Monday, November 17, 2014

Musings: The Future is Now

Kauai residents got a glimpse of the future this past week, and it freaked a lot of people out.

From the posh “Private Prince” project to a proposed resort designation at Mahaulepu, the writing is on the wall: barring an economic downturn or hurricane — the only two forces that have slowed Kauai construction in the past — more resort development is coming.

Curiously, though we've been hearing for the past two years that we must protect the visitor industry at all costs — even if it means destroying the seed companies and rejecting a dairy — once folks actually see the reality of putting all their eggs in the tourism basket, they don't want that, either.

Guess what? You don't get to have it both ways. As I've been saying for a long time now, when you allow the gentrification of ag land, it makes farming economically unfeasible. Once you eliminate agriculture, development is sure follow. And since there's no money in affordable housing, regardless of how much it's needed, it's gonna be upscale stuff in the very best places.

Hence, the “Private Prince” on land that once ran cattle, and a proposal — driven at least in part by the community's rejection of agricultural uses there — to set aside 13 acres at Mahaulepu for a resort.

Simultaneously, Councilmen Gary Hooser and Tim Bynum, along with Adam Asquith, Carl Berg, Don Heacock, Kapua Sproat and others, are trying to stop Grove Farm development in Lihue/Hanamaulu — one area where affordable housing actually is planned — by having the Puna District designated a groundwater management area.

If Grove Farm can't develop in Lihue, it will develop at Mahaulepu, and/or sell off more large tracts of land to the uber-rich, as has already happened with 2,700 acres at Kipu. And if the low-and-middle-class housing for residents is killed in Lihue, where will it be built? It won't.

Meanwhile, other people are wasting time on this sort of nonsense:

the Polynesian Kingdom of Atooi has served all Realtors with a cease and desist order and they know it and are starting to ask can they be arrested...

I have a lot of sympathy for the Hawaiian independence movement, but as it currently stands, the Atooi Kingdom has no legal authority and its cease and desist orders are meaningless. Unfortunately, kanaka who might otherwise get involved in rejecting or at least shaping development proposals are distracted by these bogus strategies and misled into believing that something is happening when it's not.

As for Joan Dickerson of the Princeville Ladies Golf Club, who wants to “petition the governor to do an eminent domain” on the Prince Course, well, that's just plain silly. Get real.

The Garden Island reports that Dickerson, who bought a home near the Prince Course, found news of the Private Prince both surprising and expected, "while the project gets to the heart of the question:" 

How much do we want to sit by and watch a select few take away our resources?

Yes, that question has been asked — and never answered — on Kauai for well over a century now. The irony is that people asked it of the development where the Dickersons bought, and now the Dickersons are asking it.

All the transplants, except those in high end real estate, want to pull up the drawbridge once they're safely inside the castle. Yet still, the battering rams are arrayed outside the walls.

A number of people have sent me emails asking what can be done about the Private Prince — a $500 million venture by Jeff Stone and Thai-Chinese billionaire Chanchai Ruayrungruang to develop an 8,000-acre, 350-unit community, while absconding with Anini Beach and extending the Princeville Airport runway in the process.

Development at Princeville can't be entirely stopped because they already have zoning entitlements, and neither Kauai County nor the State of Hawaii have ever shown any inclination to risk a private property “takings” lawsuit.

Still, residents can take steps to shape the project, exact concessions and protect Anini Beach from privatization — as has already happened with Kanaha and other North Shore beaches where vacation rentals have flourished, as most people yawned. But they must get organized now and dog the proposal as it moves through the permitting process.

Citizens also can push for restrictions on development that impacts viewplanes — the Private Prince plans to build 75 homes, each on a 5-acre lot, along the ridges (follow the yellow dots) between the coast and the Prince Course.
They can contact the County Council and urge its members to adopt a strong shoreline setback bill on Wednesday — one that requires adequate setback from the ocean bluffs and rocky coastlines that remain undeveloped.

They also need to urge the Council to reject Bill 2546 — a misguided, short-sighted attempt by Hooser and Councilman Tim Bynum to punish the seed companies by yanking all the land they lease out of the ag dedication. Though they're doing it under the guise of squeezing more dough from the multination chem companies, the end result will be ag land taxed at market values, which means it's ripe for development.

Though Gary pooh-poohed the prospect of westside development, saying the landowners would be restricted in how many homes they could build, he totally ignored the prospect of more private enclaves like the “Prince” going up on the desirable hillsides around Hanapepe and Waimea.

