As easy as 1, 2, 3

LIHUE — ABC Stores has been given the green light to construct its fourth Kauai store in the South South community of Poipu.

The Kauai Planning Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved building permits for what will be the ABC-operated Island Country Marketplace, across the street from the Shops at Kukuiula and next to the Poipu Road roundabout.

“We have revised the design to address community concerns and we’ve tried to conform to the customs and expectations of the community,” Milton Arakawa of Wilson Okamoto Corporation, one of the project consultants, told the commission during a presentation.

The facility will include a single-story, 21,000-square-foot building with a convenient store, restaurant and coffee shop, a 1,350-square-foot outdoor dining area, a 2,150-square-foot, three-pump fueling station and 112 off-street parking stalls.

Arakawa said the project is still in the conceptual stage and it is difficult to estimate development costs at this time.

“Specific materials have not been chosen,” he wrote The Garden Island in an email. “The construction drawings are not yet complete and the project has not gone out to bid. Thus, we are hesitant to provide a specific number. We do know it will be at least $2-3 million. But any extent beyond that is difficult to ascertain at this point.”

Among those who testified in favor of the project was Louie Abrams, president of the Koloa Neighborhood Association. He said he has been very pleased with ABC’s willingness to address community concerns and make changes to the plan. 

Those changes have included moving the gas station farther away from the Poipu Road roundabout, addressing traffic concerns, purchasing an adjacent 0.5-acre lot and consolidating two buildings into one.

“Last week, we basically signed off on this project and are giving them our support,” Abrams said. 

Koloa resident Ted Blake, executive director of Malama Koloa, said his group has three things it looks for with new development in Koloa — sensibility, sensitivity and whether it enhances the quality of life.

“They’ve hit every one square on the head,” he said of ABC. “We look to this developer as setting the standard for development in Koloa. They’ve been very cooperative.” 

Two nearby neighbors testified against the project, specifically the gas station and associated noise.

Bryan Miyake, who owns property adjacent to the project site, said he is concerned about the fueling station and its potential environmental impacts.

“I’m concerned that it will affect the groundwater,” he said.

Melinda Yoman, who lives next door to the project site, said her main concern is noise coming from the gas station, which ABC was initially proposing to keep open from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily.

“That’s a lot of noise that’s going to come our way,” she said, adding that a gas station does not belong next to residential houses. 

She also requested ABC consider putting a wall between its facility and nearby houses.

Ultimately, Arakawa and ABC Stores President and CEO Paul Kosasa, who attended Wednesday’s meeting, agreed to build a six-foot wall as well as cut back hours of operation for the gas station.

The gas station will remain open from 6 a.m. to 9:30 p.m., while the rest of the marketplace will remain open until 11 p.m.

“It is an impact to the business, but it’s not a big impact,” said Arakawa after being asked for his thoughts on closing earlier. “If it’s a problem for the neighbors then we can accept (the earlier closing time).”

Commissioner Wayne Katayama said that if it were not for ABC’s willingness to close earlier for the sake of nearby residents, he would have voted in support of an amendment requiring them to do so. He felt an amendment requiring a buffer between the store and residential houses was sufficient.

There are three ABC Store locations on Kauai: one in the Anchor Cove Shopping Center in Lihue, one in Kauai Village Shopping Center in Waipouli and one in Old Kapaa Town.

When complete, the Island County Marketplace will have access from both Poipu and Ala Kalanikaumaka roads.

Chris D’Angelo, environment writer, can be reached at 245-0441 or cdangelo@thegardenisland.com.

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