POSTED: 9 August 2006 - 7:00pm HST

Koloa Village Plaza stalled

natural setting of northeast corner of Koloa and Maluhia Road would be replaced with plaza

Planning commission rejects Koloa complex

by Lester Chang on 9 August 2006 in The Garden Island
The majority of the Kaua‘i County Planning Commission yesterday rejected Historic Koloa Village’s request to reconsider an earlier decision regarding its permit request to build a shopping center, offices and 31 multi-family homes on 12 acres off Koloa Road.

The commission rejected the Koloa complex by a 4-3 vote at a meeting at the Lihu‘e Civic Center, meaning Koloa Village must wait a year to reapply for a permit.

Represented by land-use expert Gregg Kamm, developers said their project will enhance surrounding businesses and properties.

But critics like Koloa resident Tessie Kinneman said the developers in South Kaua‘i should put in road and traffic improvements to ease long-standing congestion before they build their resorts.

“I think (residents) would feel more comfortable in that regard,” Kinneman said.
Residents also want to see the completion of an intermodal traffic mitigation plan undertaken by Charlier Associates, a nationally renowned traffic specialist based in Boulder, Colorado.

South Kaua‘i developers have put up $360,000 for Charlier Associates to produce a plan to alleviate traffic congestion in Koloa and Po‘ipu. Chief executive Jim Charlier said work on the plan is on schedule and the study should be completed by the end of the year, along with another study identifying traffic-improvement projects and costs to be borne by developers and state and county governments.
Planning commissioner Ted Daligdig III, other commissioners and audience members praised Charlier for the work that has been done so far.

But Daligdig, in voting against reconsidering the project, said he didn’t think a decision by Historic Koloa Village to withdraw its share of funding for the traffic plan, if it occurs, would negatively affect it.

“The impact on the transportation plan is minimal,” he said.

Daligdig and the three other commissioners who rejected Historic Koloa Village’s appeal of an earlier decision to deny the permit requests said the developer earlier refused to give more time to the commission and the county attorney’s office to study some draft permit conditions.

Officials said Historic Koloa representatives had agreed to pay their fair share of the improvements — to be identified by the second Charlier plan — and its share in the cost of the improvements.

However, the county attorney’s office wanted to review language in the draft document to ensure conditions could be legally enforced, officials said.

Commissioner Larry Chaffin said he initially voted against issuing the permits as well, but changed his mind yesterday when Charlier declared a key intent behind his plan was to phase in traffic improvements alongside the resort structures.

“I want to see timing and phasing,” Chaffin said.

But Kaua‘i resident Ken Taylor said the commission shouldn’t go back on its first decision.

“The applicant wasn’t prepared to accept the staff report, and the developer didn’t agree,” he said. “I think that (the current decision) should stand.”

Taylor also criticized some commissioners for giving more weight to the Koloa Neighborhood Association, which has 200 members and favors the project, than to a handful of critics who want the commission to stand by its earlier decision.

Daligdig said he wants to be fair in hearing concerns from both sides, but numbers seem to indicate the community favors the development.

Barbara Elmore, another critic, said Koloa and Po‘ipu are “already good communities,” and more development will not improve the areas, even if it’s accompanied by more roads.

Ni‘ihau by helicopter
In other commission matters, Keith Robinson, whose family owns the island of Ni‘ihau, won approval from the body to develop a botanical garden showcasing Hawai‘i’s rarest plants and a helicopter rest stop on 10 acres on mauka lands in West Kaua‘i.

The project will be the only one of its kind in Hawai‘i, Robinson said before the commission granted his request for a use permit, a special permit and a Class IV zoning permit.

The approval of the permits will allow Safari Helicopters to make 10 daytime helicopter landings each day at the site, said Preston Myers, who heads the company.

“This is good,” Robinson said after the meeting. “As to when we start, we will be looking into the logistics of that.”

He started a similar plan 20 years ago on family-owned lands in West Kaua‘i, but that project fell to the wayside because he wasn’t able to gain support for helicopter stops there.

Robinson said he will use landing fees collected from Safari Helicopters to stabilize the soil on five acres, put up fencing and grow rare plants to be fed by water from the Olokele Ditch.

Though Robinson had wanted approval for 15 daily flights — roughly 10 tour groups staying 10 to 20 minutes each and possibly five horticulture tours staying 60 to 90 minutes each — the commission felt the shorter trips were more appropriate at this time and approved 10 flights per day of 10 to 20 minutes each.
In the end, Robinson generally agreed with key permit conditions proposed by the Kaua‘i Planning Department and some amended by the planning commission, including a ban on smoking at the project site and, unless in an emergency, a ban on alcohol and nonprescription drugs at the site.

Robinson must also do his best to significantly reduce soil erosion on half the parcel, and county planning staffers checking progress photographs and making periodic inspections of the site.

The proposal triggered support from Kaua‘i residents Dennis Wasano and Nani Rogers.

“I know he will take care of the land,” Wasano said in a statement county planner Michael Laureta read to the commission. “Keith is a honorable person who thinks beyond himself.”

Wasano said Robinson has more knowledge about the streams, mountains and vegetation than any other person on Kaua‘i.

“I think it is a project that is well worth doing,” he said.

While some may be concerned with the integrity of any Hawaiian or historical artifacts that may be found on the 10-acre parcel, Laureta said there aren’t any.
Furthermore, public access is limited to the refuge because the only road in is privately owned.



Large plaza coming to Old Koloa Town
1 August 2006 - 3:30pm

plan view of Koloa Marketplace from tracing of sketch plan over GoogleEarth aerial image

It doesn't look like trees will be saved
by Juan Wilson on 1 August 2006

If you have comments about the development of the Koloa Marketplace in Old Koloa Town, now is the time to express them. Please email comments to Lew Abrams, the President of the Koloa Neighborhood Association. His email address is no later than Thursday, 3:00pm on 3 August 2006.

