Funding for Lihu’e Development Plan seen as ‘critical’ for town’s future

LIHU’E — Updating the 26-year-old Lihu’e Development Plan is seen as “critical” to the future of the town and island, according to planners and Lihu’e business interests.

Keith Nitta, the county Planning Department’s long-range planner, said Lihu’e is the “heart of the island,” and without a strong heart the rest of the island will be weak.

“Updating the plan is critical to the future of Lihu’e,” said Curtis Tom, a manager with Bank of Hawai’i, moderator of the Lihu’e Business Association, and chair of the county’s Board of Water Supply.

“Almost every form of commerce passes through Lihu’e,” as well as nearly every resident and visitor, Tom said.

In his capacity as LBA moderator, Tom has written a letter to Mayor Bryan Baptiste, asking the mayor to include in the county’s budget for fiscal year 2003-04 (beginning Tuesday, July 1) $300,000 to update the Lihu’e Development Plan (LDP).

Baptiste has included $250,000 in his proposed 2003-04 budget to update various island development plans, including Lihu’e’s, according to Cyndi Ozaki, the county’s public information officer.

Members of the County Council are now combing through Baptiste’s first-ever administrative budget.

Ed Tschupp, manager and chief engineer of the county Department of Water, agrees that Lihu’e is the logical place to start where updating various regional development plans is concerned.

It would be “highly advantageous” to DOW leaders to have the LDP updated, especially since Lihu’e has suffered from a “chronic shortage of available water supplies” for several years, Tschupp said.

Knowing where residential and commercial development are planned to take place in Lihu’e’s near future will allow DOW officials to plan for the water needs of those developments, he added.

Meanwhile, some $250,000 is included in the current year’s budget for various planning items.

Some $90,000 of that is for implementation of various changes made to the Kaua’i General Plan through that two-year update process, and to begin updating the county’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) so that county zoning law meets General Plan vision.

The other $160,000 is for developing a Kilauea Development Plan, with other funds for other development plans.

If those funds aren’t used by Monday, June 30, they lapse back into the county’s general fund.

Nitta said county Planning Department officials are in the process of getting contracts signed, and going through procurement channels, so that the money can be used before the end of the current fiscal year.

Staff Writer Paul C. Curtis can be reached at mailto:pcurtis@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 224).

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