Bill would slow development

Kaua’i County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura wants to temporarily put the skids on South Shore development.

Yukimura, a former mayor and an advocate of planned growth, plans to submit a bill to the council that calls for a temporary cessation on the issuance of permits until county leaders have approved the county’s updated development plan for the Koloa, Po’ipu and Kalaheo areas.

The bill would prevent the county’s issuance of any zoning, subdivision, or building permits or processing of applications for projects in that region, Yukimura said. The council is scheduled to hear the bill for the first time during its meeting at the historic County Building on May 10.

The bill drew strong support among 125 or so people who attended a meeting of the Koloa Community Association Thursday night, according to South Kaua’i resident Carol Ann Davis-Briant.

The legislation comes at a time when some residents have voiced opposition to any issuance of permits by the Kaua’i County Planning Commission for two large resorts in Waipouli in East Kaua’i.

Critics have stepped forward to lodge complaints even though the developers, Coconut Plantation Holdings and the Coconut Beach Development, have collectively offered to give the state and county governments $12.4 -million to help resolve traffic, water and waste concerns for that part of the island, with approval of their permits.

In the Yukimura bill, she noted “our beloved community of Kaua’i is feeling besieged by unplanned and uncontrolled development,” a trend that has threatened the Koloa-Po’ipu-Kalaheo area.

“By the fact that the county is undertaking an update of the Koloa-Po’ipu-Kalaheo Development Plan, we are acknowledging that there is a desire and a need to re-examine where we are headed,” Yukimura wrote.

To reach that goal, people need a moment to “breathe and come together,” she said.

Yukimura said that means “citizens, government, land owners, businesses, developers, environmentalists, young and old and all, asking themselves: ‘What kind of place do we want to create for ourselves, our children and their grand-children?’ and ‘How can we best get there?'”

From her perspective, the passage of the bill will give area residents the chance “do good planning and create a functional, safe and wonderful community in which to live.”

In her bill, Yukimura noted the plan is being updated to “preserve the social, economic, and environmental values of the South Shore community, to ensure orderly growth and to provide adequate infrastructure so that the community may function efficiently, safely, and sustainably.”

The bill, if approved, would not apply to single-family homes, to subdivisions of fewer than five lots, or to projects for which permits have been legally issued or granted.

The legislation, if approved, will stay in effect only until the updated plan is completed.

When the county will take up that plan is not known, but work has gotten under way to update the development plan for the Kapa’a area at this time, a county official said.

Should the bill become law, penalties will be lodged against violators, Yukimura said.

Related to more development on the Southside of Kaua’i, Bryant contends that trend will ruin the rural feel of the area, and urged residents to speak out against them at government meetings.

During public hearings scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Lihu’e Civic Center, the Kaua’i County Planning Commission will hear the pros and cons of two proposed South Shore projects.

Koloa Marketplace wants to build a shopping center and office complex off Koloa Road. Plans also call for the relocation of the Po’ipu Post Office.

Kiahuna Poipu Golf Resort plans to build a resort residential project consisting of 280 multi-family units, two single-family units and other amenities on 28 acres mauka of Poipu Road.

County officials and developers have said such developments benefit the community by increasing the value of surrounding properties and creating jobs.

Residents, however, have objected to such projects of late because of concerns about continued growth on the island and the slow development of more roads or traffic-mitigation methods to deal with increased vehicular traffic on Kaua’i.

  • Lester Chang, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) and lchang@ kauaipubco.com
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