LIHUE — A bill that would restore zoning within specific areas of Kalaheo and Koloa has been deferred.
On Wednesday, the Planning Department requested a 30-day window in which community members can share their mana‘o with respect to the proposed legislation.
We want to keep pono with the community groups, said Planning Department Deputy Director Jodi Higuchi Sayegusa during this week’s county council meeting.
The 2015 South Shore Community Plan established special, form-based code, with design parameters and regulations that focused on maintaining the charm of the historic towns of Koloa and Kalaheo.
A new form of zoning was applied specifically for three “Special Planning Areas” within the South Shore Community Plan — the first of its kind in the state. The trouble is that the new zoning ended up downgrading the commercial rights of roughly 30 properties in Kalaheo and 20 in Koloa.
Bill No. 2757 restores the right of property owners to conduct certain commercial activities that they were previously entitled to for decades.
But the South Shore Community Plan aimed to eliminate the right to operate hotel or motel businesses within these areas and the bill would essentially allow property owners that ability. That is unless an amendment that was proposed to exclude resort activities is included within the bill. This is another topic that the Planning Department reportedly aims to connect with community members about.
One thing is certain, the quicker the bill is approved, the sooner residents like Kumu Hula Leina‘ala Pavao-Jardin can move forward with their projects.
She recently found out, much to her chagrin and quite unexpectedly, that in order to gain the proper permits to expand her hula school, she’d have to go through an arduous public hearing process.
Pavao-Jardin had no idea that her properties in Kalaheo were “downzoned” in 2015, even though she’s been paying commercial taxes the entire time, she said during public testimony at a recent Planning Committee meeting.
Before that, her properties’ commercial zoning would have allowed for such activities to take place with little fanfare.
The department is expected to reach out to the Koloa community, Sayegusa said.
It is unclear if they also intend to reach out to the Kalaheo community again before the 30-day deadline is up in October.
Council Vice Chair Ross Kagawa said that it would be best to get the zoning back to what it was before as soon as possible.
“We’re talking about an area right in town” where business activities are already taking place, he said.
The Planning Department was unable to confirm before deadline when and how community outreach would occur.
Coco Zickos, county reporter, can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.