Administration says it needs time to hire appraiser

LIHUE — County administration has made it clear it doesn’t support establishing a pedestrian easement to get to a Koloa beach, and that’s what concerns Councilman Mel Rapozo.

“This is an interesting dilemma where the administration doesn’t support it. What happens if the council approves it? Then what?” he said. “I don’t want to see the council hire attorneys to do the condemnation process if the administration doesn’t support it.”

On Wednesday, the Kauai County Council deferred making a decision to establish a six-foot drainage easement between two beachfront homes across the street from the National Tropical Botanical Garden.

The deferral comes at the request of the Planning Department, which is in the middle of finding a land appraiser and hiring legal help to aid in the condemnation process, said Ka’aina Hull, deputy planning director.

“It’s just taking us more time than necessary to acquire those services,” he said.

He expects the county to secure the services in 90 days.

Resolution No. 2016-60 is seeking council approval to start the condemnation process to acquire the land needed to create the easement, which officials say is necessary because it can longer be accessed without going on private property.

The final cost of acquiring the land via condemnation, including attorney fees, would be about $1 million.

Because of the cost, the administration does not support the resolution, Hull said.

Rapozo said the issue harkens back to late 2016, when the council approved a bill to allow alcohol sales at Wailua Golf Course. Mayor Bernard Carvalho, Jr., later vetoed the bill.

“We went through all of that hurt with the concessionaire only for the mayor to say they’re not going to support it,” he said.

But because the administration’s concern is the cost, the council can address that during its budget discussions, said Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura.

“All of these narrow access ways are so important for our people to be able to get to the beaches. They’re places where children can play and members of the community can fish and surf,” she said. “This is part of our life and lifestyle. They may seem like small pieces of land, but they’re key to connecting us to the shoreline.”

The county will take up the issue again on May 17.

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