Letters to the Editor for Sunday — October 12, 2003

• Turn down that VDA request

• Surprise! Surprise!

• Close the loophole


Turn down that VDA request

The A&B project at Po‘ipu / Kukui‘ula has taken on new partners, DMB, from Arizona.

They are coming before the Planning Commission and are asking to modify the zoning of the 1002 acre parcel. It is good that the proposed density of the project has been reduced significantly, but there is a catch.

The developers also propose to expand the visitor destination area (VDA) from the original 160 acre resort-zoned portion of the project to include the entire 1002 acre residential parcel.

What does this mean for Kaua’i? It means that most of the lots and homes to be built will be second homes, luxury vacation rentals, and time shares. They will be marketed to sell to wealthy non-residents.

This will do nothing to help our island’s worsening housing crisis. In fact, it will exacerbate growing social tension and stress in our community.

I urge the public and the Planning Commission to turn down the developers’ request to greatly enlarge the visitor destination area of the Poi’pu project.

Jack Lundgren

Kapa‘a


Surprise! Surprise!

The ‘scientists’ have proclaimed the Hanalei river and bay polluted. Now they can get $933,000 more taxpayer money to try to figure out how to ‘solve’ the problem that they have deemed to exist.

And they hint that a ‘centralized treatment plant’ will be their ultimate solution. Many more millions (billions?) to build sewers with homeowner hook-up fees likely to be high enough to drive all but retired millionaires out of their properties in Hanalei.

Did anyone expect any other results? These ‘scientists’ were hired by the same group who picketed tourists in Hanalei town and brought in thugs from O‘ahu to beat up tourists at Lihu‘e airport to rid Hanalei bay of commercial boaters. They started with a pre-conceived notion (pollution) and hired people to spend 4 years proving it. We have all heard the phrase – there are lies, damned lies, and statistics. The fact that the ‘researchers’ pre-ordained statistics disagree with state statistics seems not to bother them in the least.

Quotes in the article such as ‘more vacation rentals’ mean ‘more flushing’ attest to the real purpose of the report. The activists have retired here (after polluting elsewhere) – now lock the gates and keep everyone else out. Especially fight anything that might provide work- working people might have families with children. Note that after 4 years of trying, they were unable to prove that the boats anchored here in the summer pollute the bay – but they still rationalize that ‘they must do it at night’. Even though they appear innocent, they must be guilty and we still must get rid of them.

We need reasonable tourism and development on Kaua‘i. The ‘anti-everything’ fanatics are a useful counterbalance to the develop at all costs folk. But it is wrong to give them this sort of headline publicity over dubious ‘proof’. Will prospective visitors or residents recognize the source of this material?

I swim in Hanalei bay every afternoon. It is a pleasant experience. Those enterococci cited in the report have done me no harm. Nor have they harmed anyone I know. Can these ‘scientists’ produce cases where this so-called ‘pollution’ has harmed anyone? Headline articles such as this one are sure to dampen tourism – which, of course, is the purpose of all these studies.

Stan Godes

Hanalei


Close the loophole

There needs to be a State Law that restricts the amount of properties a year a Realtor can buy for his personal investment. It is common practice on Kauai to take full advantage of a big loophole in your current property tax assessment schedules. Realtors buy multiple properties for themself or in partnership with another realtor, then resell them at inflated prices.

Realtors are moving to Kaua‘i from other States, to take advantage of Kauaæi’s low property tax assessments which occur only every few years or when the County feels like it. They go on “buying frenzies” during the many years between county-wide assessments.

I suggest the County Council change Kaua‘i’s property assessment schedule, so that properties are reassessed every time they are sold and change title, as done in California. This would curb this buy-and-sell mania done by Realtors and their clients mostly from California, which squeezes out the normal family that really needs a house. It is a conflict of interest and I’m surprised it is legal in Hawai‘i.

Kaua‘i’s property taxes need to levy a higher percentage on all these multi-million dollar estates that seem to be Kaua‘i’s #1 Cash Crop. Wake up Kaua‘i! You are quickly becoming, if not already, like those third world countries where there is only the very rich who buy outrageously excessive mansions, and the very poor who can hardly afford any decent house and food on the table. I find it heart-wrenching to drive by dilapidated schools on Kaua‘i where kids don’t even have soccer uniforms, after a day of viewing extravagant multi-million dollar estates assessed at the lowest property tax rate in the Pacific Rim.

We all know these multi-million dollar estates are not owned by Hawaiian residents or by families that really need the square footage. Absentee owners of properties in excess of $2 million should be paying a “luxury transient tax”. Homes assessed to be within what a normal local could afford, should be taxed at a lower rate. This is fair. Kaua‘i wake up: you are losing a huge tax revenue by allowing these Realtors and non-residents to not pay their fair share. Now I understand why there is no money for Kaua‘i’s public school programs or public services.

Susan Eisenhut

Laguna Niguel, CA

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