‘A new gathering’ place proposed

A small group of North Shore residents is working to build and operate a multi-use facility in Kilauea that would include an interactive miniature golf course, botanical gardens, nursery and park-and-ride bus stop.

The goal is to create an “agro-communal space” where adults and children can come together to learn about and engage in ecological sustainability and cultural awareness, county documents show.

The county Planning Commission yesterday received the planning director’s preliminary report recommending the seven-member appointed body approve the requested permits, with certain conditions, for Anaina Hou’s proposed agricultural and recreational center on 15 acres northwest of the Kuhio Highway and Kolo Road intersection.

“It gives something for kids to do,” said Anaina Hou’s Michael Kaplan, of Kilauea.

A public hearing is slated for 1:30 p.m., Nov. 25, at the Moikeha Building. After community members and county agencies provide additional input, the Planning Department will make its final recommendation to the commission.

If approved, the miniature golf course will be 18 holes that weave through water features and botanical gardens, county documents show. It will operate from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week.

The course will have a Hawaiian heritage theme, showcasing the history of the islands and its flora. Placards numbering the holes will provide descriptions of the Hawaiian Islands, from its volcanic origins, to Polynesian discovery, to the missionary movement, Pearl Harbor, statehood, and on up to the present, the report states. The history of Kaua‘i, particularly Kilauea’s plantation heritage, will also be included.

Surrounding each hole will be a botanical garden showcasing each respective era. Rare and endangered species are proposed to be a part of the gardens, which are also intended to screen the course from outside disturbances such as highway noise.

The garden nursery – which will be in operation from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week — will feature a variety of traditional landscaping and ornamental crops. It will supply small-scale residential inquiries and purchases as well as larger commercial bulk orders. Rental space will be available to local farmers, according to the report.

The park-and-ride facility, to be located right along the highway, will include 14 parking stalls and a covered bus stop for residents to park their cars and take the Kauai Bus around the island.

Although not part of the current application due to some unresolved zoning issues, Anaina Hou, which means “a new gathering,” has also proposed an outdoor amphitheater and an indoor auditorium, conference center and certified kitchen.

The group envisions a 250-seat amphitheater, providing a venue for performances and showing movies three to four nights a week.

The pavilion will act as a community center for a wide range of activities, such as plays, farmers’ markets and birthday parties, county documents show.

County planner Ka‘aina Hull has suggested solutions to some potential zoning snags that could complicate the project, which last year received the blessing of the late-Mayor Bryan Baptiste.

A northern portion of the property was rezoned years ago for a different project, but since a two-year period to commence substantial construction on it has lapsed that portion should be rezoned back from limited industrial to agriculture and open classifications, the report states.

If this yet-to-be-introduced zoning amendment is approved, it would create a non-conforming use for the miniature golf course. But the report says the project should still be approved since it would be mostly in compliance and the course interacts with conforming activities.

The director’s report also recommends the permits be conditioned to require Anaina Hou to reserve space at no cost to the county for a recycling drop-off area and make minor traffic improvements.

California transplant William Porter, a North Shore resident for the past several years, purchased the property in 2006, Kaplan said.

In 2007, substantial community outreach began to determine what residents wanted to see done with the land, he said, noting they also underscored what they did not want to see such as a shopping center or bowling alley.

The result, which received support from the Kilauea Neighborhood Association, was a project that fosters increased public transportation, provides activities for kids and educates about Hawaiian history and Kilauea’s agricultural history, Kaplan said.

• Nathan Eagle, staff writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 224) or neagle@kauaipubco.com

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