Letters for Thursday, January 31, 2008

• Request for dialog

• Be open to ideas

Request for dialog

Since the Koloa Marketplace developers have not been willing to meet with the community during this past month, we are using this method to communicate with them.

With respect and aloha, we have made the request below in the hopes we can avoid a confrontation and find a mutually satisfying resolution to the problem of the Koloa monkeypod trees on the Koloa Marketplace developer’s property.

We think now that we (the Koloa Marketplace developers and the community) may be closer in position than anyone really understands. However, because there has been no direct communication, it is difficult to verify this.

It is our understanding that under the Koloa Marketplace developers’ current plan, of the 38 monkeypod trees presently on the Koloa Marketplace developers’ property, 19 will remain onsite and 10 will be moved to new locations, which means that nine are scheduled to be cut down. If this is true, over the last three weeks, from the information provided us, the Koloa Marketplace developers have increased the number of trees to be saved over the Koloa Marketplace developers’ original plan. We appreciate these efforts.

Community members have been trying to determine exactly which 19 will be saved because the community’s priorities are the trees along and closest to Koloa Road, the canopies of which frame Koloa Road, and to know that those will be saved would bring great relief to the community. But the Koloa Marketplace developers have not been forthcoming in confirming which trees those would be.

While it is difficult for us to accept that any tree will be moved to another location, partly because we are concerned about the success rate for moving those trees, we would prefer that they be moved to somewhere in Koloa/Po‘ipu rather than cut and killed. It is our understanding that the methodology for removal and transplantation of a tree is critical if the move is to be a success (i.e., the tree doesn’t die) and that best practices require that the trees remain on property for a while to allow the tree to have a chance to recover before transportation to a new home. We would like to see best practices used in the transplanting of the trees in order to get the best probabilities of survival and success, and we, the community, would like to cooperate in making that a reality.

Finally, we would like to know which of the nine the Koloa Marketplace developers are planning to cut down. We probably would accept a few of the Koloa Marketplace developers’ proposed termination, but not the rest. At minimum we feel that the community should know the reasons those trees are destined to die (we believe that at least two are diseased and find that cutting down trees that are actually diseased is reasonable) and be given a chance to make suggestions as to how they might be saved, whether by transplantation or remaining onsite because the county will reduce parking requirements or make other accommodations to make it worthwhile for the Koloa Marketplace developers to save the trees.

We acknowledge that the final decision is with the Koloa Marketplace developers, but we would like one last chance of input and review. The Koloa Marketplace developers still hold the cards as to the decision. What harm can come from communicating with and listening to the community for one last time before the Koloa Marketplace developers take such irreversible actions, especially if that could promote understanding and reduce the chances for confrontation which none of us want.

Finally, although this open letter has been about trees, we want the Koloa Marketplace developers to know that we are also concerned that approximately 25,000 of the 80,000 square feet of the Koloa Marketplace developers shopping center is planned for the floodway. We think this is very dangerous and could incur huge liability for the Koloa Marketplace developers and the county if it approves the Koloa Marketplace developers’ plan. The purpose of this paragraph is simply to acknowledge that there is at least one other issue that is troubling the community. This being said, we want to clarify that we are willing to put aside that issue for the time being to talk solely about the trees and settle that issue first.

We look forward to a response and thank the Koloa Marketplace developers for their consideration.

Louie Abrams, president, Koloa Community Association

Be open to ideas

Bill Cowern’s idea of green power is a good one. We should just make sure that the plantations are not so close to roadways and utility easements.

Perhaps KIUC could get the tree contractors to deliver the trees they are needing to cut down directly to Cowern’s power generation plant so they don’t have to pay so much for removal. They visit our road about six times a year, cutting back many of the same trees each time. I calculate they spend at least $1,000 per day on that work.

Also, as we learn more about alternative power, smaller wind turbines could become as common and as easily understood as solar water heaters.

Then the county permitting process would be simple.

Wind turbines can be mounted directly on your house, thereby making them available to owners of small residential house lots. Then they do not need a large piece of land for installation.

These are a possibility … as we cannot sustain the costs of our current practices.

A widely distributed power generation network of quiet, reliable, small home wind turbines that do not require a large land area but utilize the building as the mounting site is the only way we can continue to add more houses and people and create power.

Instead of having to deal with the footprint of such a device on small residential lots, which involves many county permitting and inspection headaches, we could utilize devices which would become as common as solar water heaters.

A large network of small turbines would decrease overall KIUC power usage by small users: and freeing up more power to be available to the large users: hotels, colleges, resorts, businesses, state airports, hospitals, etc.

Local residents cannot sustain the increasing energy costs. Older folks and those on fixed incomes will not be able to support energy costs which will double in the next five years.

A cooperative network of small users can generate significant power to the entire network.

Please do not reject these ideas as only a totally new approach will enable us to continue forward over the next generation.

Virginia Beck, Lawa‘i


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