Lihue’s vision

LIHUE — A small but outspoken group was on hand for the Lihue Community Plan meeting Wednesday at the War Memorial Convention Hall. 

The seven chapter Lihue Community Plan outlines the boundaries of development and provides a principled vision for planning responsible land use through 2035. The goal is a more cohesive and walkable community that maintains the integrity of it character without segregation.

“It was a very intense public process, it’s long overdue, and I am looking forward to see this all come to fruition,” said Leanora Kaiaokamalie, a planner with the County Planning Department. “The implementing is going to take work but hopefully we set the framework to support all of those who are wanting to move in that direction.”

Cheryl Soon, Ph.D., a planning group manager from SSFM International, facilitated the presentation, emphasizing that demographics show a need for 4,000 new housing units over the next 20 years. The plan draws out an “Urban Edge Boundary” to define limits of urban development for best use and protection of ag land and natural resources.

The plan is a community driven direction for growth and allows private parties to know ahead of time if their plans will fit and be favorably received, she said. Public comments will be received until Sept. 12.

The group of 20 people present expressed concern in many areas. They cautioned planners that the urban edge zoning allowed for oceanfront lots north of Hanamaulu Beach. It gave the appearance of the government allowing luxury development and could create conflict with the vision.

Some were skeptical of the plan’s claim that the county and Grove Farm water supply was adequate for sustained growth, and that all developers had to do is build infrastructure to transmit water to projects.

Guests were concerned as much with consistent sidewalks as with bike paths. Others wanted to see more detail on how bypass roads would be utilized, more tree replacement projects and long-term burial of utility lines.

Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho Jr., said the plan shows how Lihue and neighboring towns are spread out and how to interconnect in ways that require less cars. It started with the Complete Streets resolution.

This is a high density area and the places to expand include behind Walmart, and near Wilcox Memorial Hospital, near the back portion of the stadium area.

“We look from the past to add on to the present and incorporate some of the technologies of today and hopefully the future to make better opportunities,” he said.

Changed 9,000 to 4,000 new housing units over the next 20 years.

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