Comissioners should be watchdogs for Kauai

An open letter to the Planning Commission:

Dear Planning Commission,

I was appalled to hear that AG zoning was changed to “urban light” for the proposed Hokua Place development. Since your earlier objections (and many of ours) I am wondering what made your department cave?

The purpose of Ag land zoning, as you know, is to maintain areas on Kauai where food is to be grown. And to preserve the rural lifestyle of this beautiful island.

We are already so bogged down with traffic in the Kapaa area. Often times the bypass is backed up so far that it is just another traffic jam and no real alternative to the highway route.

I live in the Wailua Houselots.

With the proposed traffic outlet from the rebuilt Coco Palms hotel coming out onto Haleilio, the road I and everyone else in the Houselots must take to get to the highway, what will that mean for us?

You already have agreed to two new resorts and the rebuild of the Coco Palms in Kapaa.

The requirement for 30 percent affordable housing seems to have also gone down the tubes. The new development in Hanamaulu has no affordable housing at all. What happened to that requirement?

Affordable by whose standards? Silicon Valley or Marin County in California?

Is it true that 45 percent of Kauai homes are purchased by mainlanders or foreigners? Is this really what is best for Kauai?

Your decisions are not in keeping with what the residents of this island — whom you are here to serve — need and want. They do seem to be in keeping with what developers, who don’t have a shred of interest in anything other than what benefits their profit coffers, want. Why is this?

Don’t we pay your salary through our hard earned taxes?

These decisions which you are now making are irreversible. You live here too. So you must care about the same things the rest of us who live here care about.

Our main industry here on Kauai is the visitor industry. People who come to Kauai come here rather than to Oahu or Maui because of the natural beauty and laid back life style. They do not come to sit in traffic.

The higher the housing prices, the more the people who live here cannot afford to live here and have to leave. This creates increasing resentment and hostility. Do you really think visitors will come for the stink eye resentment they are already getting which is only going to get worse?

We the people of Kauai need you to be our watchdogs, watching out for controlled development. Remembering what makes Kauai so special and doing what needs to be done to keep it that way.

I urge you to keep all of this in mind and return the area of Hokua Place to ag land. Those developers can go somewhere else and ruin their paradise. Why let them ruin ours?

Please remember, these decisions are irreversible once the buildings are built.

Now is the important time to get priorities right. You have the power. I implore you to use it conscientiously and responsibly — for the benefit of this beautiful island and the people who live here. And not for the developer’s profits or rich land owners interests who hardly ever step foot on Kauai.

Can we count on you?

I sincerely hope so.

•••

Joan Levy is a 25-year resident of Kapaa.

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