Kealia subdivision EIS approved

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    An opponent to the proposed Kealia subdivision holds up his mug, sporting the phrase “Save Kealia…No Mauka Development”.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    About 50 people sat through the first part of the August 8 Land Use Commission meeting and the crowd thinned after lunch.

  • Jessica Else/The Garden Island

    Scott Ezer, with HHF planners, gives an introduction to the final Environmental Impact Statement before the Land Use Commission in their Thursday meeting on Kauai.

KEALIA — A proposed subdivision is one step closer to fruition in Kealia, after the Land Use Commission accepted the project’s Final Environmental Impact Statement Thursday.

It was a process that entailed hours of cataloguing community comments and expert testimony from those involved in the EIS studies.

The commission’s back was against an Aug. 12 deadline— if they didn’t make a decision at this meeting, the EIS would have been approved automatically. The decision was unanimous to approve the EIS.

“I’m in favor of this,” Commissioner Arnold Wong said. “Public testimony has been dealing with the project, not the EIS itself. The petitioner has fulfilled its requirement.”

Approval of the EIS means the Kealia Mauka Homesites subdivision project is moving to the next step — the Land Use Commission hearing for their boundary amendment request.

Should Kealia Properties LLC be successful in their bid to change their 53 acres from the State Land Use Agricultural District to the State Urban District, then they can start meetings with the county on zoning laws.

Currently proposed action is to create lots that are 5,600 square feet to 7,300 square feet with associated utility infrastructure and roadways. Anticipated move-in date is around 2027 for the subdivision, which calls for 235 single-family house lots.

It’s a start on a long process that includes more community meetings — dates aren’t finalized — according to representatives of Kealia Properties.

“We are thrilled with the unanimous vote of the commission and we look forward to being part of the housing solution for our Kauai families,” said Moana Kinimaka, a Kealia Properties representative.

Not everyone in the audience of about 50 community members was in support of the project; several said after the meeting that community outreach wasn’t up to par during the process.

“Four days wasn’t enough notice for the community meeting,” said one resident, who refused to give his name. “They didn’t give us enough time.”

Another resident, who also asked to remain anonymous, graded the EIS at a C- or a D+ and said more research should have been done about how the project will impact hunting in the area.

Rayne Regush of the Wailua-Kapaa Neighborhood Association pointed out as inconsistencies in the FEIS ranging from the size of the petition area, a lack of transparency, and incongruences with the general plan.

“This proposal falls short of its intent to help satisfy the county’s need for affordable housing,” Regush said in statement about the project. “Although claiming to be aimed at local families, these lots will be sold at market value.”

Impacts on traffic are also a concern for many. The FEIS suggests mitigation by a roundabout option or through the installation of a traffic signal at the Kealia Road and Kuhio Highway intersection.

County Planning Director Ka’aina Hull said “the project is consistent with the General Plan.”

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Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at jelse@thegardenisland.com

6 Comments
  1. Sheeples August 9, 2019 5:49 am Reply

    It’s all about the monies!!! You can eat fruit from the tree but you cannot sell it at “market value to a bunch of wealthy foreign investors.” Abrupt climate change will of taken care of us little cockroach humans by 2027, but geesh, have at least a little dignity on the way out. Try pulling into traffic right there now, then think about 235 more newly minted LA drivers added to the mix. These public officials are either completely dense, or on the take. It’s for sure both……..


  2. MICHAEL WEHRLY August 9, 2019 6:01 am Reply

    kealia


  3. kauaiboy August 9, 2019 7:16 am Reply

    Kealia Properties LLC is making a bid to change their 53 acres from the State Land Use Agricultural District to the State Urban District. I do not object to the concept, but any owner of ag land who wishes to change their zoning designation should expect to have their feet held to the fire regarding affordability for local residents.

    Kealia Mauka must not become just an “investment community” geared to sell lots to mainland buyers.

    Moana Kinimaka, a Kealia Properties representative, should be speaking about exactly how Kealia Mauka is truly geared to being part of the housing solution for our Kauai families.

    Are small single family houselots the smartest solution? Or should there be an affordable apartment building complex as part of the mix?


  4. randy kansas August 9, 2019 7:33 am Reply

    simply read the article, to help understand part of the reason there is a housing shortage;

    7 years before first move in;


  5. paulot August 9, 2019 10:58 am Reply

    235 lots on both sides of the highway and right up against it no less. Not only is this about the worst setting for residences next to a busy road but if this subdivision gets the green light there will be no room for widening the highway. Yet we continue to allow more subdivisions and the increased traffic that will result.

    The fact that we have allowed decades of continued development with next to no expansion of our gridlocked highway and bridges shows a serious lack of planning over the years, continuing right up to the current day, showing we have learned nothing and our non-planning becomes even more pathetic.


  6. Debra Kekaualua August 9, 2019 12:42 pm Reply

    Kealia kai is not going to be moving any further forward than the TMT! COK, your Game is OVER as is the entire regime that has made a huge mess, in this 3rd world Hawaiian Kingdom Nation, that america has corrupted similarly as in, mainland tribals. Who ARE these terrorists that continue to destroy people, lives, culture for Their insatiable evil agenda? Time to Hele back to whereever you hail from. 90-days, america corporates gone! corruption and fraud gone! Alcatraz REstored.


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