The image above represents the layout of the proposed Koloa Marketplace superimposed over an aerial photograph. Koloa Road runs east-west along the bottom of the image. Maluhia Road runs north-south on the left side.

The white outline represents the property line of the proposed Koloa Marketplace. The orange line represents the paved area of parking on the site. The yellow lines are the individual parking stalls. The red polygons are he proposed buildings. The light green rectangles are what appears to be areas in the parking lot where trees might be. The dark green circles are actual locations of significant trees on the site.

Diagonally across the site is a line of trees that appear to be slated for replacement by two large buildings and the center of the parking lot.The exact placement is difficult to ascertain from the plan sketch provided. I do think that the information at hand illustrates that the bulk of the line trees that begin at the corner of corner of Koloa Road and Maluhia Road and stretch to the northeast across the site of the Koloa Marketplace will be lost in a sea of asphalt and buildings.

More careful (and less greedy) planning may have saved the bulk of these trees. A more detailed and accurate plan for saving the existing trees and providing alternative landscaping should be provided before this project is green lighted.

If necessary, less parking and building structure should be considered, if necessary, to save the historic trees on this site.

Below is a letter from an architect, Spencer Leineweber FAlA, of the Heritage Center at UH, who was hired by the neighborhood association. It is clear from his letter that the trees on the site are crucial to maintaining the historic feel of Koloa Town. He writes...

"It was unclear to me how many of the trees were being moved or remaining in their original locations. It is difficult if not impossible to move a tree larger than 8" caliper. so every effort should be made not to move trees but to retain them in their original locations and to protect them during construction. These trees are an essential character of Koloa and should be retained in place. A certified arborist should be engaged by the developer to assure that the trees are not destroyed by good intentions."

It is clear the Koloa Neighborhood Association should follow the adive of its consultant. Get an arborist and demand a detailed plan to save the large trees on site.

Below is a complete version of the letter that was faxed to the Kauai Planning Commission. The fax was scanned and translated by an OCR program.


13 June 2006

Honorable Randall Nishimura
And Planning Commission Members
4444 Rice Street Lihue,Hawaii, 96766

Dear Chairman and Planning Commission members,

This letter is in reference to Project Development Use Permit P.D. U-2006.17 and Class IV Zoning Permit Z-IV-2006-22 = Koloa Marketplace, LLC. (To allow the development of a 76.000 s.f. retail shopping and office complex and the relocation of the Koloa Post Office, Koloa.)

The Koloa Community Association contracted me with regard to the design character of several new projects in Koloa and asked whether I could review the projects and give them professional design advise concerning the integration of these projects better into the historic character of Koloa. I met with Steve Au the architect for the "Shops at Koloa Town" to review his drawings for the proposed development.

The drawings are schematic in nature. and I reviewed primarily freehand elevation and three dimensional sketches; one can understand the overall form and design from these drawings, There are design elements that support the overall character of Koloa and several design issues that require additional study and refinement.

The overall design incorporates buildings that are wood frame and single story along Koloa Road and Maluhia Road. While the buildings are monolithic they are broken up into smaller scale elements to appear as independent buildings. There is a variety also to the street setback that reinforces this feeling. Shops appear to have large wood framed storefronts in the character of Koloa. The one two storey building it is set within the parking lot substantially back from the road. This scale also appears to be appropriate to Koloa.

The drawings I reviewed showed preservation of the large trees on the site. It was unclear to me how many of the trees were being moved or remaining in their original locations. It is difficult if not impossible to move a tree larger than 8" caliper. so every effort should be made not to move trees but to retain them in their original locations and to protect them during construction. These trees are an essential character of Koloa and should be retained in place. A certified arborist should be engaged by the developer to assure that the trees are not destroyed by good intentions.

It appears that some trees were added to a medial strip in the middle of Koloa Road which will substantially change the country road feeling that is currently there. The medial idea is a “new town" solution when we have a "'historic town" quality.

Parking which is currently shown parallel along Koloa Road, should be angled as it is across the street. Initially the parking across the street was required to be parallel by the County but people parked at an angle anyway; it needed to be re-striped to avoid complete parking chaos.

It appears that a portion of the site is within a flood zone and requires a floor height substantially above the grade of the street. Careful attention must be given to not have the buildings "”loom” over the pedestrian. The change in grade needs to carefully grouped with gradual terraces rather than long high steps. The under portions of the buildings and parking structure should not be exposed to the long view as cars approach Koloa from Maluhia Road. In the drawings that I reviewed you would be looking up the "underwear" of the buildings as you approach Koloa.
The plan has generous landscaping which is laudable, but it should reinforce the character of Koloa. In the drawings, there was a geometric and modem pool and walls at the corner of Maluhia and Koloa Roads which is inappropriate to the character of the community. Two large gateways at each road entry to the parking lot also seem to be a modem intrusion that is unnecessary.

I urge you to appreciate the concerns of the community and require adjustments to the design documents. Thank you for this consideration.
Sincerely yours,

Spencer Leineweber FAlA
Director, Heritage Center
School of Architecture
University of Hawaii at Manoa


Below is a detail of the "large" cross section sketch provided Spencer Leinweber. It shows the level of detail the architect is providing for evaluation and review. In my professional opinion, the architect has much more detailed dragwings generated by computer at this stage of the project for cost estimates and code requirements.

Even at this level of detail it is clear that the Koloa marketplace will "loom" over the sidewalk with a high lava wall against the side walk.


see also:
IslandBreath: Koloa Moratorium