POSTED: 18 April 2004 - 8:30am HST

The Broken Promises of Kukui`ula

Kukui`ula site shown above luxury vaccation rental properties on Lawai Road

Kukui‘ula promises

by Jack Lundgren, Kapaa
An editorial viewpoint published in the Garden Island News 4/18/2004

When A&B Properties originally presented their plans for development at Kukuí‘ula, they represented to the Council and the people of Kaua‘i that they would provide reasonable housing opportunities. They promised to sell lots "to start at $60,000," and house and lot packages for full time residents at "ìbetween $140,000 to $240,000 for homes constructed on 6,000 to 8,000 square-foot lots."

That was in 1989, during the General Plan approval process. Prices could be expected to be higher, perhaps even double those promises in today's dollars.

A&B has been known as a local Hawai‘i corporation, concerned with the welfare of the people of the islands. Their participation in the United Way, and sponsorship of Hawaii Public Radio and PBS Hawaii are evidence of this.

Now DMB Associates, a big-time developer from Arizona, has taken the lead on the Kukui‘ula project. DMB is noted for creating large, private, gated, exclusive, and expensive projects on the Mainland.

Here's what they are now proposing, as quoted in their petition for a zoning amendment: Lots (lot only!) "anticipated to start around $975,000."

• Single-family residences will be offered for an estimated price of $1.3 million.
• Upper end lots with ocean views ranging in price from $1.75 to $3 million.
• Duplex & triplex units will be offered with prices between $1.9 and $2.3 million.

Wow! Will local residents be able to afford these prices? Will employees of the resort be able to live there? Of course not! This project is being marketed to wealthy mainlanders for second homes and vacation rentals. DMB is requesting visitor destination area (VDA) designation for the entire 1,000 acre project. It is not likely that long-term rentals will be available for local residents.

This is where the County Council and the Administration can actually stand up and address the critical need for housing. In fact, it's their responsibility to do so. The Supreme Court has declared that it is the right of local communities to plan their growth and zone land, as long as reasonable use of that land is not precluded.

The Council should amend the petition to require that the 320 acres of Kukui‘ula land that was originally promised to be available for sale to local residents remains intact. If they fail in this, Kaua‘i will be a big loser to the wealth and power of the developers who stand to make millions while ignoring their promises to the people.

Same Old, Same Old

A Walled In Loser: Wailea 670
The following is a letter as it was published in the Novenber 11th, 2000 issue of the Maui News regarding a 670 acre gated community proposed for Wailea, nicknamed "Wailea 670". Almost four years later and on another island, it seems like nothing changes, except for the pricetag. Note that Kukui`ula is over twice as big as Wailea 670.



Dear Maui News Editor;

I attended the recent Planning Commission public hearing on the Wailea 670 Project. The 1400 housing units on the proposed site will require water, public road widening, and other costs that Maui County, and particularly Kihei, cannot afford.

The developer admitted this project would be unfeasible unless the homes were built on a private golf course in a walled community. The formerly promised kama'ina green fee reduction and public ballpark are removed from the project. You can guess why.

Let these rich people live with us or not come at all. The Planning Commission should insist the original recreation opportunities be in the project.

I live in a private subdivision. Like others,we have common areas, speed bumps and rules about trash... But we don't have gates. We have kids on bikes and scooters... But we don't turn them away at a guard house.

Gated communities are a measure of the failure, not success of our communities. They separate the rich from everyone else. Gated communities say to us "We don't want you here!"

This project gives little and takes much. There is no attempt at mixed housing or energy conservation here. Wailea 670 is for rich people who don't care about the cost of living.

Well, if price is no object, let's solve some problems. Besides their fair share for necessary public improvements, this project should fund park improvements, and beach restoration.

If they contribute enough, the well-to-do of Wailea 670 might be welcome to join us at the public beach parks on future sunny days.

Juan Wilson







Last Chance to Stop the Titanic Sailing

29 Jan 2004 - 10:00pm

Aerial view of Kukui'Ula Harbor and A&B property with Poipu beyond

A&B's Kukui'Ula development plan gains approval
The Kaua'i County Planning Commission approved Tuesday Kukui'Ula Development Co. Hawai'i's proposal for a 1002-acre project at Kukui'ula -- the largest residential and resort project ever proposed in South Kaua'i. (The Garden Island News 1/29/04)

The County Council will be advised by the Planning Commission to go ahead with Poipu area plan that will add to traffic and beachside crowding. The Council has yet to vote. Get in touch with the Council to let them know your opinion. Email all the council members at . There's not much time left and little resistance.

