LIHU‘E — Noting the impacts of the on-going coronavirus pandemic on farmers and ranchers, the Kaua‘i County Council is looking at a number of additional revenue options residents can utilize on agricultural land.
Last Wednesday, Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro introduced amendments to the current Kaua‘i County Code relating to the Agriculture Zoning District that would allow agriculture retail stands, botanical gardens, farmers markets, food processing and packaging of products, restaurants and food services, as well as “zoological gardens” for exhibiting animals. In some cases, farmers would be required to get permits.
“Families who have lost employment income because of the COVID-19 pandemic have struggled to provide the basic needs of shelter and food,” the proposed draft Bill No. 2804 states.
Councilmember Mason Chock said he was happy the council was taking an active step but received some feedback from residents regarding the particular use regarding dining food sales.
The amendments include a restaurant and food services piece, which would allow a retail business to sell ready-to-eat food or beverages for on or off-premise consumption, for walk-up ordering or table service. This would be different than a drive-through service, the bill states.
Farmers would still need to have approved permits, like in the case of establish dining facilities or farm-working housing.
Planning Director Ka‘aina Hull said this section distinguishes a farm dwelling house from a farm-working house for employees, by addressing the density of lots.
Hull also said his bill would not touch on camping, or glamping, which have a different permitting process.
The bill also clarifies setbacks when it comes to animals, putting in a line item specifically for a piggery, which would require a use-permit located 3,000 feet from any Use District.
The draft bill was written prior to the Public Utilities Commission approval of Young Brothers’ emergency request to increase rates by 46% over the next year, which took effect September 1.
“The Council also finds that Kaua‘i may experience further impacts as a result of steps taken by Young Brothers Hawai‘i to address financial challenges brought on by a 30% drop in cargo volumes due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” the proposed bill states.
Proposed Draft Bill No. 2804 was referred to the Planning Commission, which will meet next on Tuesday, Oct. 13.