The final environmental impact statement is out for review, and this is your last chance to reel in Kapaa urban sprawl from encroaching on our precious agricultural lands!
The proposed subdivision, Kealia Mauka, would have 235 lots for sale on Kealia Road., above the Kealia store. The developer is requesting an up-zoning from agriculture to urban, which is necessary for this subdivision to be developed. The state Land Use Commission will hold a public hearing on Kauai, Thursday, July 25, providing Kauai residents with the opportunity to testify in person or by email.
Here is how you can be part of the decision-making process:
• Appear in person to submit testimony at the LUC hearing for Kealia Mauka Thursday at 9:30 a.m. at the Lihue Vicic Center Moikeha Building first-floor conference room. Bring 10 copies of written testimony;
• Email testimony before July 25 to state Land Use Commission, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What you should know
• Kealia Mauka subdivision will have serious traffic impacts
The developer stresses that this site was designated for residential community development going back to the 1984’s General Plan Update. “Any assertions that the 2018 GPU required earmarking this area as a change from previous drafts are unfounded, as the potential for development was confirmed as the county spatial policy for close to 35 years.” Wake up developer. It’s 2019, a different ball game altogether!
Kapaa traffic is totally over the top, and adding another 425 cars will likely create even more crippling gridlock than we have now. Kuhio Highway would have either a stoplight or roundabout at the corner of Kealia Road, across from the main entrance to Kealia Beach Park. There is only one entrance/exit to the proposed subdivision. With traffic traveling fast downhill on Kuhio Highway, this is an unlikely and potentially dangerous spot for either of these proposals. Please remember that there already is an approved roundabout slated for Kuhio Highway at Mailehuna Road, a short distance from the one proposed for Kealia Mauka.
The recent GPU has emphasized the need to restrict development to Kauai’s urban center (Lihue) as a measure to decrease traffic (and sprawl) in other areas. Kealia Mauka subdivision, if approved, would significantly increase the bumper-to-bumper traffic we are experiencing now, plus that traffic generated from two already approved resorts slated to be built in the Wailua corridor. The proposed highway widening promised by the state, from the bypass to the traffic light at Kuamoo Road, would not even solve the congestion we have now.
• Affordable? Far from it!
According to the FEIS, out of the total 235 lots for sale, only 36 would fall into the county “affordable” category. The other 199 lots would be sold at prevailing market prices. Furthermore, according to the developer, “a block of lots could be sold to a single purchaser who would construct the finished homes for sale.” That means a developer could scoop up a block of lots to build houses priced at market value, thus inviting mainlanders who could afford high prices.
• Stressing our overloaded and aging infrastructure
Kealia Mauka subdivision would have a wastewater pump station near Kuhio Highway. This has not yet been approved by the county Department of Public Works. In addition, the sewer main would need to cross Kapaa Stream (sewage pipe would be mounted to the side of Kealia Stream bridge) before connecting to an existing sewer manhole in front of the Kaiakea Fire Station, just north of Kapaa Town. Judging by the putrid odor and recent sewage spill at the Wailua River mouth, do we want to risk polluting Kealia Beach or add more sewage to the existing plant?
• In a nutshell
Kealia Mauka would greatly stress the quality of life for residents of Kapaa as well as those traveling south, through Kapaa on the bypass or Kuhio Highway. Please consider these consequences when you testify and make your voice heard on July 25. Testimony from residents will decide whether this subdivision will pass and we’ll lose yet more agricultural lands to urban sprawl. Please email this to your your contacts. See you there!
For the love of Kauai.
Gabriela Taylor is a resident of Kapaa.