Neighbors concerned about Wailua affordable housing

Kaua’i County officials are eagerly looking forward to the day when Kauai Lagoons Resort Company Inc. leaders build 82 affordable-housing units in Wailua.

Construction of the units is a condition of government approval of permits necessary to build the master-planned, resort-residential community at Kauai Lagoons, between Lihu’e Airport and the Kaua’i Marriott Resort & Beach Club, along the Kauai Lagoons golf courses.

The vacant lot along Kuhio Highway across a small street from Kintaro Japanese Restaurant is the site of the planned housing.

Some neighbors of that property have voiced concerns that a lower-income housing complex near their multi-million-dollar condominiums might diminish their property values.

They also voiced concerns about plans to make Papaloa Road a two-lane, one-way street, saying that might add to traffic congestion and cause safety concerns for children and the elderly of the area.

Before the housing can be built, though, government leaders and the developer must resolve traffic, flooding and drainage issues that are connected with the project, located a short distance from the Coco Palms Resort.

A public hearing on the matter was conducted last week by members of the Kaua’i County Planning Commission at the Lihu’e Civic Center. The public hearing continues next Tuesday, Oct. 11.

The building of the 82 multi-family units is part of an ambitious plan by county officials to facilitate the building of 700 affordable-housing units within the next two years.

The developer of the 82 units is seeking various permits to construct the affordable-housing units as part of development requirements for a resort project by Ninini Point in Lihu’e.

Kauai Lagoons’ officials are building another 24 affordable-housing units by the second phase of the Lihue Industrial Park, again as a condition of granting of permits for the resort project.

In general, folks who attended the public hearing on the proposed 82-unit project said they support it.

A county Planning Department official noted, however, that some folks had complained that the proposal to create a two-lane, northbound, one-way Papaloa Road could create traffic hazards for children who would be living at the planned affordable-housing project.

Others voiced concerns that ponding has and can continue to occur at the 6.7-acre project site, and on adjacent mauka properties, during heavy rains.

At the same time, another person at the public hearing voiced concerns about flooding, a county planner said.

Solutions or mitigation measures are likely to be offered and recommended by members of the Kaua’i County Planning Department before commission members take action on the application for permits.

So housing can remain affordable for residents, Kaua’i County leaders have stipulated that the developer must keep the units in the “affordable” range for 10 years.

After the 10 years are up, county leaders would have first crack at buying any of the units, but at market prices, a county official said.

According to documents, the project could consist of nine eight-unit buildings and one ten-unit building, an office and maintenance building, a parking area, and two courtyards.

The developer is seeking a variance from the allowable lot coverage in an open district portion of the lot for a parking lot and access way.

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