Hearing a little more from our mayor

At the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s inaugural “Mayor’s Luncheon” on July 21, Mayor Bernard P. Carvalho, Jr. delivered a one-hour talk that covered many of the county’s accomplishments, challenges and goals. The mayor might not be the most gifted public speaker, but he is passionate. He enjoys providing a general overview of the county’s plans and what he hopes to do in his final term, without getting bogged down in specifics and details.

Because the mayor had so much to say and the meeting went long, there was no time for questions from the audience. But people there were allowed to submit written questions to the mayor and on Thursday, the chamber issued answers. Here are some of those questions and answers that we hope provide an insight to our mayor’s views.

Please look at adding ADUs (Affordable Dwelling Units) for ohana members. We are losing our families because of the affordable housing crisis. ADUs will provide lots of affordable housing that does not cost the county anything. It is a win-win.

ADUs are currently allowed on all residentially zoned lots that qualify for only one house. I am concerned about families wanting to provide a place for their children and I’m open to exploring options. This could be a complicated issue, however, because of the varying degrees of interpretation of what an ohana member actually constitutes. In addition to that, the enforcement of regulating based on familial relationship could be challenging.

If I qualify for affordable housing and purchase the unit. I should not be able to sell and make a profit. If I sell, I should give the county back the profit.

There are many types of affordable housing programs such as self-help and state and federal government-subsidized housing, and each one has its own conditions. For county projects that were built since the housing ordinance took effect in 2008, there are sale restrictions such as buy-backs and shared equity.

What is your position on ag tourism?

Currently, there is a special permit process in place for ag tourism. Some members of the public have advocated for an over-the-counter process for ag tourism proposals. While this sentiment can be understood in order to streamline ag tourism projects, it should be noted that our ag lands have been subject to years of abuse and misuse. The special permit process is the best way that we can ensure that the ag tourism operation is functioning in conjunction with an actual bonafide farm, and therefore both allow ag tourism in appropriate areas while simultaneously preserving our agricultural lands and protecting them from further abuse.

Do you support farmers being able to supplement their income?

Yes, however not at the expense of abused and misused agriculture lands. It all depends on the manner in which a prospective farmer is proposing to supplement their income.

Bike path – When do you start and finish?

I’m unclear about this question.

Ke Ala Hele Makalae, the multi-use path, has been done in phases with the first one being completed at Lydgate in 2004. It is my goal to connect the different segments of the path from Lydgate to Kuna Bay, including the Kawaihau Spur, before my term ends in 2018.

You talk about working together with aloha. Building and Planning are adversarial to most citizens. How can you transform these dysfunctional government services, and not just talk about it? It’s not only better systems, it’s people that work with the aloha spirit you describe.

We have identified many shortcomings in our e-plan review and land management programs, and are working to address users’ concerns. At the same time, we are working to develop a centralized land information management system so that information and maps can be easily accessed by the public.

Providing excellent customer service in county government is one of our priorities, and we try to promote the aloha spirit throughout the county. We have had customer service training sessions for all of our employees and outstanding employees are recognized on a regular basis. I am sorry to hear that you have had negative experiences with the Building Division and Planning Department. At the same time, I have to say that a number of employees in these offices have received commendations from the public.

Would it be possible to leave the contraflow up until 3 p.m. on Wednesdays?

RESPONSE FROM STATE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:

The Kauai District Office staff has changed the times of the contraflow many times in an attempt to improve traffic. If we change the time of the contraflow, it just changes the direction of the backup. Adding to the difficulty is the fluctuation in traffic during days of the week, the month, and the time of year. Having said this, the current times of contraflow seems to provide a balance between the north and south directions.

What can be done to encourage doctors to come and serve the state of Hawaii, particularly Kauai?

Unfortunately, there is a huge shortage of doctors all over the country. There simply are not enough doctors to meet the demand. So I’m not sure what can be done to attract doctors to Hawaii. Part of the solution to this problem will probably require the health care industry to look at implementing out of the box ideas and utilizing the resources that they do have.

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