County pursuing $3M path spur

LIHU‘E — A proposed $3 million offshoot of the multi-use path in Kapa‘a is moving forward through the required county permitting agencies.

The county Planning Department has recommended approval of a Class IV zoning permit sought by the county Public Works Department to build the half-mile-long spur. The county Planning Commission reviewed Planning Director Michael Dahilig’s report on Tuesday. The next step will be scheduling a public hearing.

The spur, which is roughly 10 to 12 feet wide, would go from Kuhio Highway to Gore Park in Kapa‘a, beginning at the bottom of Kawaihau Road.

“The path will be constructed from concrete with graded shoulders except where it will be an elevated boardwalk,” states the application, signed by County Engineer Larry Dill. “The elevated boardwalk will either be a timber or concrete and steel structure.”

The spur is required to be in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, according to the application. A switchback pattern, going through the gulch between Hundley Heights and Mahelona Hospital, is expected to provide a maximum grade of 8 percent, which would comply with the ADA.

Justification for the project, listed in the county’s application, includes:

— Improved safety for pedestrians, bicyclists and others using non-motorized modes of transportation.

— Increased choices among alternative modes of transportation.

— Greater connection among destination nodes.

— Enhanced access to natural areas, while minimizing impacts on sensitive ecosystems or encroaching on private property.

— Increased opportunities for recreation and physical fitness.

— Economic activities associated with use of the path.

— Implementation of bikeway proposals in the Kaua‘i General Plan and Bike Plan Hawai‘i.

The department concluded the project would not have any significant adverse impacts to the environment and would not be detrimental to persons or property nearby.

“It is concluded that the proposed use is appropriate and compatible with other surrounding uses,” states the planning director’s report.

The department recommended the commission approve the project, subject to seven conditions, including following the design, complying with safety requirements, utilizing best management practices and minimizing impact to threatened species.

Despite the recommendation, the department says the “report does not represent the Planning Department’s final recommendation in view of the forthcoming public hearing process.”

The entire record of the hearing should be included as part of the decision-making, as recommended by the department. The record should include comments from government agencies, public testimony and Public Works’ response to the report and its recommendations, according to the application.

The commission meets on the second and fourth Tuesday every month at Mo‘ikeha Building, Room 2A/2B in Lihu‘e.

Look to an upcoming edition of The Garden Island for updates regarding a public hearing date and the commission’s action on the proposed project.

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