Residents oppose possible westside resort bill

LIHU‘E — During the process of creating the 2018 Kaua‘i General Plan, the community spoke out in opposition to more resorts. However, 60 acres on the Westside was labeled “provisional,” to be determined through the West Kaua‘i Community Plan.

The Kaua‘i County Council’s Planning Committee deferred amendments specific to the West Kaua‘i Community Plan last Wednesday, with more coming down with the support of the Planning Department, which crafted the plan.

Bill No. 2798 amends the plan to allow for the area to be re-designated as “Provisional Resort,” allowing for development west of Waimea Plantation Cottages. It would remain agriculture land, and the provisional resort could be converted into a resort designation but would need to remain in character of Waimea Plantation Cottages.

Malia Kahale‘inia Chun wrote to the county last week “in strong opposition” to the resort designation in Kikiaola.

“I am concerned about the future of development and the long-term environment and economic impacts resorts, condominium and vacation rentals will have on our small, local community,” Chun wrote.

“Currently, the Waimea Plantation Cottages already struggles to maintain full occupancy, while employing only a small staff of approximately 30. Not to mention, the ocean fronting Kikiaola is hardly a hospitable or safe place for visitors to lounge or swim, let along build a resort upon.”

Chun wrote that “there are much more pressing issues that plague West Kaua‘i,” like affordable housing, food sustainability and infrastructure.

Tianji Kajiwara, a Waimea resident, submitted written testimony last week, agreeing with Chun.

“I also do not think rezoning to a resort is a wise choice for the West Side community. We for one do not have infrastructure for it, (and) it would also take away from the ‘cultural heritage’ we are trying to perpetuate,” Kajiwara wrote.

Kajiwara said traffic congestion is already an issue in the area, and “We do not have the infrastructure to support all of these proposed ideas.”

The West Kaua‘i Community Plan encompasses 225 square miles spanning Kekaha, Port Allen, ‘Ele‘ele, Waimea and Hanapepe, as well as the plantation camps of Numila, Kaumakani, Pakala Village and Ka‘awanui Village.

The 20-year plan addresses land use, development policy, transportation, resiliency, shared spaces, economic development, heritage resources, and housing and infrastructure, by identifying actions, programs, partnerships, goals and objectives throughout the Westside.

The plan offers policies focusing development in existing towns to protect the area’s rural qualities and agricultural resources while enhancing town design and transportation needs.

The process started about two years ago, with opportunities for community input about issues and topics the community felt were necessary for their areas, through focus groups, open houses and workshops.

Bills numbered 2796 through 2802 amend zoning requirements, establish new coast edge and other WCKP-specific goals, and were all deferred to allow more time to consider the amendments as a whole in conjunction with the plan, which can be viewed at westkauaiplan.org.

In other business

The council unanimously approved a request from the Office of Economic Development to apply for $600,000 from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program for planning and assessment of the old Kekaha Sugar mill site.

The EPA’s Brownfields and Land Revitalization program helps communities address contaminated properties. The site in Kekaha is considered a “superfund site” under the Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act.

“The Kekaha mill is currently undeveloped and underutilized due to its current disrepair and environmental hazards,” a memo from OED Director Nalani Brun said.

Brun said it is going after the 2021 funding, but if that doesn’t come through, there is already money in the budget to begin community outreach to determine where to put the funding. If the county is awarded these funds, it will go toward an EPA study and possibly detoxing the land.

12 Comments
  1. Longevity September 27, 2020 5:30 am Reply

    Life Longevity is extraordinary on the westside, esp., among the Japanese and Filipino cultures. Both plus and minus 100 years of life seems to be the norm. The Obituaries demonstrate this.

    Best thing is don’t change things, obviously the westside people got it all figured out and a resort could disrupt that, so don’t take a chance.

    The only thing to do to improve on westside Longevity is stop the Ag poisons on the westside or anywhere on island.

    Making seeds of destruction is deceptive and un-cool.


  2. Hirondelle September 27, 2020 7:34 am Reply

    The coy designation “Provisional Resort” could also be termed “The Camel’s Nose Under the Tent”. Well-founded concerns about infrastructure are prominent in the body of this article. County Zoning Boards and other decision makers should require any future resort or individual housing development to include its own sewage treatment plant or state of the art septic systems. If the county can’t clean up the feces at Polihale or prevent spillovers from existing housing, how can the westside deal with greater population density? Developers may bring the green (money) to a few, but more toilets still bring the brown to everyone else.


  3. rk669 September 27, 2020 8:07 am Reply

    Didn’t anyone see this coming?
    Soon to be More Resorts and high rises, This all began with the sale of BigSave to a mainland Corporation! Wake up folks of Kauai! You are being Played by one of your very own!
    Anyway we at least have Breadlines,but no Jobs?


  4. Paulo September 27, 2020 8:21 am Reply

    No more resort approvals please. We have enough resorts on Kauai during non-COVID times and we do not need more. The east side has several previously approved, but not yet built. Will we have anywhere left on this island that is not over touristed and monetized for some mainland corporation at our expense?


  5. douglas henry September 27, 2020 8:57 am Reply

    No more resorts! And limit the number of tourists.


    1. who cares about jobs September 28, 2020 4:01 am Reply

      Yeah! no more job-creating resorts! and limit those economy-sustaining tourists! we can get by with coconuts.
      also, we were here first, tell everyone else to go away.


      1. we care about residents September 29, 2020 7:42 am Reply

        Jobs don’t have to be in the tourism industry. Why not be slightly more creative and considerate about a diversified economy that is more resilient to global swings? You know, the conservative approach.


  6. Kauaidoug September 27, 2020 9:06 am Reply

    Another Resort? Have we learned anything in the last seven months? Would small farms deducted to feeding Kaua’i and Hawaii be feasible? Farms that demonstrate sustainability for us and other islands around the world would might bring tourists of a different kind.


  7. Makani B. Howard September 27, 2020 9:58 am Reply

    Listen to Kajiwara! He is 100% correct.


  8. Craig Millett September 27, 2020 10:51 am Reply

    There is only one place to put this money and that is into planning and executing how to get out of the way of the sea level rise which all too soon will inundate all of Kauai’s low lying coast. We will need to move many roads inland and build some new bridges. Let the beach resorts fend for themselves. Instead create a future that works for the people who live here now.


    1. we were here first! September 28, 2020 4:03 am Reply

      only those of us who are here now should get to stay. and only us, the almighty residents, should decide what businesses we want to operate. never mind that we’ll all be poor, that doesn’t matter.


      1. we are still here September 29, 2020 7:43 am Reply

        did you just say that you prefer people who don’t live on the island to make decisions about the island’s future?


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