With input now, we can still shape the future of Kauai

Shaping Kauai’s Future from The General Plan Update Discussion Draft has been released by the county Planning Department. We have a golden opportunity to express our vision for our beautiful island home’s future over the next 20 years. Will other beaches besides Ke‘e be so besieged by tourists that we have to take a shuttle to go there? Will new tourist resorts compromise our infrastructure and rural lifestyle?

Will there be enough affordable housing for local families? Will our open spaces and natural environment be up-zoned for commercial use, resorts, or expensive housing developments? Will there be enough land to grow healthy food on this tiny island where commercial exports and GMO agriculture now thrive? Can we save what’s left of our fragile coral reefs and rural lifestyle?

The Planning Department wants your feedback in order to finalize the Draft GPU before it goes to the Planning Commission and County Council for final approval.

Here’s an example of how planners have listened to the public regarding the proposed (from 2000 GPU) up-zoning, from Agriculture to Urban, of 93 acres behind the Kapaa Middle School. Hokua Place would be an 800-house subdivision (only 25 percent affordable), plus a commercial development in an area that suffers from debilitating traffic now.

Residents testified in earlier GPU meetings against the up-zoning and the Planning Department took action to keep the agriculture zoning intact. However, that decision is being challenged by Hokua Place developers now. We must be vigilant in our current testimony in order to support that progressive action of the Planning Department.

The window in which to give official testimony to the Planning Department will end Dec. 16, according to the timeline. With input now, we can still shape the future of Kauai. One way to learn more about the Draft GPU is to attend the final two county open houses: Waimea Theatre, Dec. 5, 6 to 8 p.m., and the Princeville Library, Dec. 6, 10 a.m. to noon, where education and discussion can take place in an informal setting.

You can give your manao to the county planners at the open houses for solutions for infrastructure, traffic, over-development of hotels/condos, non-sustainable growth, conservation of our natural environment and other concerns, as well.

However, if you can’t attend, please write a letter or email the Planning Department where it will become part of the official record. Email your testimony to plankauai@kauai.gov or by mail at Kauai County Planning Department, Attn: Long Range Division; 4444 Rice St., Suite A473, Lihue, HI 96766. Spread the word on email, trees, social media, and, of course, the Coconut Wireless.

The Discussion Draft GPU can be downloaded at www.PlanKauai.com or read at our public libraries.

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Gabriela Taylor is a resident of Keapana Valley.

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