Paintball fields planned in Koloa

State Land Use Commission members today, Wednesday, Nov. 2, are scheduled to tour parts of Koloa, where Kauai ATV, LLC leaders plan to build the island’s first and largest privately-owned paintball fields.

Paintball is considered one of America’s fastest-growing sports.

Company leaders also plan to stage commercial kayaking and sailing activities at Waita Reservoir, and to operate multi-passenger, all-terrain vehicles.

The company already has approval from the Kaua’i County Planning Commission to operate single-passenger ATV tours in the area.

The proposed projects are intended to be carried out within 12,438 acres of land owned by Steve Case, who recently resigned as director of AOL Time Warner, the largest media company in the world. Case is to spend more time with his new investment fund, Revolution LLC.

The acreage is among 40,000 acres from Hanama’ulu to Maha’ulepu Case acquired when he bought Grove Farm in late 2000, and the land once known as Lihue Plantation in early 2001.

For the Kauai ATV proposal, state LUC leaders plan to stop by the company’s staging area at the old Koloa sugar mill at 3:30 p.m. today, and then visit the sites where the company proposals are planned to be implemented.

The state LUC members plan to meet at the Aloha Beach Resort-Kauai in Wailua at 9 a.m. this Friday, Nov. 4, to take action on the Kauai ATV proposal.

Members of the Kaua’i County Planning Commission have already approved Kauai ATV leaders’ request for use of single-passenger all-terrain vehicles, and have approved as well the latest proposal that has been sent to LUC members for action.

The LUC members are involved in the proposal because the proposed undertaking involves activities that would take place in an area in excess of 15 acres.

Kaua’i attorney Walton D.Y. Hong, who is representing Kauai ATV, emphasized the projects will take place on only a few acres among the 12,438 acres, and that company leaders have no plans to use every inch of that acreage.

Existing cane-haul roads will be used for the ATV activities, and to bring participants to the paintball activities, Hong said.

No new paths have or will be created for the ATV activities, Hong said.

The expanded ATV activities will enable children, youths and senior citizens to see the back-woods of Kaua’i without having to operate ATVs themselves, he said.

The latest proposals would allow those folks to sit on the back of five-passenger ATVs that will be driven by a company employee, Hong said.

“There are underage or elderly people who want to go on the tours, but they can’t (now),” he said.

Kauai ATV leaders also plan the construction of a six-acre paintball park for beginners and “visitors who may want to try it out,” and a four-acre park for those who are more experienced in the sport, Hong said

A speedball tournament field will be used for competition.

“Paintball is a growing sport, and we are told that groups are undertaking paintball games (on privately-owned lands) without permission from property owners,” Hong said. “It affords more reachable opportunities for visitors and residents.”

The paintball parks will provide a place where the activity can be regulated and supervised, he said.

In the sport, participants wear protective garments, helmets and eyewear, and shoot paint-jell capsules that are water-soluble.

As part of Kauai ATV’s plans, non-motorized boat activities also will be carried out at the Waita Reservoir.

Kauai ATV leaders have a license with officials from Grove Farm Company for their current commercial operations on the land, and have no plans to build new routes should they get approval from LUC members on their latest proposal, Hong said.

“We do not create new roads, and will use existing cane-haul roads, and we will help maintain the roads,” Hong said.

Kauai ATV leaders are environmentally-conscious, he said, and don’t want their commercial activities to cause erosion or other damage to the land.

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