Letters for Monday, August 11, 2008

• A call to action

• Carvalho clarifies Superferry position

• Only bad dog owners


A call to action

Déjà vu. Two years have passed since the Planning Commission approved these unpopular projects — the 20-acre Coconut Beach Resort and the 12-acre Coconut Plantation Village. Let me shine some light on the ensuing drama that has unfolded since early 2006. 

Still not built, these two resort/condo projects are located on the beach and within the historic Waipouli coconut grove. They total 547 multi-family units/hotel rooms and 964 parking stalls, placed in the heart of Kaua‘i’s traffic hell. Public hearings at the Planning Commission drew a huge outcry from almost 300 residents who opposed these projects orally or through written testimony. Thank you Kaua‘i!

The need for an environmental assessment was ignored despite the impacts and stress these resorts would place on our landfill, waste water, sewage and electric services and Hawaiian burial sites. Although the Planning Commission passed the projects with “conditions of approval” requiring the developers to contribute to the infrastructure, some of those conditions, including a feeder road from the Kapa‘a bypass to Kuhio Highway, are being challenged in court.

These allegedly “unfair” conditions have instigated several lawsuits against the county: Coconut Beach Development, LLC v. County of Kaua‘i, et al. (Fifth Circuit Court); Coconut Plantation Holdings, LLC v. County of Kaua‘i, et al. (Fifth Circuit Court); and Coconut Beach Development LLC v. Bryan Baptiste, et al. (U.S. District Court, District of Hawai‘i).

At the same time, Nani Rogers and 1000 Friends of Kaua‘i, represented by the Hawaiian Legal Corporation, began litigation v. the Department of Planning in an attempt to stop the project based on substantial adverse environmental and social impacts that are detrimental to public interests.

The show is not over folks.

On Wednesday, the council will hear a request from the Office of the County Attorney for authorization to expend additional funds up to $100,000 for special counsel to represent the county in the cases.

Apparently, the county and the developers are proposing that several of the project’s conditions of approval be waived. In other words, the developers are free to build these massive resorts unrestrained by compulsory conditions imposed at the outset by the Planning Commission — without the benefit of a full-disclosure environmental impact statement.

Good public policy requires that discussion of issues that affect the county be conducted openly. The public has a right to know about these projects (Sunshine Law) before the council votes on them. This complex situation will be discussed (elucidated by the attorneys from “Nani Rogers and 1000 Friends”) on Wednesday morning in the council chambers.

I am angry to think that the county would appease developers at our expense. I will be at Council Chambers at the Historic County Building on Wednesday at 9 a.m. Not just as a spectator, but as a 36-year resident who loves the island too much to see them give it away. Please come and voice your opinion. Bring signs. If you cannot attend, send written testimony to the council regarding C 2008-238 and ES 350 via fax (241-6349) or e-mail (cokcouncil@kauai.gov) by Tuesday so that it can be acknowledged at the meeting. Mahalo!

Gabriela Taylor

Kapa‘a


Carvalho clarifies Superferry position

Aloha!

First of all, I would like to say mahalo to members of the Eco-Roundtable for allowing me the opportunity to participate in the candidates forum on Aug. 5.

This letter is being sent to clarify my position on the question posed regarding the Superferry at the forum. I do not believe that either a “yes,” “no” or “no answer” — as requested during the forum — can in any meaningful way accurately reflect my feelings. On any issue, it is difficult to explain a position with one or two words — and this is especially true of the Superferry. My position on the Superferry’s potential return to Kaua‘i is as follows:

I agree that an environmental study is needed so that we can identify all of the issues that need to be addressed before the Superferry could provide service to Kaua‘i. Before passing judgment on the environmental study currently being developed by Belt Collins under contract with the state, I would like to see what it says. It is my hope and assumption that this study will be thorough, revealing and useful to our collective decision-making on this matter.

Following the release of the state-funded study draft this fall, I will be prepared to make further comment regarding my support or non-support of the Superferry.

One thing to me is clear: we as a state are separated by ocean but connected by families. In these difficult times, improved forms of access between Kaua‘i and the rest of the state are critically needed. The island needs alternatives that meet the community as well as the economic needs of our island, without compromising our culture and our environment. Those are difficult goals, but not unattainable ones.

Mahalo for this opportunity to clarify my feelings on this very important issue.

Bernard Carvalho

Kapa‘a


Only bad dog owners

While it’s nice that the present council members have seemed to make some kind of decision on the “dog ordinance bills,” it’s hardly a permanent “end in sight” to the situation.

I can’t help thinking that with a sunset clause or 12-month trial, that it will benefit certain council member who are running for office in the coming elections. How convenient to get voters that are for dogs temporarily off their not vote list since they have agreed to a trial period.

First of all, it’s wonderful that we would add another dog park to the present ones. But we still have a long way to go for the dog owners that live on other sides of the island.

A one-mile stretch on the Eastside path is hardly a stretch unless you’re in poor physical shape. I can understand people’s fear of certain unruly dogs, but everyone obtain a dog training certificate? How are they going to tell if a dog is in heat or free of parasites? Also the signs that warn a $500 fine for a first offense is a bit steep even at Kaua‘i’s inflated prices.

Please rethink your prejudices councilmembers. Maybe you should take a dog education class to get over your unrealistic fear of dogs. As in the human population there is a small group of dogs who may make headlines for not being socialized. I stand by the saying “there are no bad dogs, only bad dog owners.”

Please be realistic in your excessive rules and regulations. Is it really legal to ban anyone under 18 from walking the dog on the path and only one dog per owner?

Delpha Menor

Kapa‘a

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