And as a way of saying they don't dig the escalating ritziness on the North Shore, people can support a resolution from departing Councilmen Jay Furfaro, which urges the Department of Land and Natural Resources to take an active role in prohibiting yachts longer than 75 feet from anchoring in Hanalei Bay.

Mostly, folks need to start looking at the big picture, the consequences of their actions, where they're putting all their oppositional energy. As some North Shore residents fought seed companies on the westside, and proclaimed they'd take tourism over seeds any day of the week, Stone and his cronies were busily plotting to give them exactly what they were begging for.

But no, they don't really want that.

So can Dustin Barca, Andrea Brower, Bynum and Hooser re-direct their troops to fight this latest assault — in their own backyard, yet — on the Kauai-as-fully-sustainable-pristine-paradise-myth? Which might be touchy, considering how they've aligned themselves with the high-end Realtors and North Shore super rich. Or was the anti-GMO/"red shirt" crowd really a pro-development movement in disguise, as I've suspected all along? 

As the old saying goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. And I hear them high-priced grinds is real ono. Belly up now, 'fore it's all gone.


Anonymous said...

If passed, the council's Rocky or bright line exemption would "exempt" projects like the private one proposed in Princeville and the Mahalepu one from regulation in the shoreline setback ordinance. It makes it easy to develop along rocky cliff areas, no matter the impacts to the people and resources below.
Seems like superrich developers don't want to be bothered with having to follow shoreline regulation, hopefully the council will recognize it is not their job to allow easy development to despoil Kauai's bluffs and cliffs with hotels and mansions looming over the beaches. Mahalepu , Princeville and so much more of our island is composed of rocky shorelines. The bright line exemption should be removed before the council passes it.

Anonymous said...

There is no mention of view planes in the applicability section of the shoreline setback section in the county code.

Sec. 8-27.1 Applicability.

This Article shall be applicable to all lands within the County of Kaua‘i, State of Hawai‘i, that are:

(a) Abutting the shoreline; or

(b) Not abutting the shoreline but located within five hundred (500) feet of the shoreline unless the applicant can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Planning Director that the applicant’s proposed improvement will not be affected by coastal erosion or hazards, excluding natural catastrophes. Factors to be considered shall include, but not be limited to, proximity to the shoreline, topography, properties between the shoreline and applicant’s property, elevation, and the history of coastal hazards in the area. (Ord. No. 935, November 14, 2012)

l.nebre said...

Thank you Joan for this post. I hope others will take this development matter seriously and really think which evil, in essence, we are choosing over the other. The beautiful life we live will not and cannot be enjoyed by our children and their children if development continues to flourish for the wealthy.

Anonymous said...

Having lived here all of my life, the trend I've seen in the past few decades is that the malahini have certainly embraced, as you pointed out, the drawbridge effect. so development is out and now they are against agriculture, that dirty plebeian enterprise. And of course, the military has to go. so what we're left with in their minds is Kauai The Retirement Community Of The Wealthy. Now wealthy retirees have their own incomes so they don't need jobs and they don't need affordable housing. In fact, they want to prohibit such things from multiplying so with their mainland knowledge of activism, they go out and protest against all of that. Sleepy Kauai folk are like deer in the headlights. And what we are left with is only the wealthy subdivisions. The children of local folks must leave Kauai to find jobs and to afford a home. So in reality, Kauai has been slowly taken over by these nimbys which so many of use have only recently become aware that we must be as proactive in stopping these thieves from buying our island and forcing us to leave as they are in attempting to curtail all ag and all development. The time to keep one's head down is over. Save Kauai For The Kama'aina! (And NO! Moving and living here for a couple decades does not make you kama'aina!)

Allan Parachini said...

You're right on about the challenge to people to work to shape and modify this project, as necessary. Beach access easements, the conditions of which would require development and maintenance of viable trails would re very important, as well as view-shed protections and setbacks. A requirement that all roads be open to the public at all times would be helpful, as would a requirement for construction and leasing to the county for 99 years at a dollar a year a new county park. Maybe that instead of a polo field...???? It is disturbing that the only specifics that ResortDevelopment has provided so far is the one big site drawing. The community needs far, far more detail and it needs to be presented by the developers at meetings and other opportunities.

Allan Parachini said...

