commissioner Mike Cockett asked Spencer how much he would pay for a unit, Spencer said about $400,000.

A lot of Kaua’i families can afford that,” quipped Cockett.

In documents Belles sent to the county department, he cited these justifications for the project:

  • The project is located in an area where there are existing homes.
  • The proposed use of the property is compatible with other uses in surrounding areas.
  • The development is consistent with permitted uses in the state Land Use Commission’s “urban district,” the Kaua’i County Plan urban center classification and the county’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance for general commercial district.
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