In voting for a candidate running for public office in Kauai you are not just voting for a person, you are voting for the future of Kauai, what are your thoughts and what are your expectations. Also, what are the expectations of those who funded your campaign and what do they want to achieve.
It appears that one issue may be that of approving a high rise here in Kauai. Such an action would be in clear violation of our current building height standards of 30 feet for residential and 50 feet for commercial.
These standards have been in place for a long number of years and were established to retain the character of Kauai. They were also put in place to assure that no high rises would be built on Kauai.
These building height standards have very strong support of the residents of Kauai. In fact, at least 80 percent of our residents would strongly oppose any change regarding these limitations.
It is the task of the appointed planning commissioners to review all building plans and, in doing so, they have the power of making exceptions. In the past, such exceptions would be very rare and might be one or two feet due to a building site problem.
However, these planning commissioners do have the power to make other exceptions.
We often hear “every vote counts,” but — like in “Animal Farm” — “All animals are equal but some are equaler than others.”
Well, that is also what we find in politics. I am sure that at least 80 percent of the residents in Kauai oppose having a high rise in Kauai and I would guess that only 3 percent of residents would support high rises as they would financially benefit a lot.
Why are the 80 percent of us opposed to a high rise? We are opposed as it would change the character of the island. Kauai is what many visitors and residents feel when they think of Hawaii. The pace is slower here, the residents are more “laid back” and more friendly. We even like the one-lane bridges. In addition, Kauai is the most beautiful of all the Hawaiian islands.
Developers often tell us that we are running out of buildable land. Well, we may be running out of buildable waterfront land but certainly there is a great deal of buildable land. Just look around you! There is so much open land available that we should have two priorities.
The first priority is to build homes where people work. The greatest center of employment is the open land right in back of greater Lihue, which includes the shopping areas, car dealers, medical offices, major grocery stores, and the industrial park.
The second priority should be that of building low-cost housing and doing that we should ask developers “Why is the per square foot building cost here in Kauai twice what the mainland per square foot building cost is?”
There are perhaps some Kauai residents that don’t know that Kauai was an independent island. We had our own king and our own royal court and we were never conquered by the king of Oahu (who had conquered Maui and the big island of Hawaii). Three times he tried to conquer Kauai and each time he failed. His spiritual adviser told him. “You will always fail in trying to conquer Kauai because “the gods are with them, not with you.”
Let’s hope that the gods are with us in blocking high rises.
Joe Frisinger is a resident of Princeville.