Home Lands Kaua‘i projects develop

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands wants input from Hawaiians on future development in Anahola — Kaua‘i’s largest Hawaiian community — and in Wailua, the most recent planned community.

At a community meeting at the Anahola Clubhouse Tuesday, DHHL officials heard discussion on traffic improvements in Anahola, proposed adjustments along Anahola’s coastline in the county’s proposed 16-plus-mile bicycle and pedestrian pathway from Ahukini to Anahola, the phased building of 160 new homes and the possibility of building the region’s first sewage treatment plant to accommodate new housing.

Hawaiian Homes Commission Chairman Micah Kane, DHHL officials and state and county legislators were anticipated to attend a 6 p.m. meeting today at the Aloha Beach Resort to gather public input on another regional plan for DHHL lands behind the Kaua‘i Community Correctional Center in Wailua.

The plans offer a way for DHHL beneficiaries to help determine the look and future of their communities, said Julie-Ann Cachola, a community and land use planner for DHHL.

“It is a way for people to say they want some things,” she said.

Tuesday night’s meeting was a fact-finding mission for Cachola, Darrell C. Yagodich, a DHHL planning program manager, and Paul Anderson, a civil engineer with Lyon Associates, a Honolulu consultant.

The DHHL is working with community leaders and residents on 18 regional plans statewide.

The Anahola and Wailua plans could be adopted by the DHHL board if all involved can agree on the priority of the projects. A plan for Hawaiian home lands in Kekaha also is likely to be developed in the future, officials said.

Too often in the past, DHHL beneficiaries have not known about community projects until work started, but that situation has changed under the leadership of Kane, an official, who did not want to identify himself, said.

Kane frequently meets with community leaders on O‘ahu or flies to the Neighbor Islands to meet them.

“People need to know what is going on in these communities,” Cachola said. “We want to know ahead what is happening. Being involved allows people to have a say in what goes on in their communities.”

The department can create partnerships with beneficiaries, state government agencies, non-Hawaiian business groups and organizations and residents to develop projects and fund them for the good of the community, Cachola said.

Hawaiian Home Lands may acquire funding as well from the Legislature to make prioritized projects a reality. “It is not hit and run with the plans,” Cachola told about 20 at the meeting Tuesday.

On the bicycle and pedestrian pathway through Anahola, Kane Pa said he would like to see a 30-foot wide road built on a coastal trail, but wanted assurances people will have continued access to the beaches of Anahola.

Yagodich said DHHL beneficiaries in Anahola will play an important role in deciding the design and alignment of the pathway through department lands.

“You can have no bike path, half a bike path,” he said.

Whatever alignment is selected, the pathway will not be put in areas with homes, he said.

Related to improving traffic in Anahola, the federal government may put a concrete roadway on an old cane haul road that would run through the new Pi‘ilani Mai Ke Kai subdivision.

The road would continue mauka to the highway, where intersection lights can be installed to promote safety, Pa said.

KipuKai Kuali‘i, who will be moving into Pi‘ilani, said turn lanes to the mauka side and the makai side of Anahola town should have been installed long ago, and are needed desperately because of heavy traffic.

“A stop light, crosswalks,” he said. “Now, now, not 10 years from now.”

One audience member said high-volume and fast-moving commuter traffic on Kuhio Highway through Anahola town makes more state Department of Transportation road improvements mandatory.

Some audience members welcomed updated news on the Pi‘ilani Mai Ke Kai subdivision, to be built in three phases on 71 acres on the coastline of Anahola.

Work on some 160 homes will start at the end of this year or in the first three months of 2008 when infrastructure work is completed, said DHHL Kaua‘i spokesman Roland Licona.

Although 160 lots were awarded last October, that number is likely to increase somewhat because DHHL will relocate or has relocated beneficiaries with lots that were not developed.

DHHL has so far awarded 522 residential lots and 47 agricultural lease lots for Anahola and 44 residential lots in Hanapepe.

Homes sit on many of the lots, but some have remained vacant because the awardees have not been able to build yet.

Hawaiians welcome the Pi‘ilani housing project because it is the first one being developed on Kaua‘i in nearly 10 years. Another 700 homes are planned to be built after the Pi‘ilani project is complete.

All the new homes would be fitted with septic tanks, but the state Department of Health has deemed it necessary to have future residential projects hooked up to a new sewage treatment plant due to density of homes and the additional ones coming up in the Pi‘ilani project, Yagodich said.

But some audience members voiced concerns about unwanted odor that may come from a treatment plant, and indicated a thorough study should be done before it is built.

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