HoKua Place stalled again

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 sbodon@thegardenisland.com.

  1. Kauaidoug December 4, 2020 8:38 am Reply

    There should be NO new developments until the damn roads on this island are brought to the 31 st century. Period. What are these people thinking? $$$

    1. Kauaidoug December 4, 2020 8:39 am Reply

      21st century

  2. Rev Dr Malama December 4, 2020 9:30 am Reply

    On an International level we have multiple treaties with Countries Worldwide still in effect that recognize and support the Independence of our Hawai’ian Kingdom in PERPETUITY!!!!

  3. Paulo December 4, 2020 10:47 am Reply

    Many thanks to Liko Martin. What if he hadn’t filed this petition? Would this be one more huge project crammed into crowded Kapaa without planning to bring our infrastructure up to date first?

    The 769 residential monstrosity was taking land out of Ag and placing it into Urban, while offering nothing in mitigation for our schools, our crowded roads but a bus stop, a turn lane and a short bike path. Nothing for the structurally deficient Wailua Bridge, or our aging overburdened Lydgate Sewage facility that overflowed onto the road, the park, the river and the pond, 3 times within the last year and closed the pond for multiple months.

    How many of us will do almost anything to avoid driving through Kapaa during non-COVID times? The project claimed after all 769 units were built only 487 vehicles will be added to our AM peak traffic and 560 for peak PM traffic. Those numbers are extremely low, as if only 1/2 of one working person would be living in each of these residences, or that most of them had night jobs.

    This is planning? Not even close.

    1. kerry richardson December 4, 2020 7:33 pm Reply

      Agree w Paulo It’s all a push to cram more condos into Kauai. Developers dont care that more units = more traffic, they’ve made their money. They don’t care that the projects all look like cookie cutter replicas of ‘multi-use’ developments or that they’re really not affordable. Pretty soon if we’re not really careful, the island gonna be a bunch of condos and big box stores, ruining heritage AND tourism.

  4. nobody December 4, 2020 9:24 pm Reply

    Demand for houses is up. Supply is down. Prices are up. Some of those who are complaining about traffic could be those who are forced by price to live off island. I guess that’s a way to solve traffic problems.

    Our government is failing us with housing solutions for local residents.

  5. andy December 5, 2020 11:03 pm Reply

    You have gotta be kidding. 1500+ cars at THE NORTH END OF KAPA`A???
    Any authority that votes on the project should be made to drive south at 11 a.m. through town daily for one year.
    Come back and ask again when the roads are widened something EVERY STATE LEGISLATOR HAS promised since the 80’s (actually the 70’s but they thought the joke-of-a-bypass would do the trick).
    Thank you Liko

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