Letters for Tuesday, April 17, 2007

• Kaua‘i has it

• Noise is universal

• Maybe a noise bylaw

• No need ‘Big Box’ protection

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Kaua‘i has it

I read JoAnn Pinney’s (“What’s special is Kaua‘i,” Letters, April 5) comment on the tourist’s disrespect and attitude. I agree. I visited last year just after the rains. I think it was exactly a year ago. I finally saw paradise on earth. I was blessed to meet Rudy Bagain’s family in Hanapepe. I saw God’s children there. Your island has what the world needs, and it isn’t worshipping material goods like on the Mainland. Your island offers sanctuary and tranquility for the soul. We have it all wrong on the Mainland. Read today’s Detroit Free Press. Compare and contrast. You would be putting yourself in serious danger if you ventured into nontourist areas. I’d love to conduct tour groups so disrespectful people could see what disrespect leads to, the most violent major city on the Mainland. We know what the world says about our city. Maybe some contemplation about visiting my cold, gray, gritty, and dirty city would change some minds. I have to teach tomorrow. I’ll probably wake up to the news about another human being shot and killed. We keep from going insane in this environment by meditating on the beauty of Kaua‘i and her locals. Best wishes to Ms. Morris of Kapa‘a and principal Linda White of Lihu‘e. Mahalo for letting me walk respectfully on your island.

Adios …

Hector Perez

Detroit, Mich.


Noise is universal

I had to respond to Mr. Antonson’s comment about being disturbed because he lives near a vacation rental.

I live in a residential area with no vacation rentals anywhere near my home. I am often disturbed both early in the morning and late at night by the activities of the other people who live in the neighborhood. Children scream, play, and cry, people laugh and argue, dogs bark and loud vehicles drive on the street in front of my home. I’m confident that my family also makes noise that intrudes into the yards and open windows of my neighbors. This isn’t a problem unique to this or any other island. It’s part of living around other people. I don’t believe the noise my family or my neighbors’ families make is any more or less intrusive than the noises made by vacationers. An all-inclusive ban on the vacation rentals isn’t the answer. A more active role on the part of the managers to police their tenants is needed.

Amanda Bryant

Hanapepe


Maybe a noise bylaw

As a person who likes peace and quiet myself, I do understand and share Peter Antonson’s frustration with inconsiderate noisy neighbours. But it is never an appropriate remedy to punish or ban a whole category of people because someone misbehaves. We (as visitors) were disturbed almost every night at about 3 a.m. by the neighbours (permanent residents) letting their yappy dog out and yelling at it and each other until we were fully awakened.

On Easter Sunday they rode their dirt bikes back and forth right by our cottage for several hours until we finally were forced to go out to escape the noise. Applying the same solution that Peter favours, maybe all residents should be banned from the area as well as visitors. Then there would only be the chickens left to enjoy Kaua‘i.

Or maybe we should ban them as well because they make a lot of noise too. Or maybe it just might be better for the Kaua‘i County Council to pass and enforce a noise bylaw, so only the wrongdoers would be punished (whether they be residents or visitors).

Rod Mockett

Ontario, Canada


No need ‘Big Box’ protection

I had been hearing a lot about the controversial “Big Box Bill” scheduled for public hearings by the Kauai County Council for April 25. I decided to become informed on the issue. I started by reading the bill in question, Bill 2203. I could not help but applaud the statements and sentiments in the first and second paragraphs of the bill. However, when I read the third, fourth and fifth paragraphs of the bill, which are supposed to explain the purpose of this bill, my mouth dropped open in horrified awe.

Paragraph three reads: “Experience of communities across the United States has shown that the development of ‘superstores’ — i.e., retail businesses generally occupying more than 75,000 gross square feet — result in significant and adverse community impacts, including demand on government infrastructures, traffic congestion, adverse environmental consequences and harmful, often fatal, impacts on small businesses.” I wondered on what data this statement was based. It certainly has not been my experience here. The presence of Costco, K-Mart, Home Depot and Wal-Mart have not resulted in “significant and adverse community impacts,” nor in “adverse environmental consequences and harmful … impacts on small businesses.” It is my observation that these stores have widened my choices of merchandise; but their presence has not decreased my trips to Star or Ace.

The “Big Box” stores put no greater strain on “government infrastructure.” They do not cause greater traffic congestion. Those shoppers who use these stores usually do not make special trips to Lihu‘e if they can buy what they need in their own communities.

“Superstores” cause less traffic congestion and decrease our dependance on oil simply because five starts and stops are not required to accomplish one’s shopping goals. Example: turn your attention to Kapa‘a. One must go to store number one, park, go in, complete the small portion of one’s list, return to the car, drive out to the main road, drive less than a block into the next shopping center, turn in and park, get out of the car, enter store number two, complete the next portion of the shopping list, get into the car, drive out to the road, turn into the next shopping area, park … etc.

With the advent of the superstore at least three of the stops might be combined and less time, energy and gas would be used (not to mention the reduction of stress from driving in Kapa‘a).

Kauai communities do not consist of “‘walkable,’ ‘bikeable’ small town communities” (paragraph four of Bill 2203). This character has not existed since before I came to live here in 1984. One cannot walk or bike safely in Kalaheo, and certainly not supply household needs without driving some distance. So a supercenter would not impact my driving pattern.

In addition to the above rationalization for limiting the size of a single retail or wholesale establishment, let me point out that if an entity wishes to supply a variety of goods and finds that 75,000 gross square feet will not suffice, all that is needed is a distance of 2 1/3 football fields between establishments. How inconvenient for the shopper. Note again Kapa‘a.

In summary:

The bill is ill-conceived and poorly constructed throughout: “The purpose of this proposed amendment to the CZO ordinance is to protect the citizens from net adverse impacts caused by large ‘superstores’ (paragraph five of Bill 2203).

I beg the County Council members not to protect me from “superstores,” particularly in commercial, resort or industrial districts.

Martha Ryker

Kalaheo

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