HoKua Place application withdrawn

LIHU‘E — Developer HG Kaua‘i Joint Ventures LLC has filed a motion to withdraw its amended petition for a land-use district boundary on Thursday for a controversial mixed-use and housing project near Kapa‘a Middle School, and asked that all subsequent hearings on the matter be canceled before the state Land Use Commission.

The commission met May 13 for a continued hearing on the petition to rezone 96 acres of agricultural land to urban district land to develop HoKua Place, a $337 million project with 86 single-family lots and 683 multi-family units, neighborhood commercial center and community park.

At the end of that meeting, when the petitioner rested its case, commissioners expressed skepticism of the viability of the project, specifically raising concerns for a lack of a comprehensive plan for water, wastewater and traffic-impact study.

On the table for the commission was a discussion on a motion made by LUC Commissioner Gary Okuda to dismiss or deny the petition scheduled for June 10.

“The petitioner seeking the boundary amendment has the burden of proof, the burden of persuasion and the burden coming forth with the evidence,” Okuda said on May 13. “In this case here, I believe, even taking a very easy (look and) in the light most favorable to the petitioner, the petitioner simply has not met its burden of proof.”

In November of last year, Liko Martin filed a motion to intervene in the matter, citing the need for agricultural lands and the strain on existing wastewater, sewage and road infrastructure. Since March 2021, the commission has met and heard testimony on the topics of affordable housing, agriculture, potable-water demand, traffic and demand for housing.

Commissioner Dan Giovanni, who represents Kaua‘i, said that during the proceedings, he was not persuaded that the developer has done its due diligence to properly study the proposal and produce a complete environmental impact study.

“What I have learned in this evidence that’s been brought forth in this docket has convinced me that (the developer) did not meet that bar (for the EIS),” Giovanni said. “If I knew then what I know now, I would have argued strenuously not to accept the (EIS) at the time.”

The property, zoned agriculture, is north of ‘Olohena Road and the Kapa‘a bypass road, one of the most-highly-trafficked areas on the island. The Traffic Impact Analysis Report, which commissioners had suggested at an earlier meeting, also seemed out-of-date, commissioners said.

Bridget Hammerquist, president of Friends of Maha‘ulepu, called this “a real win for Kaua‘i” for the joint partnership between her nonprofit, the Sierra Club and Community Coalition for Kaua‘i.

“Clearly, had the LUC not done such a stellar job exposing the serious problems with their plan, there would have been a huge adverse impact to quality of life for everyone on Kaua‘i,” Hamerquist said. “There’s one road from north to south, and we all are better off with the developer’s decision to throw in the towel.”

11 Comments
  1. nobody May 30, 2021 7:26 am Reply

    Well, this should help solve the housing crisis.


  2. Paulo May 30, 2021 7:42 am Reply

    The monstrosity of Hokua Place should never be allowed to come back with any further requests. 769 residences was completely out of whack for this island, most especially for overcrowded Kapaa and the lack of supporting infrastructure. I blame it largly on the General Plan which encouraged growth adjoining existing towns. Kapaa should never have been included in that scenario. In fact where on this island would 769 residences not have a seriously negative impact? No where.


  3. Kauaidoug May 30, 2021 8:07 am Reply

    HOORAY!!! Surely after this pandemic do we, the car driving public of Kaua’i, really need more housing unless it’s to help mitigate our severe housing shortage?


  4. Wil Welsh May 30, 2021 8:12 am Reply

    This is absolutely the right outcome for this project. But it would be foolish to think the project will now evaporate and the land will magically become an agricultural botanical garden. The Developers will likely hibernate for a while, then spring forth with a new magic act down the road. There’s no question the island needs Developer funding and entrepreneurship, but concentrating on residential-zoned land in small projects would find a more welcoming atmosphere than this idea too grandiose for the location from the start. Congratulations to the many Kauai residents who understood the potential impact and stood their ground in opposing it.


  5. jkh May 30, 2021 9:24 am Reply

    Typical Kauai. You fuss and fight any development on one hand, and then on the other hand, you bit@h and moan about high rents and high property values.

    When will the residents of this island wake up to the fact you cannot have both. You want lower rents and values, develop more. That is it.


    1. rsi May 30, 2021 3:32 pm Reply

      Leading to what end of your natural cycle, and when?


    2. Brian Garza May 30, 2021 7:11 pm Reply

      You hit the nail on the head, you just can’t have it both ways, people bitch about high rent prices, and the same people hate development!!


  6. nothings free May 30, 2021 9:40 am Reply

    In light of the impossible development circumstances the Governments of Kauai and all of Hawaii has made, it has resulted in a cycle of much too difficult and costly realities to build anything on Kauai. Water meter costs, which has nothing to do with the actual cost of the meter and installation, is nothing more than a hidden and insidious development tax imposed by naïve politicians. The overall process of approval for anything is ridiculous. No wonder prices are through the roof and locals can’t possibly afford to live here. Whether one is for or against this development, everyone must now accept the fate that awaits the children of all local average income families. Your children will be homeless, or, will have to move elsewhere to live. Your new “Ohana” will only exist via Social Media and Facetime!


    1. fries May 30, 2021 3:33 pm Reply

      What solution do you propose?


    2. nobody May 30, 2021 4:09 pm Reply

      Well said.
      The only way I see to keep the average income resident here is to have very small houses or apartments. Walking or biking distance to supermarkets, etc. There will be more and more people migrating here that have more money than us that will further exasperate the housing problem. These new residents come with money and will not need jobs. They align with the unsuspecting anti tourism residents and throttle back tourism for the benefit of those who can afford not to have it. Anyone else see this coming?


  7. Mark May 31, 2021 2:59 am Reply

    Good thing you can live in a tent with your family at the park right next door to the meth head.


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