POSTED 1 JUNE 2007 - 2:00pm HST

Judge orders moratorium until hearing

(above: Centex Destination Properties Beach Villas at Ko Olina "more than you could rightfully expect")

by Juan Wilson on 1 June 2007

Today it was reported, by Lester Chang, in the Garden Island News that:

"State Judge Kathleen Watanabe has rescheduled a hearing for a preliminary injunction until June 8 in a case in which environmentalists seek the rescinding of county permits for two massive resorts in Waipouli on the Eastside.

The critics of the projects are also asking the judge to require the developers to re-apply for the permits.The plaintiffs — 1,000 Friends of Kauai and Puanani Rogers — said the county Planning Commission should have required environmental assessments for the 20-acre Coconut Beach Resort and the 12-acre Coconut Plantation Village before approving permits for them in January."

This is good news, and we don't get much of this kind. We should congratulate 1000 Friends of Kauai, Nani Rogers and all actively concerned with the destruction of the eastside of Kauai by ruthless over development. We will all suffer if these two projects are ever built. So will its future buyers.

If you want to know how you can help, contact 1000 Friends of Kauai and donate some money to the legal fund to support this lawsuit.

1000 Friends of Kauai
c/o Bert Lyons
PO Box 742
Kilauea, HI 96754

Projects like those proposed in Waipouli are merely apartment buildings that rely on the charm, beauty and amenities of their surroundings as the real selling point. Unfortunately, the very building of those projects reduces those selling points.

For example, on Oahu, the developers of Beach Villas at Ko Olina illustrate marinas, golf courses and other amenities in its brochure. In large print they promise:

"More luxury than you could ever need. From a swim in one of the four pristine lagoons to sailing your boat out of the resort's private marina, Ko Olina offers more than you can rightfully expect"

But below it adds in fine print:

"Centex Destination Properties doesn't own or control the marina, golf course, other amenities or land outside of Beach Villas at Ko Olina and does not guarantee the current or future use thereof."

These people are weasels.

(above: Marriott's Ko Olina Beach Club - for now a "secluded oasis")

Likewise, Marriott's "Ko Olina Beach Club" describes itself as a "secluded beachfront oasis". This may be true today, but the master plan for the Ko Olina coast is cheek-to-jowl and bumper-to-bumper development.

Note in the illustration above that the master plan developer cut several horseshoe shaped lagoons out of the reef-edged (un-swimmable otherwise) coastline. Each lagoon is a magnet for for a cluster of apartment buildings that will eventually fill in the entire coastline with a wall of high-rise development. Some seclusion. Waikiki comes to mind, without the public park.

Much the same thing is now happening with the Waipouli Coast of Kauai. The difference is that on Kauai the high-rises will be only four stories. It's worth noting that the current fulltime residents of Kauai are going to be hurt in unforeseen ways by this. One example is the loss of the Kauai Children's Discovery Museum (KCDM) under the Clock Tower at the Kaua’i Village Shopping Center.

The KCDM has been a fixture on the eastide for a generation, providing educational programs for local children after school.The new management of the property explain that they are re-gearing the plaza to upscale resort style shopping and that the KCDM just didn't fit in that picture. As a result, the KCDM has nowhere it can afford to go and has announced it is terminating all its children's programming. So much for amenities for our community.

Note also that the Coconut Marketplace no longer acts as shopping mall for local residents. It's geared for the visitor industry. The fact that Kukui Grove, in Lihue, is the only shopping mall left for residents on the island surely adds to the traffic problems between Lihue and Kapaa, where most of the people on Kauai live.

To develop the coastline between Kapaa and Lihue for wall-to-wall time-shares and visitor condos is madness.

Speaking of misrepresentational promotion; have you seen the TV ads for Kauai Lagoons Kalanipuu Condominiums? They are shot to make the Marriott Resort site at Kanapali Beach look like a tropical Venice with a labyrinth of waterways. This developers of this $1.5 billion project sited under the flyway to Lihue Airport never mentions the sounds of landing passenger jets heard from your lanai. They are pushing:

"Many of the homes will be built along the lagoon, giving residents the option to be water taxied aboard the resort’s classic wooden boats for dinner, golf, shopping and other lifestyle amenities."

(above: Site plan for Kauai Lagoons Kalanipuu Condominiums - a wall of apartments)

Certainly, the resort site has picturesque scenery, but will buyers from New Jersey be surprised to find that the ocean is too dangerous for the "water taxis" and that these boats are floating around in a large attractive drainage reservoir next to the golf course? I'm sure Kauai Lagoons Realty hopes to get a deposit first. They certainly warn you in the fine print:

"Depictions are all subject to change without notice and depict proposed improvements. Photographs, drawings, and renderings are provided to assist in visualizing the resorts, projects and models. However, these photographs and renderings may not accurately depict the final development of the resorts or projects and should not be relied upon to make decisions about purchasing a unit in any of the projects depicted."

Bottom Line:
Developers are like car salesmen - they don't care about you and they lie.



POSTED 19 FEBRUARY 2007- 8:00am HST

1000 Friends of Kaua‘i sue Planning Department

this symbol is not the logo of "1000 Friends of Kauai", but an adaptation of the UAW logo by Island Breath

[Editor's note: This is a great step forward in bringing to task a Planning Department in the pockets of the developers and not representing the welfare of the people and island of Kauai.]

by Amanda C. Gregg on 19 February in The Garden Island News

A grassroots nonprofit is suing the Kaua‘i Planning Department demanding that it require an Environmental Assessment before developers turn dirt at Waipouli.
The group, 1000 Friends of Kaua‘i, claims that the Planning Commission was not in compliance with the Hawai‘i Environmental Protection Act when it gave the OK for a 547-room resort on the Kapa‘a shoreline. Under HEPA, an Environmental Assessment should be triggered when proposed projects use state or county lands, facilities or money.

