Talk of moratorium helps forge agreement

The Koloa Community Association has forged an agreement with a South Shore developer to help pay for a traffic study and infrastructure to ease traffic congestion and to prevent overdevelopment in Po‘ipu.

Group leaders announced the agreement during a Kaua‘i Planning Commission meeting yesterday at the Lihu‘e Civic Center on requests for permits by Historic Koloa Village to build a 45,000-square-foot shopping and office complex and 31 multiple-family units on 12 acres near the intersection of Koloa Road and Weliweli Road.

Commission vice president Louis Abrams said the agreement also requires eight other South Shore developers to fund the traffic study and to pay their “fair share” of infrastructure, like roads, sewage treatment and water sources.

Two weeks earlier, the developers hedged on the proposed agreement, Abrams said during a break in the commission meeting.

But they changed their minds when the subject of Kaua‘i County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura’s proposed moratorium came up, Abrams said.

Yukimura is proposing a moratorium on the issue of permits in the South Shore until the county has completed a development plan for Koloa, Po‘ipu and Kalaheo.

“It is funny how they changed their mind … if not they would have had the moratorium (to deal with),” Abrams said.

Yukimura, it is anticipated, will submit her ordinance proposal to a council committee first. If the measure is approved at that level, it will go to the full council for a vote.

The planning commission closed the public hearing on Historic Koloa Village’s proposal yesterday after the agreement was announced, Abrams said.

The agreement would affect some of the biggest developers from that region, including Kukuiula Development Company, Hawaii, which is developing a 1,002-acre resort, commercial and residential project in Po‘ipu.

Abrams said his group also supported the closing of the hearing for the Historic Koloa Village project only after the developer agreed to allow Spencer Leineweber to review the design plan of the project.

Leineweber, who is a professor of architecture at the University of Hawai‘i Manoa campus on O‘ahu, designed old Koloa town.

Carol Ann Davis, a resident of Po‘ipu for 43 years, said she supports the project, but opposes plans for multi-storied buildings. “I am not trying to stop anything,” Davis said. “I just want a design that works.”

Speaking by phone from California, where she is visiting, Davis said most buildings in Koloa town are one-story, and she wants the developer to do the same with its project.

“The largest building in the project is two stories, and has concrete steps leading to it,” she said. “It is modeled after the Lahaina Hotel (on Maui), and the design for that hotel has nothing to do with the Kaua‘i project (or the rural ambiance of Koloa).”

Davis also said, “If the buildings are constructed, we will see a total change in our little town.”

Gregg Kamm, a spokesman for Historic Koloa Village, provided information showing two-story commercial buildings in Koloa town, and suggested the developer should have the same privilege to build the same type of buildings.

Historic Koloa Village developers want to become part of the community. They are willing to contribute to the cost of developing a northern leg of the western bypass road from the ocean to Koloa to help with traffic circulation, Kamm has said. The developer has created a pedestrian circulation plan and will only use Hapa Road in emergencies, Kamm has said.

Abrams said the community’s main objection to the project has “been traffic and the design revision, which is called for in the county’s Koloa, Po‘ipu and Kalaheo development plan.”

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

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