LIHU‘E — Deferred at its last meeting, the Planning Commission has given approval to a new version of a bill that would curb most commercial camping experiences in non-resort-zoned districts.
The bill will move forward to the Kaua‘i County Council, where it originated back in April, introduced by Councilmember Luke Evslin and council Vice Chair Mason Chock.
The proposed legislation distinguishes between undeveloped and developed campgrounds and the areas in which these uses are allowed.
The bill defines an undeveloped campground as one used by property owners and guests for non-commercial camping. This type of campground would not have permanent structures and not generate revenue.
A developed campground would allow permanent structures and bathrooms, and would need to be designed to be “used, let or rented for temporary commercial occupancy by campers.”
In this new iteration of Bill 2822, developed campgrounds would be limited to the resort zoning district, notably not allowed on commercial or open-zoned spaces, according to Marisa Valenciano of the Planning Department. The commission unanimously approved it at its Tuesday meeting.
The bill has garnered island-wide support, primarily from North Shore residents in Princeville, who feel it would put a stop to a proposed 50-tent glamping proposal on open-zoned land on the Makai Golf Course from Starwood Capital Group, which has faced harsh community resistance. Much of the testimony received focused on this glamping proposal’s impact on the development of natural spaces.
“We did receive a lot of testimony relating to a specific glamping proposal,” Planning Department Director Ka‘aina Hull said Tuesday.
The Princeville at Hanalei Community Association, which represents about 3,000 owners and residents adjacent to the proposed glamping project, did not take a side in the matter.
“PHCA’s individual members hold different opinions regarding Starwood’s proposed glamping project,” Sam George of PHCA said in testimony. “All of PHCA’s members, however, share a common goal of preserving open spaces in Princeville, both in the immediate future and in the long term. PHCA appreciates the opportunity to participate in the legislative process in furtherance of that goal.”
However, other groups in the area were more forthcoming in testimony.
“We strongly believe that commercial developed campgrounds should not be allowed on open-zoned land and should only be allowed on land zoned for commercial or resort use,” Ron Wright, president of Ali‘i Kai II in Princeville, wrote to the commission.
“Open space is the most valuable asset of our beautiful island. Protecting Kaua‘i is now up to you. Our precious resources and infrastructure cannot handle more tourist accommodation. We respectfully request that you vote to pass Bill 2822 as quickly as possible.”
Sabrina Bodon, editor, can be reached at 245-0441 or email@example.com.