POSTED: 22 April 2006 - 5:00pm

Keep Puolo Point Natural!

image of Puoilo Point entitled "Fire, Air, Earth & Water" by Arius Hopman

An open letter to the Mayor and Council

by Linda Pascatore on 22 April 2006

Recently the State offered to turn Puolo Point over to Kauai County. This property includes many acres of statelands in the area of Port Allen airfield. A regional park has been proposed. There has been talk of creating recreational facilities, playing fields for sports events, and even a drag strip at the new park. At a recent public meeting, citizens overwhelmingly voiced opposition to sport activities, vehicular access, commercial ventures, and development that would interfere with the traditional Salt Pans located at the site.

Puolo Point is one of the few remaining public sections of Kauai coastline that is in a natural state. There are natural wetlands at the park, scrub trees, and a beautiful rocky coastline. Water birds are plentiful, as well as owls. This park is a valuable scenic treasure that should be preserved and protected.

The park has also been the site of the Hanapepe Salt Pans, a place where Hawaiian sea salt has been collected since ancient times. The Hui Hana Pa’akau group, which takes care of the salt beds, has asked that they be involved in the planning for the proposed park. The Hanapepe Salt Pans have historic preserve land designation in the state of Hawaii.

Hawaiian sea salt and the salt making process has cultural and spiritual significant to Native Hawaiians and their kupuna. The Hui Hana Pa’aka group and many others have concerns about run-off which would be generated by paved surfaces, sports playing fields, vehicular traffic, dust from increased activity and septic fields. All of these activities could have a negative environmental impact on the salt pans. This valuable cultural resource and local food source should be protected.

Please do not allow paved surfaces, vehicular traffic, sports fields, or septic systems at Puolo Point. Hanapepe and Waimea already have parks with pavilions and playing fields. The Hanapepe facilities have tennis courts, night lighting, community centger, soccer fields, baseball fields, football field with bleachers etc. It is already a regional park. If we need more playing fields, surely we don’t have to put them on this site.
If this land is developed, we will lose something truly beautiful and unique; a natural coastal wetland with unique working salt pans.

I call on the Mayor and the Council to make Puolo Point a nature preserve and conservation district. Environmentally sensitive trails and educational signs for a self-guided nature walk would contribute to the natural beauty and educational and cultural value of this area. This area may also qualify as protected federal wetlands.

The Kauai Westside Watershed Council, under the direction of Rhoda Libre, has offered to to manage and maintain the site. This group should be involved in any plan for the area, and given some administrative power, along with the Hui Hana Pa’aka group.

Let’s keep Puolo Point and the Salt Pans as a natural, cultural and scenic treasure for the people of Kauai and our visitors.



Today the Council to Considers Puolo Point Park
Meeting at 1:30pm in the Old County Building on Rice Street

12 April 2006 - 10:30am

wetland to the south between Burns Field and ocean this on 7 March 2006

Message to Council: We Don't Need It!
by Juan Wilson on 12 April 2006

The State of Hawaii will be transfering land around Burns Field, in Hanapepe, near Puolo Point to the County of Kauai. For two years the Kauai County Mayor, Bryan Baptiste has been talking to people about the need for a regional park for the west side to be located in Hanapepe. Perhaps the mayor doesn't realize that we have such a park with tennis courts, a football stadoium with night lighting, baseball and soccer fields, a community center, picnic area, handicapped restrooms etc.

To date our Mayor has played his Puolo Point scheme pretty much to himself. The few hints at what his plans might include have landed with a thud. Most people I talk to would like things to continue as they are. Open land with no development. People use the area to walk, fish and camp and hang out. It is one of the few areas accessible to the public where there is no development.

If the county has a bunch of money to spend in the area it could upgrade the existing regional park in Hanapepe and perhaps dress up the area's other parks and playgrounds that could use a few dollars.

The county has ignored private operations at Burns Field that have been building structures without proper permits. Most of these businesses are extreme sports operators geared towards the tourists:. parachute jumping, ultra lite plane rides, helicopter tours etc.

If the county were serious about its permitting process they would not have allowed these recent developments unless they are part of (or central to) the proposed "Baptiste Aero-Park"



Is this part of the Mayor's "Master Plan"?