Neglected to add one detail, which is that the public beach access easement points should be required to have adequate parking for the number of people who might actually use the access, not just a lip service postage stamp sized parking area like the ones at the St. Regis and Queen's Bath. The standard should be that the public is invited and welcome to use the facilities and not seen as the public as an inconvenience that's beneath the residents of the high end properties. I don't think there's much to be done to stop the project but what does HAVE to be done is, as you say, Joan, shaping the fashioning the details. That and a requirement that they purchase furniture from local makers....... (Just kidding)

Anonymous said...

Joan- thank you for your words.
Kauai has always been in the battle for a balance of Tourism and the economy. There have been comments on what type of commerce is the most healthy and by a long shot tourism offers higher paying, cleaner, safer and less polluting jobs than any other form of large commerce.
Today Kauai is facing development of another kind. P'ville was always there as a sort of fruity tired attempt at a higher end sub-d. Even tho' Pville houses, lots and condos have at many times been priced lower than a regular cracker box in Kapaa.
Today's Kauai with Kukuiula and now the Red Bull mega resorts...a real bright line is drawn. Only the uber wealthy. Big deal. Let them do as they is zoned.
The County CAN do something on the required affordable housing extortion. Kukuila got away with putting their "local housing" miles away in Eleele...this is horseshit. Kukuiula and Red Bull/Stone should be required to put the local housing extortion ON THE SAME land as the big resort....maybe a defined corner. Kukuilai took upzoned Poipu land and stuck the locals in West Butt Fuck Eleele Egypt, what a joke....Red Bull should be required to put the locals close to the their resort. At least in the same area...
But most importantly DO NOT LET the COUNTY and especially JOANN get their mitts on any money. Require the DEVELOPER to build the local housing in a set time frame.
But, on the third hand, the Red Bull development is a smidgeon compared to the 2nd City planned for Mauka Pville. Look at the maps.
We can all live together, rich and poor, old and young, Babes and Boobs, Hoosers and Rapozos...we all love the island.
It just would be a better place if there was local housing. Not a bunch of unicorn inspired patchouli oiled houses insisting on "cute trees and bike paths" (form based)..these new County ideals for local sub-Ds will price all local housing out of any feasibility ..just put up 4 walls a little land and let the people live. By Jove, with a water meter over 20K with installation, Septics at 20K, Hoosers 10K water is tough to build if a lot was given to you for free. Mandate NO JoAnn Yukimura apartments..
And maybe the State could build some roads (unlikely).
A strong wind carries us and we must set our sail.

Anonymous said...

The rocky shoreline exemptions are in section 8-27.3

Anonymous said...

Kamaʻāina (pronounced ka-ma-EYE-na) is the Hawaiian language word for a long-term resident of the Hawaiian Islands. Literally "child of the land," it derives from the words "kama", meaning "child", and "ʻāina", meaning 'land'.[1] The word "kamaʻaina" describes Hawaiʻi residents regardless of their racial background, as opposed to "kanaka" which means a person of native Hawaiian ancestry.

A kamaʻaina in the traditional sense is someone born in Hawaiʻi or who has made their residence in the islands for many years. More recently, the definition of a kamaʻaina has been expanded to include anyone who currently lives in Hawaiʻi, or who once lived there but has moved away. The State of Hawaiʻi sponsors an official "Kamaʻaina Come Home" event each year, intended to increase the state’s labor pool by inducing Hawaiʻi college students and former residents who are now living in the continental United States to return to Hawaiʻi. The program has been successful in bringing qualified kama‘aina back to the Islands and in doing so, reuniting families.[2]

Anonymous said...

Integration would be nice, especially on an island that promotes a vision of racial harmony and inclusiveness. As for $20,000 grand for a water meter, it costs at least that much for water pumps, storage tanks, transmission lines, etc. Septic system or cesspool. What's the environmental costs of a cesspool? What do you propose, subsidies? And what's wrong with apartments? It's either that or single lot subdivisions and even without the "extras", like sidewalks, bikeways, etc., the costs are still high. Look at the subdivision by Costco. No frills like sidewalks, etc., but the lots aren't "affordable".

Anonymous said...

OMG, I just heard about all this, shocking since i am from that side. I am just jaw on the ground over all of this. protest people, lets get out 8 thousand strong and fight this monstrosity. here is finally something to bring blue shirts and red shirts together!

Me, personally i would welcome anyone from any side of the island i don't care who they work for to fight this.