This plan will weigh heavily on the overburdened public recreational facilities on the souh side. It won't give back to the community as much as it takes. There are no bike paths, walks or other public facilities along the shore beyond spouting horn. Local residents asked for a means to see the spectacular views west into Lawaikai. The only area labled "Open Space" is a narrow band along the middle of the southern edge (shown in light green). This "Open Space " should not be confused with recreational space for the public. The area un question is a depressed swale (a ditch) for overflow storm water. This plan will be 1500 units of timeshares, resort hotel rooms and second homes for rich people on 1000 acreas of private golf course. These kinds of controlled gated communities of strangers are the antithesis of the Aloha Spirit.

Today's Garden Island article is worth reviewing.

Master Plan of Kukuiula Development gives clue to future

29 January 2004 By LESTER CHANG - TGI Staff Writer
At its meeting at the Lihu'e Civic Center, the commission also approved a request by the developer to expand the project's Visitor Destination Area (VDA) designation for the project from 160 acres to all 1,002 acres.

The designation would allow timeshare and vacation-rental activity across the entire project, although timeshare projects are now limited to 106 acres within the "core areas" of the resort under the developers' current master plan.

Some residents voiced concerns the granting of the VDA designation could bring even more visitors to the project site, lessening the sense of community in surrounding areas.

The commission unanimously approved amendments to zoning designations for the 1,002 acres from resort, open, commercial, agricultural, special treatment districts to residential, resort, open, commercial and special treatment districts.
On the request to expand the VDA designation to the entire project, the commission approved it by a 4-1 vote. The dissenting vote came from Commissioner Lawrence Chaffin Jr., who said timeshare units and vacation rentals should not be allowed in residential areas.

The commission's decision is advisory in nature, as the two zoning proposals by Kukui'Ula Development will now go before the Kaua'i County Council.

Favorable action would result in the culmination of nearly two decades of work by land-owner Alexander & Baldwin Inc. to develop a resort and residential project on the land.

Partly to generate more funds for the project, the kama'aina company and DMB Associates Inc. of Scottsdale Ariz., formed partnership subsidiaries in recent years to carry out the current proposal.

The developers are proposing to develop a maximum of 1,500 units, mostly single-family dwellings, plus a 64-room hotel, an 18-hole golf course, recreational facilities, 26 acres for commercial uses, including retail shops and restaurants, parks, and open spaces and a sewage treatment plant.

The developers also would provide land for two school sites and 60 affordable housing units near Po'ipu Road.

The two zoning-amendment requests approved by the commission are modifications to conditions in an existing ordinance that were approved for A&B's original project in the past, Keith Nitta, a senior planner with the county Planning Department, wrote in a 60-page report to the Planning Commission.

Nitta said these were some of the major changes in the new project: there has been a 50-percent reduction in density, from 3,400 housing units to 1,500 units; most of the multi-family zoning was replaced by single-family zoning; the number of hotel rooms was reduced by 200 to about 64 units; the density of the resort core area has been reduced from 700 units to 187 units; a "wetland feature" is being removed from the resort core, and the resort core is being moved farther away from Lawa'i Road; a 20-acre community park is replacing smaller "pocket parks," and the VDA designation is being increased from 160 acres to 1,002 acres.

During previous commission meetings and those with representatives for the developers, residents voiced support for the project. But they have emphasized their concerns about traffic impact from the project, including vehicular flow to Lawa'i Road. The developers will be building interior roads in the project, have proposed the completion of a western bypass road to route traffic away from Koloa town, and are negotiating with adjacent landowners for a northern leg to enable the western bypass to connect with Maluhia Road, a county report said.

Staff Writer Lester Chang may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 225) or




Kauai Planning is Creating Impoverished Public Amenities

18 Jan 2004 - 12:00pm

Not Kauai, but an example of urban planning in Florida

The County of Kauai is in the driver’s seat when it comes to compelling developers to provide public amenities when approving proposed projects. Instead of making new or improved public facilities a condition for approval of these projects, our public officials are limiting and reducing benefits to the public while making millions of dollars for developers.

The reduction of public access to beaches and mountains, the reduction of agricultural land to speculative high priced subdivisions, and the overburdening of our highways and county parks are largely the failure of our county Planning Commission to deny permits or extract benefit to the public in trade for approval of these projects.

