Letters for Sunday — February 26, 2006

• Long-range planning problems

• Appeal was misunderstood

Long-range planning problems

Is the Planning Department and the Kaua’i County government scrapping the Kauai General Plan that was reworked in 2001?

It would seem so.

At the Jan. 31 Planning Commission meeting, three rezoning cases were at issue: One in Kalaheo was changed from Open District to Residential 4; Two other cases were under consideration — one parcel in Waimea another in Lihue.

Both are presently Open District.

A Grove Farm parcel in Lihu’e was granted change from Open to Residential at the Planning Commission Feb. 14.

Regarding the parcel in Waimea, the Planning Department needs to check, for the Planning Commission, whether the Open designation wasn’t a mistake. The current owner of that Waimea property is a family corporation on Oahu that is asking that the property’s zoning classification be changed from Open District (O) to Residential District ( R-6). “The property was a rice farm a generation ago. It’s not an accident or mistake that this lot was designated Open District. It was done so in order to keep the rural nature of Waimea Valley intact,” states local architect Juan Wilson.

The Kauai General Plan states that the rationale for Open Land policy is so the land “shall remain predominately free of development” and that any development “shall be clearly incidental to the prevalent nature of the surrounding area.”

The property in question is adjacent to the only residential county park mauka of the highway. As such, its use as open space is more in keeping with the purpose of the Zoning Regulations and General Plan than it would be as condominiums in a R6 Residential District. Open District will allow for some development but not as densely as residential.

In the cover story of Hawaii Business, dated Nov. 2005, “Kauai in Crisis,” it states that although the main roads are clogged and snarled, development on Kaua’i is going on open throttle. Developers from the north to the south shores are moving full speed ahead, with over 10,000 new visitor and residential units being built over the next year or two, and a total of more than l6,000 new units coming online over the next two decades.

Keith Nitta, the long range planner, says that because the majority of the county’s zoning was authorized 30 years ago, it’s difficult to rescind the landowners’ rights. “For years, they haven’t been using their land, but they’re paying the higher taxes on it because it’s zoned for urban use.”

The comment of the planner doesn’t shed light on the present tendency to allow rezoning from Open District to Residential. Looking at what is coming from the Planning Commission, I’d say there is no thought of the General Plan. The question we must ask is the Planning Commission and the Planning Department carrying out planning strategy or carrying out giveaways?

  • Linda Harmon

Appeal was misunderstood

Bob Yount wrote a letter; “Where does greed start?” dated Feb. 21, in response to my letter; “Any heroes out there?” dated Feb. 18 — and I believe he misunderstood what I provided as mere SUGGESTIONS of how business and property owners might be able to step up to the plate and help fix this mess of inflated rents and stagnant wages (to be a “hero,” in my eyes).

Mr. Yount feels that perhaps I am suggesting a Dictatorship (and myself as the Dictator?).

My appeal was simply that the property/business owners decide for themselves how much is enough profit … to do some introspection, and decide for themselves if/how much they might be willing to let go of their own profits/excess and cut some slack for the “working class poor” of Kaua’i. Not just enough for the people to stay afloat; but possibly even exceed and pursue their very own goals and dreams.

To me; this is not a fantasy or a “dream,” as Mr Yount suggests. Nor is it unrealistic at all. I know of several personal “heroes” of my own who DO know “how much is enough” and do not hold greed in their hearts: Dave & Nancy, Bob, Mike, Christopher, my employers …I can name quite a few more, but the bottom line is this: My intent and hope was to touch the hearts of others — so they could perhaps also take what may feel like a risk to them; yet as a result: experience the joy they would experience by sacrificing very little of their own financial profits and bring a little hope to the people of Kaua’i.

Hell is a place where those who have forgotten how to dream (or hope) live. Our island of Kaua’i is one of the few rare places where it is yet far from unrealistic to dream and hope. And one of the few rare places where the people can express their opinions, thoughts (and disagreements) in their local newspaper without being unreasonably censored or having someone (a Dictator, perhaps?) determine which submittal is worthy of publishing.

As a final note; call me a fascist if you like; but I would like to see property owners be allowed to legally require random drug testing from their tenants (at the tenant’s expense) in exchange for lower rents. Does this not sound like a fair deal for all of us? I would be willing to be the first to step in line for my random drug test.

  • Jaana Mäkipa’a

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