The Kealia Mauka subdivision would include 230 empty lots for sale, from 5,600 to 7,300 feet square, on 53 acres on Kealia Road past the Post Office. If approved, agriculture land would be up- zoned to urban. The lots would be purchased by individuals or in multiples by contractors.
Several of us who attended a public meeting May 29, led by representatives for Kealia Properties LLC, heard a presentation of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and asked questions. We have an opportunity for public comments to be emailed by June 22.
There are many serious concerns about the appropriateness of proposed Kealia Mauka development, which is now before the state Land Use Commission for consideration. See website at https:I/LUC.hawaii.gov/19450 for further information.
This subdivision is in the wrong place with serious potential impacts. Please consider the following negative impacts that will further affect our quality of life on Kauai if the Kealia Mauka subdivision is approved.
1. Lack of transparency/cultural impact
The developer never interviewed the existing small community of Kealia residents, some of whom have family heritage with many generations who were employees of Kealia/Makee Sugar Plantation. Cultural or archaeological impacts were not covered at the public meeting or addressed in the DEIS document.
2. Kealia Road inadequate/dangerous; traffic light proposed
There is only one entrance/exit onto Kuhio Highway from the subdivision on Kealia Road. Adding 450 cars from Kealia Mauka onto Kuhio Highway is hazardous.
The developer has proposed a traffic light at the bottom of the hill on Kuhio Highway across from the main entrance to Kealia Beach Park. I frequent the beach and see trucks/cars speeding 60 or more mph in a 40 mph stretch without any police presence. When residents asked about kids crossing the highway safely to the beach, the response was that a traffic light will solve the problem. Or, will it create an even more dangerous situation?
3. Urban sprawl/traffic impact
The General Plan Update has emphasized the need to restrict development to Kauai’s Urban Center as a measure to decrease traffic. Kealia Mauka subdivision, if approved, would significantly increase the current bumper-to- bumper traffic burden we are experiencing in Kapaa now, as well as that to be added by the three already approved resorts to be built in Wailua.
4. Affordability for contractors/flipping properties
The presenter at our public meeting was very vague about affordability of the subdivision. The EIS states that work force housing will be built. According to the DEIS, contractors can buy up multiple lots. What’s to stop them from building homes that aren’t affordable, since work force housing can be be sold to the public who earn 120 percent of the median income per year on Kauai; that’s $90,000? When asked, he agreed to look into the possibility of selling to Kauai residents only. What’s to stop a contractor from flipping properties, selling at a higher price to non-residents after a year or so?
The presentation and DEIS left me with too many questions and few answers.
Please email your comments by June 22 to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriela Taylor is a resident of Keapana Valley.