Planning commission wants Waipouli developer to build a pedestrian bridge

LIHUE — A majority of the Kauai Planning Commission wants the developer of Kauai Village in Waipouli to construct and maintain a pedestrian bridge linking that center with adjacent Waipouli Town Center across Uhelekawawa Canal.

Originally, when a 100-unit residential subdivision was planned for the area where the Kauai Village clock tower is now located, a permit condition was drawn up mandating construction of the pedestrian bridge.

That was nearly 24 years ago.

Recently, during commission discussion of a County Council bill which if approved would mandate bridge construction, the four commissioners in attendance voiced support for the bill and bridge construction.

“I’m in favor of the bridge” because the developers said they would build it, and have been trying to get out of building it ever since, said Commissioner Mike Cockett.

“Walking is easier than driving,” said Commission Chair Sandi Kato-Klutke, who had a change of heart and now also wants the developer to build the bridge.

Initially, she said she was prepared to support Planning Department staff recommendations indicating that since the state’s Uhelekawawa Bridge along Kuhio Highway was widened, with sidewalks installed, developers need not build their pedestrian bridge.

“It’s a matter of principal for me,” said Commissioner Ted Daligdig, III, agreeing that developers should be made to build and maintain a new pedestrian bridge.

Commissioner Randy Nishimura agreed also, adding that the proposed council legislation is silent when it comes to maintenance of the bridge. He suggested the council consider amending the bill to assign maintenance of the bridge to the developer as well.

The commission’s formal action was to receive for the record the Planning Department staff report, but take no stand either in support of or disagreement with the report.

If the bridge was built as originally called for in Kauai Village’s development permits, this wouldn’t still be an issue, said Glenn Mickens.

Commissioner Larry Chaffin was absent yesterday during the morning session at Lihue Civic Center. The commission now has just five members, but normally operates with seven.

Former Chair Abby Santos, reappointed to a second term, is awaiting council confirmation. The name of a seventh member has been forwarded to the council, but no interview has yet been scheduled.

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

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