12 February 2006 - 9:30am

Inter-Island Helicopter hanger under construction at Burns Field, near Puolo Point

Editor's Note: The following letter was sent to Ian Costa, the Kauai Director of Planning, by the Kauai Group of the Hawaii Chapter of the Sierra Club because of his unresponsivenes to previous questions and correspondence regarding what appears to be the lack of proper permitting for the construction of a hanger at the Port Allen Airport (Burns Field ).

The hanger construction was started with a "Minor SMA" permit that bypasses the scrutiny required of projects of this scale that would normally include public hearings and review of impact on shoreline areas.

This letter was also sent to several key public representatives. None have responded. You can download a PDF copy of letter here. Also accompanying the letter was a detailed plan of related developments in the Puolo Point Area. You can download a PDF of this file by clicking on the image below. The PDF is 2.8 megabytes and can be plotted at 24"x35" of reduced to 45% to fit on tabloid format.



17 January 2006

Planning Director Ian Costa
Kauai Department of Planning
Lihue Civic Center, 4444 Rice Street, Lihue HI 96766

We are writing to express our concern with the construction of a new hangar facility at Burn’s Field, directly facing the ocean, on land leased by Inter-Island Helicopter, at 3441 Kuiloko Road, on TMK#4-1-8-8-5.
After several calls to your department we learned that the building is being built under a minor SMA Permit with an estimated value of $155,000. The building is on a new 6,000 sf concrete foundation and stands over two stories in height.

View looking SW at new hangar and “bus/office” of Sky Dive Kauai near Puolo Point

The Puolo Point area is designated for passive recreation and open space use in the Kauai General Plan. However, the area is developing as a tourist destination for recreational air flights, off-road motorized activities and extreme sports.
Because of the impact, scale, value and oceanfront location of this project, we wonder why the Kauai Planning Department considered this project for a minor SMA permit as opposed to a SMA major use permit.
The Garden Island News has reported that Inter-Island Helicopters is now a subcontractor for search and rescue as well as firefighting for the County of Kauai.

There is also some evidence that Inter-Island will be doing the same for the PMRF in the future. Private companies using these public lands to operate profitable businesses should not be immune from the requirements that businesses on private land are subject to. In fact, because of Inter-Island’s dealings with visitors to the island, it is important that a safe and aesthetically positive environment be maintained at Burn’s Field/Port Allen Airport.

View looking East towards the offices and yard of Inter-Island Helicopter

Using conservative guidelines, this hangar structure will be worth several times the estimated value. The hangar appears to be built flush on the lot line facing the ocean on the border of the County boundary of the Lele Road right-of-way which may have unanticipated implications in the future. The siting of the hangar has a significant impact on the natural views of the ocean and mountains. The area around the new hangar is a hodgepodge of permanently placed shipping containers, trailers and even vehicles being used for offices and storage operations. In addition, the site is scattered with equipment, tires and trash.

Given these circumstances, we believe here is reason that a careful plan for the development of the Port Allen Airport be conducted by the County through the SMA Permit process. The Kauai Planning Director should be leading the way.

We request that the Planning Department review the decision for a Minor Permit for this project and decide that a full evaluation of the impact be conducted. The operator of the facility should present an acceptable plan to the County that includes proper siting of buildings, parking, and landscaping improvements. Remedial efforts should be made on the site as required.

Enclosed with this letter is a site plan (P-1) we have developed for our review of this issue. Thank you for your consideration of this matter and we would appreciate a response in writing. Thank you for your attention to this matter.

Juan Wilson: architect - planner
Executive Committee Member
Sierra Club Kauai Group of the Hawaii Chapter

cc: Kauai Airport District Manager - Timothy Skinner
cc: DLNR Land Agent, Kauai Division - Thomas Oi
cc: Kauai Mayor - Bryan Baptiste
cc: Kauai Councilperson - JoAnn Yukimura
cc: Hawaii State Senator - Gary Hooser
cc: Hawaii State Legislator - Bertha Kawakami


see also
IslandBreath: Poulo Point 3
IslandBreath: Puolo Point 2
IslandBreath: Puolo Point 1