HANALEI — The county Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking public input on the draft master plan for Black Pot Beach Park, one of three county-owned beach parks on Hanalei, with roughly 13 acres in size.
The draft master plan is available to view online.
“The draft Black Pot Master Plan addresses various goals, including improved management and protection of resources, investment for park extension with cost-effective measures, improved user experience and safety, as well as parking,” Director of Parks and Recreation Patrick Porter said.
“We look forward to the community’s input and feedback.”
The master plan outlines a general framework for physical improvements at the park over the next 20-plus years. The planning process to shape the master plan started in 2015 and was delayed while the park was closed and facilities were being rebuilt to recover from the catastrophic flood event of April 2018.
Recommendations in the draft master plan were developed from ideas gathered during meetings and outreach activities.
The four goals of the master plan are to improve management and protection of the resource, ensure investments for park expansion and new facilities are strategic and cost-effective, improve the user experience and user safety and minimize conflicts among the different recreational activities and interests. The master plan also shares the park’s history and timeline of improvements dating back to 1849.
In 2019, the County of Kaua‘i spent $6 million in construction to repair the park’s facilities and restore access to the park after the floods in April of 2018.
The plan will include new parking and drop-off areas, a second comfort station and shower, a second boat ramp for fishermen with improvements and boat-trailer parking, an open-air pavilion, storage for county and canoe-club use, and new signage, landscaping and utility-system upgrades.
The total estimated build-out of the master plan will cost the county roughly $5.3 million without contingency.
Princeville resident and surfer Lee Bieler has been surfing at Hanalei Bay since 1980, and said he thinks the master plan is a great start, but has some suggestions.
“I don’t think they need a second comfort station,” Bieler said. “They should leave that open space. The one (comfort station) they have, they need to get the septic system working because it hasn’t been opened yet. And it looks kind of ragged, but it’s new.”
Bieler said the parking lot for Black Pot Beach Park is currently maxed out on a daily basis.
“There’s no way to put any more parking in the front without taking away any more open space,” Bieler said. “But the back parking lot is fine. I mean, they could maybe organize the back parking lot a little better. Now there is a boat ramp back there that I guess guys launch from.”
Now that the master plan is complete, the final step is the plan implementation. According to the county master plan, they will need “Strong political, organizational and financial support — together with sustained public interest that draws attention to the master plan will be important to advance implementation of the plan’s recommendations.”
The implementation strategy includes acquiring ownership control of pier approach and riverfront accreted land, securing funding for land use and permitting approvals, securing funding for design, permitting and construction of major projects (bathroom, parking, boat launch facility, pavilions and landscaping), which will take 12 to 18 months. Complete construction will take six to 12 months, according to the county.
County Councilmember Felicia Cowden said she applauds the effort of the county outreach through sharing the master plan.
“The community contributors to the plan, to this point, are an excellent reflection of the Hanalei area,” Cowden said. “Much has changed with the flooding and the larger economy. It is critically important to review this with our island now, to best understand how we want to move forward with our beloved park that is a community gathering place.”
The public is encouraged to visit the virtual open house at blackpotplan.com to walk through the 3D meeting room, learn about the planning process, download a copy of the draft report and submit comments.
Due to COVID-19 limitations on public gatherings, the virtual-open-house platform is essential for a community meeting.
Written comments on the draft plan are being accepted until March 21. Comments should include name and physical address, and can be submitted online through the plan’s virtual-open-house portal, blackpotplan.com; via email to firstname.lastname@example.org; or by U.S. mail to HHF Planners, ATTN: Black Pot Plan, 733 Bishop St., Suite 2590, Honolulu, HI 96813.
Comments received by the March 21 deadline will be used to refine the final plan. Upon completion of the final master plan, the plan will be presented to the Kaua‘i County Council.
Stephanie Shinno, education, business, and community reporter can be reached at 245-0424 or email@example.com.