The intention of the State’s Special Management Area legislation is to guide the counties in protecting the coastal environment and improving the public use of the shoreline. Our Planning Commission has largely ignored the SMA regulations and other devices to improve the quality of our lives on Kauai and instead seems bent on approving any project that is proposed.

One example is the proposed Kukui`ula Development proposed on 1000+ acres in Poipu. The master plan for the project, presented to the Planning Commission on January 13th, shows what is in effect a gated community that will be a nothing more than a parasite to the surrounding Koloa and Poipu area communities.

Kukui`ula will have a resort hotel, upscale shops, million dollar lots and a golf course, but provides nothing but a flood retention ditch along Lawai Road as “open space”. There are no public bike or walking paths along its perimeter to Lawai Bay. There are no new picnic areas or pavilions and no new public restrooms or parking areas on A&B land near Kukui`ula Harbor. Quite the opposite. Kukui`ula will be a simply a burden on existing public facilities and infrastructure.

Originally the Kukui`ula Resort development was conditional on the property owner (A&B) providing a southern bypass road to ease traffic. Instead, the Planning Commission is considering giving this project a commercial zoning change that includes a site wide expansion of the Visitor’s Destination Area designation. What will the public get? Bumper to bumper traffic on their way Poipu Beach Park and nowhere to put a towel when they get there.

The promise of more jobs through development is a false one. If we have to build a few 1000 acre Kukui`ula Resorts every year to provide jobs you won’t want to live on Kauai in ten years. Greed is bad! Let’s use the existing laws to extract from developers as much good for the pubic as possible. If they don’t want to contribute to preserving the joy of living on Kauai let them go elsewhere.



Kukui'Ula Project will have Negative Impact on Southside

13 Jan 2004 - 9:30am

Kukui'ula Harbor asseen today before 3000 new residents begin looking for elbow room at the beach

This will be my tesimony at the Public Hearing in Lihue today at the Civic Center at 1:30pm. It is short in part because the County only permits three minutes of tesimony at public hearings these days. Some issues are so complex that they cannot even be explained in three minutes. Help the Southside. Attend this meeting!

To the Planning Commission:

The January 13th Planning Commission Public Hearing looked at the 1000+ acre development in Poipu, to be called Kukui`Ula Resort, and seemed to embrace it without a wimper by the public. It would seem nobody cares about traffic jams and orvercrowded beaches on the Southside as long as they can get a job cleaning up after rich people?

The County should deny the request by Kukui’ula Development Co. for a 1000 acre expansion of a “Visitor Destination Area” and a change in the zoning to include commercial usage on the A&B property in Poipu. The County should not be intimidated or seduced into approving this project by the KDC’s offer to build only 1500 units where they think 3400 units are allowable.The County should heed the requirements of the Coastal Zone Management Act that was adopted by the State and counties. In part the CZM requires the county...

“To protect, preserve, and where desirable, restore or improve the quality of coastal scenic and open space resources. “ and

"To insure that ... private facilities and improvements... such as ... visitor facilities, are located, designed, and constructed to minimize adverse impacts in the coastal zone area.”

The CZM requires that the County use a permit system within a well defined Special Management Area. The County is required to use the SMA permit restrictions to evaluate the Kukui`Ula Development. The SMA regulations may deny a permit if a proposed project has a negative environmental effect by ...

A) Substantially affecting the economic or social welfare and activities of the community.

B) Involving substantial secondary impacts, such as population changes and increased effects on public facilities, streets, drainage, sewage and water systems.

C) In itself having no significant adverse effect but cumulatively having considerable effect upon the environment.
This Kukui`Ula Project will have a profound and negative impact on public recreational facilities of the South Side. The only well developed park on the south shore, Poipu Beach Park, is already overburdened. Just imagine another 3000 beachgoers between Brenneke’s Beach and Lawai Beach looking for a place to park and lay down a towel.

The Kukui’Ula Project will also have a negative impact on auto traffic from Poipu up through Koloa Town and on through the Tree Tunnel to the County Highway. It is likely that the project will generate thousands of trips a day, soon requiring a traffic light at the intersection of Maluhia Road and the Kaumaulii Highway. Won’t that be fun for everyone west of Puhi.

For the good of Kauai, the County should use the regulatory means at its disposal to stop this project. If A&B wants to make money on their agricultural land, why don’t they grow bio-diesel corn and help wean us from expensive middle east oil? Why should the people of Kauai suffer to help make some rich people richer?

Juan Wilson, Hanapepe


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