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Project expected to help meet housing need

  • map courtesy of Kealia Properties

    This map shows the project site for the planned Kealia Mauka Homesites.

KEALIA — The 235 lots planned for Kealia Mauka Homesites are aimed at local families, according to project representatives working on a draft environmental impact statement.

“It’s the landowner’s goal to provide a product geared toward alleviating the housing demand for local residents,” said Scott Ezer, planner with HHF Planners. “That’s the reason the lot sizes are smaller.”

The lots, according to the project summary submitted to the Land Use Commission, will be between 5,600 and 7,300 square feet and lot buyers will implement construction.

“The project will address the current and projected shortfall of single-family housing on Kauai,” the project summary states. “Lots are below 10,000 SF to keep prices manageable for local residents and prices will meet workforce housing requirements.”

Kealia Properties, LLC. is the landowner proposing this residential subdivision, which is on 53.4 acres within the State Agricultural District. A petition for State Land Use District Boundary amendment has been filed with the Land Use Commission to reclassify the site to the Urban District.

The site was purchased by Kealia Properties LLC. in 2010 from previous owners Plantation Partners, which proposed a 199-farm lot agricultural subdivision on 2,000 acres that was already county-approved. The agricultural subdivision targeted the luxury market similar to Kealia Makai, according to Kealia Properties’ representatives.

After Kealia Properties LLC. bought the land, the owner agreed to rest the land for three years while focusing on existing agricultural opportunities on the property, and reconsider the proposed agriculture subdivision.

The Ag Subdivision plan was revoked in late 2013 and in 2015, Kealia Properties noticed there were stub-out streets that indicated planning for another phase to the subdivision.

“After further research, we learned that the expanded residential area was already included in the Kauai General Pan and that 50 acres could be acted upon for entitlement of additional homesites,” representatives of Kealia Properties said.

So 53.4 acres were set aside for the Kealia Mauka Homesites, and planning started with a focus on how to put local families on the land, as the Planning Department estimates an additional 3,000 units will be needed to house Kauai’s families before the year 2020.

“There are very few opportunities for development on the east side that already have the General Plan consistency that Kealia site does,” Kealia Properties LLC. said in a statement. “That has been the rationale behind our current plan.”

Concerns include maintaining a buffer between existing homesites and the new development along Ka’ao Road, which has been accomplished by planning to add a park and or detention basin.

Streetscape softening, walkways, landscape and hardscape features, as well as a municipal sewer system for the community are planned.

In addition to an EIS for the project, Kealia Properties will need to obtain a State Land Use District Boundary Amendment from the state Land Use Commission and a zone change from Agricultural to Residential from the County Council.

Lastly, the project has to go through subdivision approval through Planning Department and the Planning Commission.

The public will have a chance to review the project and add comments, according to Ezer.

“We’re wrapping up working on the draft EIS and it’ll be out for public review soon,” Ezer said. “Maybe it’ll be in a month. Not tomorrow. Not in six months, but soon.”

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Jessica Else is a staff writer at The Garden Island Newsapaper and can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com

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