Planning Commission considers time limit for land

PRINCEVILLE — Developers may be facing a ticking clock on the North Shore if a policy on resort-designated land is approved by the Planning Commission.

The 10-year deadline is under consideration in the commission’s construction of the Kauai General Plan 2020.

It was included in the current draft because of input from the community requesting the resort designation be lifted from the land completely, and the 250 acres in question be used for something like agriculture instead.

“Based on public testimony received, the updated draft of the general plan balanced a use-it-or-lose-it policy that requires the Princeville Phase II area to receive its resort use entitlements within the next ten years or forfeit its use designation,” said Deputy Planning Director Ka‘aina Hull.

The 250 acres in question are situated between Princeville and Kilauea, along Anini Stream.

The parcel is part of a two-phase project by development company The Resort Group to build a resort on a total of 8,000 acres between Hanalei and Kilauea.

Phase I included renovations at the St. Regis resort, Prince and Makai golf courses and facilities, Princeville Tennis Club, Princeville Health Club and Spa, Princeville Airport, Princeville Ranch and Princeville Shopping center.

Housing developments amounting to 1,200 units are planned for Phase II, as well as a private Anini Beach Club — complete with a boat ramp at Anini Beach.

Representatives from The Resort Group did not return requests for comment before print.

In November, a discussion draft of the general plan removed all non-entitled resort designations from the Future Land Use Map.

Though the 10-year time limit for beginning development is a compromise between the two actions, some members of the community think the general plan should allow no new resorts on the land.

Overcrowding is one of the reasons for the sentiment, according to Mehana Vaughn, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii’s College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources.

Vaughn grew up in the Halele’a district on Kauai’s North Shore and has done research for CTAHR on the land that’s set for the resort development.

“Today, Halele‘a’s roads, beaches and trails are overcrowded with visitors, and a number of other projects within the existing footprint of Princeville are already permitted,” Vaughn said. “Why expand high density resort to an entirely new open area located above Wanini Stream (Anini Stream) and beach?”

Instead of more visitor housing, Vaughn said she’d like to see the land used for agriculture.

“It would be wonderful to see ranching continue on this prime pasture land, access to local beef for local families and perpetuation of the paniolo lifestyle area ohana grew up with,” Vaughn said.

A general plan update is scheduled for the Planning Commission meeting on May 23 at 9 a.m. at the Lihue Civic Center, Moikeha Building, in meeting room 2A/2B, and there will be opportunity for the public to comment. The Planning Department recommends written testimony be submitted to the Planning Commission in advance of the meeting via email at plankauai@kauai.gov.

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