A chill wind was whipping through the ironwood trees, setting them to bending and sighing as Koko and I walked beneath them in the dark this morning. It’s feeling like winter, and in my neighborhood, thanks to one person who kindly puts up enough inflatable candy canes and Santas for all of us, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
Someone down the street is giving him or herself the gift of a brand new home, and I imagine it’s going to be a lavish one, given the stately lava rock columns that were the first things built, on either side of what is still a dirt driveway. As my neighbor Andy noted: “That’s how they let us know it’s going to be something special.”
Of course, even lava rock entry posts can’t change the fighting chicken farm just two driveways down, or the hodgepodge of buildings right next door. Don’t people stop to think about what else is in the neighborhood before they build? Or how their dream home (or spec house) might raise the property taxes of the adjacent humble abodes?
I was interested to read that Oahu, quite unlike Kauai, is interested in keeping its residential neighborhoods residential, with the City Council nixing a bill that would have expanded the B&B industry there. Even The New York Times picked up the story.
On Kauai, a lawsuit regarding transient vacation rentals (TVRs) filed against the county by the Protect Our Neighborhood `Ohana (PONO) is set for a hearing later this month. In the meantime, when PONO asked the planning department for a list of any and all renewals issued for TVR non-conforming use certificates in the Wainha and Haena area, as of July 31, 2009, it got this reply from deputy planning director Imai Aiu:
Searching our on line record we have only received and approved on [sic] renewal application in the Haena-Wainiha area to date:
TV-1668 FISCHER GARY R TRUST Fischer Vac. Ren. 580090480000 7324 ALEALEA RD Received 7/13/2009
Please keep in mind that this was done by searching the on line database and has not been verified by an actual search into the hard copy files. The department does not maintain specific lists of the nature of your request, so to generate one would require department time to generate and be subject to fees under the Uniform Information Practices Act.
In other words, the department will provide only what PONO had already found itself in searching the database on the county’s website. Unfortunately, this kind of stonewalling has been characteristic of the department’s decidedly opaque approach to dealing with the TVR permitting issue, and it’s not just the public that’s being kept in the dark, but the Planning Commissioners, too.
Similarly, the public is being kept in the dark about plans for the full proposed route of the bike path. As Andy Parx noted in his blog post on the topic, the path must run continuously from Nawiliwili to north of Kealia in order to meet the federal requirements for an alternative transportation route, which is how the county got the initial $40 milllion in federal funds.
Andy recalled the challenges posed in getting the path past the Wailua golf course, and said that’s when the idea of a “temporary” boardwalk on the beach first came up:
So the Wailua boardwalk is actually a test- one on a much wider section of beach- that, once it has been approved and laid will serve as a precedent when it comes to getting the path past the golf course.... and on down the coast where the topography is much the same and where the cost and difficulty of obtaining the land won’t be the impediment it appears to be now.
He also raised a good point about one drawback of using a structure that is removable, yet anchored into the sand:
People opposing the boardwalk have missed a valuable argument in the fact that the “stakes” that are dug over the ‘iwi will not just be dug once and left there but could conceivably be taken up and put back on a semi-regular basis, especially if the waves themselves remove them.
There’s an awful lot to consider with this project, once you start looking a little deeper.
On a lighter note, Andy’s post prompted a comment from Anne Punohu, who has become a regular in the comment section here, where she posted a link to her ”ode to Andy and Joan:”
But don't get sassy or cute with them, trust me. They can both rip you a new hole at 40 paces.
Umm, thanks, Anne. I must say, I’ve never received a compliment quite like that.