Next step for Kilauea

KILAUEA — Kauai Community Federal Credit Union wants to build a new branch in Kilauea, right across the street from the post office, but there’s a catch and the Kilauea Neighborhood Center is calling for the community to weigh in.

In order to sell the half-acre piece of land to KCFCU, the landowner, Bill Haye, has to subdivide the entire 120-acre property on the western half of the Kilauea Plateau.

It would result in eight parcels.

Half an acre piece would be for the Credit Union, a piece would be dedicated for the potential Kilauea bypass feeder road, a piece would be set aside for a multi-use path, and five of the large pieces would be set aside for current or planned farming.

Two pieces on either side of the potential bypass road and closest to Kilauea town could potentially be sites for housing construction.

However, this is Kilauea’s last frontier, and Kilauea Neighborhood Association president Yoshi L’Hote said it’s critical to have a plan that includes perspective from the whole community when considering development.

“This is the only place Kilauea might grow,” L’Hote said. “We have a river on one side and a valley on the other side, and everything has been subdivided. It’s the only place left for our future development.”

Wednesday night, KNA is posing the question to their community: What’s the next step for Kilauea?

“There’s no denying that there’s a desire for a bank to come to Kilauea. However, their ability to develop hinges on the subdivision going through,” L’Hote said. “Wednesday we’re going to identify the community’s opinion come up with the pros and cons.”

L’Hote said the goal is to change the tendency of following development with inadequate infrastructure and to take a proactive approach by voicing the needs of the community early on in the process.

“We’re talking basics like sewer and water access, those fundamental things that communities need,” L’Hote said. “We’re trying to voice those needs today, so that 50 years from now we’re not saying ‘this is a big problem.’”

The need for affordable housing is also high on the priority list, though, and this subdivision could potentially provide an answer for Kilauea.

“Kilauea is the last stronghold on the North Shore that hasn’t gone to TVR (transient vacation rentals) and tourists, where the community can still afford to live,” L’Hote said. “Houses in Hanalei are being flipped for millions and millions of dollars and the locals are being displaced. It’s a big concern for a community that’s been resilient in trying to survive and exist here on the north shore.”

L’Hote said the issue is important and it’s full of “many moving pieces,” so a community meeting is the best way to get community members’ perspectives on the idea.

“We’ll be focusing toward being constructive and being able to develop vision,” L’Hote said. “It’s really important that people come with that attitude, with flexibility and an open mind.”

The meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Kilauea Neighborhood Center.

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