• Land plans
Sunday’s Garden Island News article titled “Lingle Wants Agricultural Land Zoning Redefined” brought me to write this letter.
We all know that “King Sugar” is dead and will no longer be the economic engine it was in the past. On Maui and Ohau they know that drinkable water will be the most critical single resource for the future population of Hawaii. And we all should know that the current and simplistic economic model of industrial nations based on economic growth and unlimited resource consumption is bankrupt.
With this in mind it seems remarkable that Governor Lingle, as Hawaii’s elected leader, would turn a blind eye on our long term need to move to a sustainable and self-sufficient economy.
Converting farmland to gated estates for millionaires does nothing to improve our economy. Just remember the case of John Wooten, of Anahola, who wished to farm in an agricultural subdivision on Kauai and has been rebuffed by his upscale neighbors because he was spoiling their view with fruit trees. Also remember Lingle’s veto of Senate Bill 205, designed to strengthen enforcment of agricultural use of agricultural lands that was designed to help people like Mr. Wooten.
Lingle and the developers are right when arguing that the 1,550 acre Big Island site of Hokulia has never been in agricultural use and should not be considered ag land. But they are wrong about letting it be used for 750 luxury homes and a golf course. Hokulia should be considered open space wilderness and un-developable. Converting bare lava rock to golf courses and multimillion dollar homes is like building a resort on the moon. It is not worth the effort or in the interest of Hawaii to waste precious water to make more money for Japan Airlines and Arizona developer Lyle Anderson.
Don’t our leaders have better vision for the future than gated communities in suburbia? High tech industry is fine, but our existing farmland can fulfill many low tech solutions to growing problems. We can grow hardwood forests, grow corn diesel fuel, grow our own food, and grow exportable cash crops like coffee. Unless we do that, there can be little hope Hawaii will have a healthy economy or a happy people.
I suggest that Lingle support efforts to conserve productive land designated for agricultural use and promote a new and sustainable economy on that land. She should look into setting aside some ag land as wilderness. We should not encourage population growth, but find inexpensive housing for those here now. the Hawaiian idea of “wao kanaka” and “wao akua”: a proper place for the people and a proper place for nature. If we cannot create a stable self-sufficient community here in Hawaii (especially Kauai), there is little hope for mankind.
Juan Wilson, Architect