LIHU‘E — Thursday, the state’s Land Use Commission granted a petition to intervene in the proceeding of rezoning lands for a 96-acre residential subdivision next to Kapa‘a Middle School that has been in the planning stages for nearly a decade.
Liko Martin submitted a petition to intervene last week, with concerns relating to the need for agricultural lands and the strain on existing wastewater, sewage and road infrastructure. Martin, who said he descended from the area, said there are no other parties currently involved in the process representing Hawaiian and resident interests.
HoKua Place, from developers HG Kaua‘i Joint Ventures, LLC, aims to develop 86 single-family lots with 683 multi-family units as well as a 1.4-acre neighborhood commercial center and a 3.1-acre community park.
Martin, in this petition, notes that just 30% of the units would be affordable. “The rest are at market price. The project is out of reach for local families, especially for Hawaiians.”
In December 2019, the commission approved the final environmental impact statement for a petition to rezone the area.
William Yuen, an attorney for HoKua Place developers, objected to Martin’s petition, specifically to claims of constitutional or Hawaiian sovereignty rights.
The commission has very limited jurisdiction on issues along these lines, and “are not equipped or capable or empowered to determine any claims to title, but we do review title reports,” according to LUC Chair Jonathan Likeke Scheuer.
The commission voted 6-1 in favor of the petition to intervene, with a dissenting vote from commissioner Nancy Cabral, who had concerns with the intervening petition being too open-ended for a concise discussion.
This development has been before the LUC since about 2014, but plans for HoKua Place date back to at least 2005, then called Kapa‘a Highlands. Two separate petitions to reclassify the state agriculture lands for urban use were denied.
Kaua‘i community member Bridget Hammerquist also provided testimony in support of Martin. One concern she had with the project relates to water supply. Hammerquist, who disclosed she’s involved in a lawsuit with the county over the issue of the delivery of water to the subject area, cited over 400 residential units that have been permitted for the same water source in the area.
This was also a concern of Martin’s, who said in his petition that the effect of already-planned and approved housing is “already putting a severe strain on existing, out-of-date infrastructure.”
In 2011, both the Wailua-Kapa‘a Neighborhood Association and Sierra Club Kaua‘i indicated interested in intervening.
Rayne Regush, chair of the neighborhood association and member of Sierra Club, explained Thursday the groups would not be going forward with petitions but would support Martin’s efforts.
“This developer has tinkered with this project for almost a decade,” Regush said. “(Martin’s) intervention will allow the full story to be given.”
This story was updated on Friday, Dec. 4 to correct the date of the Land Use Commission meeting. It was Thursday, Dec. 3, not Wednesday.
Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.