KEALIA — Progress is ongoing for the Kealia Mauka Homesites, as a Final Environmental Impact Statement has been submitted to the state Land Use Commission.
The project set to serve about 200 residents is structured to sell empty lots, and has a real estate agent ready to make the sales — Mark Tanaka with Kauai Realty, according to representatives of the project’s developer Kealia Properties, LLC.
Now that the FEIS has been submitted, Kealia Properties is getting ready for a September Land Use Commission hearing to move through a boundary amendment process and switch 53 acres from agricultural district to the urban district.
Situated on former sugarcane land currently being used for cattle grazing, the project’s intent is to address the housing crisis.
“We understand that there is a very high number of kama‘aina families that will be able to enjoy homeownership in the price points that are being targeted, and that with sales restrictions the project can target that local market nicely,” according to a statement from Kealia Properties.
Kealia Properties is working to assure that first sales go to Kauai residents, with a preference for the workforce in Kapaa.
“We hope (that) will alleviate traffic through the Wailua-Kapaa corridor,” the statement said.
A decision has not been made on whether finished plans, permitted plans or completed homes will be offered.
It also includes infrastructure improvements — both on- and off-site, including utility improvements to support the subdivision along Kealia Road and within the Kuhio Highway right of way.
Studies related to the FEIS showed no presence of species listed as endangered or threatened under state or federal law. Predominately, bird species found in the area are red jungle fowl (chickens), cattle egret and the Western meadowlark.
Other animals found in the area include cattle and wild pigs and dogs.
“No endangered Hawaiian hoary bats were observed overflying the site. However, Hawaiian hoary bats are widely distributed in the low- to mid‐elevation areas on the island of Kauai, and have been documented in and around areas that still have dense vegetation,” the FEIS states.
Surveyors also acknowledged the flights of Hawaiian petrels and Newell’s shearwaters over the site annually, and light during construction will be shielded to help protect the birds.
Construction activity could impact water quality for nearby streams, however, and the FEIS states contractors will implement best-management practices to minimize soil erosion and sedimentation.
Community concerns in the draft EIS were that the project hasn’t been included in the Kauai General Plan.
Mike Dahilig, now county managing director and formerly county Planning Department director, addressed those concerns in a letter included in the FEIS explaining the project has been included in the General Plan since the 1980s.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or firstname.lastname@example.org.