Testimony alert! Kealia Mauka Subdivision, Asset or Assault?

to: The Garden Island Forum

by Gabriela Taylor, Kapaa

Kealia Mauka Subdivision, Asset or Assault?

This proposed Kealia Mauka Homesites would include 230 empty lots for sale, from 5,600 to 7,300 feet square, on 53 acres on Kealia Rd past the Post Office. If approved, agriculture land would be up-zoned to Urban. The lots would be purchased by individuals or in multiples by contractors.

Several of us who attended a public meeting May 19, featuring representatives for Kealia Properties LLC, heard a presentation of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement and asked questions. There is an opportunity to submit public comments by email before June 22.

There are many serious concerns about the appropriateness of this proposed development, which is now before the state Land Use Commission for consideration. See Website: https://luc.hawaii.gov/19450 for further information. Please consider the following negative impacts that will further affect our quality of life on Kauai if the Kealia Mauka subdivision is approved. This subdivision is in the wrong place with serious potential impacts.

Please Email your public comments by Friday, June 22 to: daniel.e.orodenker@hawaii.gov

1. Lack of Transparency and Consistency  In spite of the County General Plan recommendations for urban housing in-fill, this project proposes to upzone agricultural land.  And, there were discussions with the Planning Dept. as early as 2016, but the project is not listed in the General Plan Update.

2. Cultural Impacts  The developer never interviewed the existing small community of Kealia residents, some of whom with family heritage for many generations who were employees of Kealia/ Makee Sugar Plantation. Cultural or archeological impacts were not covered at the public meeting or addressed in the DEIS document. The DEIS archaeological and cultural information in the Appendix overlooks decades of Kealia history between the 1940’s and 1970’s and neglects to discuss Kumukumu Camp and other significant community features such as the Dispensary

3. Kealia Road Inadequate /Dangerous/ Traffic Light proposed  There is only one entrance/exit onto Kuhio Highway from the existing subdivision on Kealia Rd. Adding another 450 cars from Kealia Mauka onto Kuhio Highway is hazardous. The developer has proposed a traffic light at the bottom of the hill on Kuhio Highway across from the main entrance to Kealia beach park. I frequent the beach and see trucks/cars speeding 60 or more in a 40 MPH stretch without any police presence. When Kealia residents asked about kids crossing the highway safely to the beach, the response was that a traffic light will solve the problem. Or, will it create an even more dangerous situation?

4. Urban Sprawl & Traffic Impact  The General Plan Update has emphasized the need to restrict development to Kauai’s Urban Center as a measure to decrease traffic. Kealia Mauka subdivision, if approved, would significantly increase the current bumper to bumper traffic burden we are experiencing in Kapaa now in addition to the 3 already approved resorts to be built in Waipouli and Wailua.

5. Affordability/ Contractors/ Flipping Properties  The project representative at our public meeting was very vague about the affordability of the subdivision. The EIS states that Work Force Housing will be built. According to the DEIS, contractors can buy up multiple lots. What’s to stop them from building homes that aren’t affordable, since Work Force Housing can be sold to the public who earn 120% of the median income/yr. on Kauai- that’s $90,000? When asked, he agreed to look into the possibility of selling to Kauai residents only. What’s to stop a contractor from flipping properties, selling at a higher price to non- residents after a year or so? The presentation and DEIS left me with too many questions and few answers.

Please comment on this proposed project by the June 22 deadline todaniel.e.orodenker@hawaii.gov

No Room For Hokua Place

Kaua’i’s General Plan Update document is loading the pressure on the Wailua-Kapa’a corridor by recommending yet another development – Hokua Place, a 780-unit sub-division on agricultural land the County wants to up-zone to residential. We are not opposed to development that serves our most pressing need, which is affordable housing. We are not against development that serves the residents of Kaua’i. We are opposed to development that does not take into consideration the squeeze it is putting on our communities. In consideration of all the other entitled development in our Wailua-Kapa’a corridor, the 93 acres behind Kapa’a Middle School should not be up-zoned to residential.


ALREADY MAXED OUT ON DEVELOPMENT COMMITMENTS: 3 resort areas in Wailua currently or soon to be under development, a residential development called Kealia Mauka proposed for the north end of Kapa’a, DHHL lands in Wailua are slated as a priority for development

TRAFFIC AT A NEAR CONSTANT DEADLOCK: Hokua Place will add approximately 1,200-1,500 additional cars to the streets of Kapa’a, further adding to the congestion

INFRASTRUCTURE STRESSED AND INSUFFICENT: fresh water, waste water systems, landfill and roads are already grossly over-taxed, in need of repairs or updating.

LOSS OF AGRICULTURAL LANDS AND RURAL CHARACTER: Kaua’i’s residents established the maintenance of our “rural character” and the need for “food self-sufficiency” as a priority in the General Plan, let’s honor our o’hana by keeping it that way.

I support an amendment to the General Plan that keeps the area behind Kapa’a Middle School (proposed development area of Hokua Place)
zoned Agriculture.

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