Permits granted for renewed ‘Oma‘o hub

LIHU‘E — New operations are on the horizon for ‘Oma‘o Ranch Lands, LLC. with the approval of new permits from the Planning Commission this past Tuesday.

Of the 104 some-odd acres owned by applicant Daryl Kaneshiro, about four would be used for tours, parking, pavilion and an agriculture retail shop, requiring a use-permit, Class IV Zoning and special permit for the property.

Tours, to be conducted on horses or utility terrain vehicles (UTVs), would encompass the various ventures already established on the land, including solar, aquaponics and hemp, as well as the gazing areas used for sheep, horses and cattle, with guides sharing the history of the property and Koloa.

Kaneshiro explained, during the meeting, that the property would become a cultural hub of sorts and build upon his family’s own personal legacy.

A 9,500 square foot pavilion would also be constructed to accommodate the tours, educational programs and act as a venue for private and community activities. The applicant plans to include farm-to-table catering events with farm-derived lamb, beef, pork and vegetables.

The one-story shop will sell food and products grown on the property, island and state. The constructed shop could potentially have a farmers market and food hub with a commercial kitchen for on-site or takeout dining.

Koloa Community Association president Jeri Di Pietro testified in favor of the development, for its food hub and activities, really only voicing concerns of increased traffic. She suggesting the group be required to establish turning lanes.

As proposed in the application, tours would run seven days a week with about 40 guests a day split into two three-hour tours. The retail sales operations would run Monday through Saturday, with an expected 100 guests per day. And events, at the pavilion, would hold up to 350 guests with availability throughout the week.

In 2014, the state amended its permitting requirements that outright permits retail activities, like roadside stands within agriculturally zoned lands. However, the county’s Agriculture and Open Zoning Districts does not outright permit these venues. Yet.

In September, Kaua‘i County Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro proposed a draft bill that would allow additional revenue options on agricultural land, including retail shops, farmers markets, botanical gardens and “zoological gardens,” like petting zoos.

The bill passed its first hearing within the council and was pushed to the Planning Commission. It is unclear when this bill will come up as the commission has only been meeting once a month rather than twice due to the pandemic.

The Planning Commission, some voicing their excitement, approved the permits for the operation with recommendations from the Planning Department.

The operation would employ 20 employees, not including part-time caterers, said Michael Belles, who represents the LLC.

  1. Makani B. Howard November 12, 2020 9:57 am Reply

    Of course they passed this. He is on the council. He gets what he wants. What a complete joke!

    Koloa road is a mess, and needs a ton of work! We had all of that time to work on it when we were in lock down and no tourists were around, and they did nothing! Now, the tourists are back and they begin working on it? The speed limit is 25 most of the way and people go at least 40. Something must be done. Why doesn’t Kaneshiro step in and do something about THAT instead of helping himself?

    1. numilalocal November 12, 2020 3:08 pm Reply

      Darryl’s not on the council. His sone Arryl is currently a councilor.

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