Decision on proposed Hanalei brewery deferred

LIHU‘E — The proposal for a new brewpub in Hanalei was before the Planning Commission Tuesday, but because of an influx of new public testimony, all action was deferred to next month.

Developers Hanalei Commercial Company Inc., and Na Pali Brewing Company LLC, are seeking special-management-area use permits and a Class IV Zoning permit for construction of a new, two-story commercial brewery, sidewalk and pedestrian bridge and increased parking at 5-5105 Kuhio Highway, a total of about four acres of land.

The project also requires the amendments to current SMA use permits and variances to accommodate parking for the proposed development, allow increased land coverage and reduce the number of permitted employee housing units.

The two-story building would have a craft brewery on the bottom floor brewing beer for tap and keg distribution for restaurants and other eateries. The tasting room upstairs will serve the beer. The owners, Katie and Blake Conant, said they have no intention of serving food, so, they want to allow space for up to three food trucks to park on the land and allow customers to bring their food inside.

Important to the business, Blake Conant said, is the green aspect. Brewing will take place in stainless-steel vats, and all waste will be hauled off to two livestock farms outside of Hanalei.

“Knowing the water table as it is, we’ve made a commitment to the county and neighbors that nothing hits the ground,” Conant said. “We want to tell the story ‘we put back.’”

Secondly, the sewer system will be an aerobic treatment system, which is cleaner, Conant said.

The proposed revamp of the parking will take an existing 16 spaces, redo those and add 35 more spots.

One of the main arguments against the brewery and commercial area would be the potential increase of density on the open-zoned land.

In 2006, a master permit upped the land coverage variance from 10% to 25%, then to 33.3%. One of the permits asks to bring it up to 45%.

Carl Imperato, on behalf of the board of directors of the Hanalei-Ha‘ena Community Association, urged the commission to deny the permits, saying it would set a precedent for commercial uses in an open zone district.

“There’s no going back,” Imperato said.

In written testimony, Rayne Regush, chair of the Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association, agreed.

“Spot zoning is unwise and to the detriment of our communities,” Regush wrote. “Furthermore, the project does not conform with the General Plan, nor the North Shore Development Plan.”

Patricia Sheehan wrote that there are application flaws, like the incorrect distance on the project’s report, and more attention needs to be given to the highway entrance and exits, with an eye for traffic congestion.

“Allowing two-story buildings the mauka side of the road into Hanalei town can not become a trend of variances that eliminate scenic view plains, as that scenic view is an important factor to maintain,” Sheehan wrote. “In this present form, the application should be denied.”

One piece of support came from Jason Hines, who said the project is needed on Kaua‘i, as it comes from locals “who want to invest in their community.”

“The business will involve creation of a local product as well as a service industry which will add needed jobs and economic prosperity to our island,” Hines wrote.

The hearing was continued, and potential action on the permits was deferred to the next Planning Commission meeting on Oct. 13.

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Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

3 Comments
  1. Jay September 9, 2020 4:28 am Reply

    Guys, Kauai doesn’t want u you but business, it’s about time people see that.. make the same investments in a business friendly low tax state on the mainland, and you’ll be Up and running in no time, and make far more net profits than here.

    Oh and btw, you are only in this process before the planning commission because you haven’t paid anybody off.. do what the resort owners do, pay off planning commission members and county officials and all problems vanish..


  2. jkh September 9, 2020 7:32 am Reply

    I am all for a brewery, but why not an existing building? There are plenty of empty buildings all over Kauai. Kauai is looking like a ghost town.

    Kilauea’s new construction has many vacant buildings that are waiting to be fit for a brewery or the like.

    In any event. I wish them the best and cannot wait to get my first pint.


  3. Kimokane September 10, 2020 5:35 am Reply

    No thanks… put it up in Princeville.


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