LIHUE — Kauai County Councilmembers may not want to see the Lihue post office change sites, but some say it’s out of their control.
“It’s not that I don’t want the post office to move. It’s not just our decision to make,” said Councilman Arthur Brun. “It’s none of our business.”
Because the United States Postal Service is a federal agency, the county level is not the right venue to address it, said Councilman Ross Kagawa.
“We need to deal with issues in the proper manner. The best way for the community to communicate our concerns about a federal issue is the congressional delegation,” he said. “This body isn’t elected to make a decision regarding the post office.”
On Wednesday, the council voted 4-2 to reject a resolution that urges USPS to keep the Rice Street post office open where it’s been since 1939.
Brun, Kagawa, Arryl Kaneshiro and Mel Rapozo, council chair, voted against the resolution. Councilmembers JoAnn Yukimura and Mason Chock supported it. Councilman Derek Kawakami was not at the meeting.
“I agree we don’t have the oversight to make anything materialize,” Chock said. “But I do feel that while we don’t have the power to make this kind of decision, that we do also stand for those in the community who have a voice and want to be heard.”
Yukimura introduced Resolution No. 2017-22 after the USPS announced plans to close the Rice Street site and consolidate operations at its annex facility at 3230 Kapule Highway near the airport.
“We need to think about the county seat and we want to see it thriving and provide a place for people to come together to work, to play, to celebrate, to do business,” she said.
Dean Cameron, Pacific area retail specialist for USPS, has said parking and access to the post office are concerns.
On Wednesday, Ka’aina Hull, deputy director of the Planning Department, said the department met with officials from USPS to address those issues.
“We submitted possible solutions for them to review,” he said.
Solutions include adding more on-street parking and designating post office parking across the street in the county parking lot.
If and when a resolution is introduced to mitigate parking concerns, that’s when the council has the power to make a decision regarding the post office, Kaneshiro said.
“If parking is the issue, they’ll work on a parking resolution, and when that resolution comes to us, that’s when we have skin in the game. That’s when we decide if we want to accommodate the post office for parking or not,” he said.
During public comment, Glenn Mickens and Joe Rosa were against the measure.
“It’s a government-run facility,” Mickens said. “They can do whatever they want.”
The last chance for the public to submit testimony on the proposed change is today. Comments can be sent to: Dean Cameron, United States Postal Service, 1300 Evans Ave. Suite 200, San Francisco, Ca., 94188