Saturday, Sept. 23, 2023 |
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• Let’s stick together
• Tolerate after the fact permits
• Bring back highway lights
• She’s waking up
Let’s stick together
It was a good day for Kaua‘i. Your articles by John Hunt and Gabriela Taylor were poignant, and eye opening. The County Council, mayor and Planning Commission have worked together over the past 10 years to effectively put us on our current path of runaway development. There is a major disconnect between their policies and the people, which will become apparent over the next few years.
Just yesterday the County Attorney asked the Council for $600,000 to hire attorneys for the purpose of floating a bond and defining the participation by developers in building additional infrastructure for Kaua‘i. The only reason Kaua‘i doesn’t look like Maui today is because our controlled infrastructure growth is lagging behind the will of developers. Kaua‘i has a choice, it can continue controlling infrastructure growth and do the same with development, or, it can let developers rape the island for profit and force infrastructure improvements to serve them. How many of the people our elected officials serve here on Kaua‘i want additional roads and higher capacity infrastructure to be paid for by our residents? Developers are primary beneficiaries of expanding infrastructure because they have more opportunities to develop. O‘ahu here we come.
I was sitting with a representative of one of the largest development companies in Hawai‘i based in Honolulu who is targeting Kaua‘i for the purchase of large tracts of land to build houses and resorts. He looked me in the eye after I mentioned it would be good to keep Kaua‘i more rural and his comment to me was, “Living in O‘ahu isn’t bad. We can be in the big city and travel a short distance to beaches and open areas.”
Wow, why didn’t I think of that. Kaua‘i can be just like O‘ahu when we grow up. What a wonderful vision. That’s the rationale of developers in their quest to profit from the beauty and baby-boomer demand for a piece of Kaua‘i. The question is, “How many people from around the world get a piece of Kaua‘i before the beauty and rural quality of life for our residents is gone?”
It’s time for the public and environmental groups to unite. Many individuals and all of the environmental groups on Kaua‘i have worked hard for many years to solve the problem. They have failed. I don’t care what your grand vision is as a single environmental group going forward — go it alone and you will fail. Yes you have had a few isolated victories, but in all actuality they haven’t made a dent in the incredibly dark clouds coming down the road for this fragile island. I don’t care if you’re a Democrat, Republican, Communist, haole, Hawaiian, neighborhood association, environmental group, or anything else … you must organize and all come together with one loud voice. If you don’t, you will lose and the Kaua‘i we love will die.
United we stand, divided we fall. You make the choice, our children are the ones who will have to live with it.
Tolerate after the fact permits
The policy of “after the fact permits” is a mechanism the county has adopted to allow property owners to bring un-permitted structures on their property into conformance with the county permitting policies and the building codes. How an un-permitted structure was built in the first place is irrelevant. It is right for the county to have a preference to have every built structure in conformance with the building codes. The only conceivable way to accomplish this is to issue “after the fact permits.” Every jurisdiction in this good country has a mechanism similar to our “after the fact permits.”
Recently, there has been reference in the County Council of a resolution advocating “zero tolerance” for un-permitted structures. In my opinion this resolution was ill conceived. This is proven by the fact that the county, wisely, continues to issue “after the fact permits” long after the passing of the “zero tolerance” resolution. It appears that the council would rather arrest, prosecute and punish people who happen to have un-permitted structures on their property.
Property owners do not want to pull building permits in order to build on their property. However, a large majority of them do because the county wants them to have building permits. Currently, there are many construction projects going on without building permits.
Good council leadership requires its members to examine the reason for this phenomenon of building without permits and applying for “after the fact permits.” It is time for the council to look within for the cause of these actions by many property owners. After all, if the county demands that building permits be acquired before construction, it is imperative that the county issue these permits in a reasonable amount of time. I ask the council to start fixing the root of the problem instead of arresting, prosecuting and punishing property owners who find the permitting process unreasonable and costly in time and money. Most of the permitting departments have come a long way in helping the people. However, there are a couple of departments that need some sort of auditing to examine fallacies that continually hurt so many.
Please, there are many families out there who want to just build shelters for their family members. Council members, help them to want to apply for building permits and build properly. Work hard on fixing the system, but please don’t be so nasty while doing it. A lot more can be accomplished by just being nice.
Bring back highway lights
Whatever happened to the lights that lit up the bridges (the Omao and Knudsen Gap) on Kaumualii Highway at nights? They were there in the ‘60s and ‘70s. Don’t know about the ‘80s because I wasn’t here. And I sure haven’t seen it since I moved back home in the early ‘90s.
The state or the county needs to put it back. The lights help drivers see the narrow opening as they drive through at night.
She’s waking up
Four major fires in two weeks time. It seems madam Pele is giving us some not too subtle hints. How much longer does the over building and under-thinking have to go on? Don’t even get me started on the ferry foolishness. An easier cheaper way to get to Kaua‘i? I think it’s a great privilege to ever step foot on this island. It should never be “easy” or “cheap.” Pele isn’t going to stand by and let her beloved Kaua‘i be molested. We all know the gals got a bit of a temper. Let’s get the message before she’s fully roused.
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