There is a difference between quaint, capacity se4nsitive off island tourism, spaced out and paced out, and mega monstrosity mega gated mega uber rich resorts, holy effin hell!!

And who, pray tell will they get to work in these mega uber rich ultra upscale resorts and where the hell will they live?

Because lets face it, most of us can't pass a background check or a credit check, since most of us have at least had a speeding ticket, and most of us owe someone something somewhere.

hmm, so where will the brought in people live then?

When I count all of the developments in the pipe, that is a lot of beds to make, carpets to vacuum, food to cook, bars to tend, and security to do.

so, here is your choice for a job on Kauai. Or GMO fields. or organic farms. or some supportive something pertaining to the4m

By the way, taking Anini beach, oh hell no.

Brah time to put on a purple shirt march together and say GTFO...and its not about being NIMBY, its about where are your employees going to live? Where is the water and electricity coming from?

Where are all of those off island construction workers going to live when they build all of these mega resorts planned, because remember now they are also going to build the coconut coast ones too, by Coco palms, and lets not forget Coco palms resort itself which is planned for a rebuild.

Think about that that is about one thousand jobs. That will not go to anyone much over the age of 40 if even that. probably young guys between the ages of 18 and 35.

The rest of us can suck thumb.

And where are all of those workers going to live? Why in rich mansion, if you can manage a job at each one, every day of the week, triple shifts!

Yeah doggie!

Anonymous said...

It looks like the Prince project has a road between the shoreline and the project house sites and with section 8-27.3 it looks like the maximum setback required is 100 ft from the shoreline. View planes are not part of the setback consideration because the law is related to the establishment of a setback as it relates to the shoreline which for most if not all of the project will be well makai of any structures.

Beach access will be mostly from Anini road so that question is moot. We in Hawaii have rights to traverse the shoreline and access to the shoreline is and should be protected but how is it that access to someone's private property is a right?

The Housing Agency has rules that would probably apply to the 350 units that would require some form of affordable housing? I am speculating but I think that the affordable housing that will be generated will be the same requirement no matter where the 350 units are located.

What will be interesting is how they came up with the 350 units. This project could well require only a subdivision application and subsequent department review and approval by the Planning Commission. In other words they are designing this project to conform with existing zoning and planning rules.

Thus the inequity. The projects that have the money to comply with the CZO and governmental requirements only make sense if they are marketed to the very rich. There are two parts to turning a key in the front door. The project developers and the money to build the project. The CZO is the framework so the hard part is getting the money and making the money work. Finding 350 buyers in a world wide market with the views of the Pacific ocean from the North Shore of Kauai in the most isolated landmass on Earth and in the United States of America. Hard to beat combination.

Work is Work. It's easy to criticize service jobs if you have income but work is better than no work.

Anonymous said...

Since the Princeville project is adjacent to a rocky shoreline, a 60 foot setback is all that is required under the bright line exemption as currently written in 8-27.3.
Wednesday the council is set to approve or amend the shoreline setback bill. If you think the setback should be 100 feet, rather than exempt from the determination, the bill needs to be amended to treat rocky shorelines like every other lot and setback according to the larger of the erosion rate or the formula Seagrant has devised which is (depth-100 divided by 2+40). We will see what kind of legacy this council leaves.

Anonymous said...

@5:11 PM who said:

"Kamaʻāina (pronounced ka-ma-EYE-na) is the Hawaiian language word for a long-term resident of the Hawaiian Islands."

"A kamaʻaina in the traditional sense is someone born in Hawaiʻi or who has made their residence in the islands for many years. More recently, the definition of a kamaʻaina has been expanded to include anyone who currently lives in Hawaiʻi, or who once lived there but has moved away."

Sorry, but there is only ONE definition of the word and that is one who was born here. It is the South Park newbees who attempt to rewrite history and language to their own advantage to make themselves "kama'aina". If you weren't born here, you aren't kama'aina. PERIOD!

[Hawaiian Dictionary, Mary Kawena Pukui & Samuel H. Elbert 1986)

Anonymous said...

Let's not forget the area from Pakala camp to Waimea. Untouched beach front property that could change soon or more like will change soon with development.
Can anything be done to protect this area and keep it undeveloped?

Anonymous said...

You can't keep it undeveloped, but you can talk Ross into removing the bright line exemption that puts development too close to the cliff edge.

Anonymous said...

9:24 Can anything be done to protect this area and keep it undeveloped?

Yes. Buy it.

Anonymous said...

Nope, it's pau,