Infrastructure improvements that will be required for Coconut Beach Development and Coconut Plantation Holdings to complete the project will necessitate contact with county-owned easements and sewer lines, an advocate for 1000 Friends of Kaua‘i said.

The group is asking for an Environmental Assessment — which could lead to an Environmental Impact Study — to be done before groundbreaking of the resort begins.

In the lawsuit, the group claims that the Planning Department did not require an adequate environmental review and the traffic impact on the already congested area.

The group says the Planning Commission, tasked with protecting cultural, historic, recreational and scenic resources, did not take into account the development’s disruption of mauka and makai views.

The group also claims the Planning Commission didn’t adequately meet its responsibilities of overseeing the shoreline management area and carefully evaluating the developer’s application for a shoreline management area permit.
The county is requiring the developers pay roughly $5.4 million to augment Pouli Road to Wailua Houselots.

David Dinner, president of 1000 Friends of Kaua‘i and co-chairman of The People for the Preservation of Kaua’i, said the group’s aim is to help moderate growth in keeping with the law.

Board members of 1000 Friends of Kaua‘i did feel they had a small victory so far, as the developers’ request to delete certain conditions set forth in January was denied by the Planning Commission last week.

A hearing on the suit will be in Fifth Judicial Circuit Judge Kathleen Watanabe’s courtroom on March 1.

Want to help?

Residents interested in making a donation to the 1000 Friends of Kaua‘i can send them to:
1000 Friends of Kauai
c/o Bert Lyons
PO Box 742
Kilauea, HI 96754



POSTED 11 FEBRUARY 2007- 6:30pm HST

Coconuts: Don’t Give Up. It’s not over yet!

GoogleEarth image of remains of coconut plantation that is the site for two giant developments

by Gabriela Taylor on 10 February 2007

We have a chance to overturn the Planning Commission approval of the Waipouli resorts this Tuesday at their next meeting. Please attend if you can and also bring written testimony. Otherwise, testimony has to be sent to the Planning Commission early Monday, details below.

I want to say “bravo” to the 240 Kauaians who testified against the proposed 550 unit developments that will pour more than 1000 cars into the already congested Kapaa/Wailua corridor as well as clog up beaches and parks. I was impressed with the clarity and strength of all the written testimony that our residents sent and emailed to the Planning Commission during the last week of August, 2006.

Although our voices are united, it seems that no one is listening, especially the Planning Commission. Despite the huge public outcry opposing the 2 proposed Waipouli resorts, Coconut Beach and Coconut Plantation, known as “Coconuts”, the Planning Commission approved the project on January 23. But don’t despair; it’s not over until it’s over. An unexpected situation has arisen.

First, I want to name names in relation to the scenario played out at the January 23rd meeting. “Mahalo” to the 3 Planning Commissioners: Weinstein, Hollinger, and Chaffin who voted against the two “Coconuts” projects. Weinstein said that he could not ignore the overwhelming public testimony opposing the projects and that it is simply “not the right timing (now).” Sadly, Aiu, Kato-Klutke, Nishimura and Daligdig, voted “yes” with condition that the plan be modified later by them in
the “design review process”. It seems odd that Sandy Kato-Klute voted “yes” after she stated that the projects are “very massive and it blows me away, like going to New York”. I am even more disappointed with Aiu’s “yes” vote since he and Hollinger are the 2 “environmental” representatives on the Planning Commission. But don’t give up on the commissioners—not yet.

Another Planning Commission meeting is scheduled on Tues. Feb 13. We can ask the commissioners for reconsideration or a re-vote on project approval based on the latest bold attempt of the developers to do away with the “design review process”. They are audaciously requesting that the commissioners modify or delete the “conditions of approval” and omit the “design review” by the Planning Commission. In other words, they want to keep the two “Coconuts” as massive projects and don’t want the Planning Commission messing around with their profits, opps – I mean plans. They want approval without size restrictions.

The $5.4 million offered by the developers to construct more roads is only a band-aide! There is more than traffic congestion at stake. The fact that the developers want to proceed unchecked with as high density as possible is reason enough for the commissioners to change their original vote of approval and totally deny both projects.

Request that they stop or substantially scale back these monster developments.
Please remember, resort zoning does not guarantee a building permit. Developers do not have entitlement to construct something that becomes a burden for residents. Here’s what we can do.

Ask the commissioners to reconsider their “YES” vote. Ask them to request a re-vote on the final approval for the “Coconuts” projects. Let them know that these resorts are totally inappropriate for Kauai at this time.Send in faxes, emails (too late for letters) with your address and phone # by Monday, Feb 12, to Mike Laureta for the Planning Commission.

fax: (808) 241-6699

Even better, bring letters to the Planning Commission meeting, beginning at 9am, Tues., February 13, room #2A-B at the opposite end of breezeway from Motor Vehicles in the county complex. Look for me (tall, orange shirt).

Bottom line: Demand that the commissioners listen to us. We are speaking loud and clear. “Deny the “Coconuts” projects.”

For more about this coastline see
Island Breath: Overdeveloped Coconut Coast
Island Breath: Bad Planning in Waipoli
Island Breath: Coco Palms breaks promise