POSTED: 29 DECEMBER 2006 - 3:00pm HST

Pass the Big Box Bill

Walmart SuperCenter in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, blots out the tropical mountain landscape

by Charles Kawakami on 28 December 2006

As you may know, both Mayor Bryan Baptiste and the County Council have proposed bills that will limit the amount of floor space retailers or wholesalers may occupy in order to protect and preserve Kauai’s rural character and prevent adverse community impacts. These bills will eventually be integrated into one bill, which we are calling the “Big Box Bill.” I support the Big Box Bill, and I am asking that you do the same.

Please read the attached Pass the Big Box Bill information paper so that you understand why passing this bill is so important to all of us. Then, print and sign the attached support template letter (which you can customize or add to if you like). Fax your support letter to Derek Kawakami at (808) 335-5049 by January 5th 2007. Please also ask your family, friends, employees, and those you do business with to do the same.

If we work together, we can PASS THE BIG BOX BILL and assure a future in which we can all succeed and thrive, our community flourishes, and our special culture and lifestyle are preserved.

Pass the Big Box Bill: Information Paper

What is the Big Box Bill?

Both Mayor Bryan Baptiste and the County Council have proposed bills that limit the amount of floor space a retailer or wholesaler may occupy in order to protect and preserve Kauai's rural character and lifestyle and prevent adverse community impacts. These bills will eventually be integrated into one bill, which we are calling the "Big Box Bill."The Planning Commission will continue a public hearing to hear community feedback about the Big Box Bill on January 9th 2006 at 1:3pm in the Lihu'e Civic Center, Mo'ikeha Building, Meeting Room 2A-2B at 4444 Rice Street in Lihu'e.

The Big Box Bill will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and based on public feedback, they will send their recommendation to the Kaua'i County Council. The County Council will have a "first reading" of the bill, then hold a public hearing, and then have a "second reading" of the bill. After that, the County Council will vote on the bill. Our goal is to PASS THE BIG BOX BILL.

Who supports the Big Box Bill?
Many members of our community support the Big Box Bill from longtime residents, to new residents, visitors, environmentalists, and small business owners. This is a tremendous opportunity for all of us to unite for an important cause.

Reasons to support the Big Box Bill

1 ) We must preserve the beauty and rural lifestyle of our island for future generations to enjoy. If we lose it today, it will be gone forever. This is one of the most important decisions Kaua'i will make to preserve its unique island lifestyle.

2) We must address serious infrastructure issues like traffic, water, sewage, energy, and many others through good planning before Kaua'i can grow anymore. We must address these planning issues with a big picture, long-term approach, which is what the Big Box Bill does. Having the Planning Commission decide on major retail growth on a case-by-case basis is a piecemeal approach that doesn't bode well for long term planning and hasn't worked in other parts of our island, like the South Shore. Our children and grandchildren will have to live with the actions we take today.

3) Kauai's economic pie is limited. If one retailer takes too much of the pie, other existing stores will be forced to close, Allowing one retailer to take the whole pie does not increase our shopping choices, it reduces them.

4) The size limits in the Big Box Bill will still allow new retail establishments to come to Kaua'i and provide choices to consumers and competition to existing stores.

5) Local businesses are rooted here and have a long term stake in serving local consumers and our community. They have demonstrated this deep caring for our community for generations through volunteerism, charitable giving, and leadership. Local businesses are worth preserving.

6) Government has always regulated free enterprise. Free enterprise isn't free. Government levies taxes, controls use and building permits and a whole slew of regulations under those categories, and makes laws to make sure businesses do the right thing (e.g,, equal opportunity employment, discrimination, ADA laws, etc.). The important thing is for government officials to make regulations that are in the best interests of our island at this time in history.

How can I support the Big Box Bill?
Write a letter of support to the Planning Commission with a copy to the mayor.

Support letters can be faxed by January 5th to Derek Kawakami at (808) 335-5049 who will make copies for you and deliver them to the appropriate parties in time.

for more info contact:
Derek Kawakami

phone: (808) 639-3790
fax: (808) 335-5049

Pass the Big Box Bill: Samole Letter

January 5, 2007

Planning Commission
c/o Planning Department
County of Kaua`i
4444 Rice Street, Suite 473
Lihu`e, Kaua`i, Hawai`i 96766
RE: Support for the Big Box Bill

Dear Commissioners:

Please accept this letter in lieu of verbal testimony at your January 9, 2007 public hearing. This letter is to express my support for the Big Box Bill and the intent of the related bills being considered by the Planning Commission, which will limit the floor space of retail and wholesale stores.

Limiting the amount of floor space a retailer or wholesaler may occupy will protect and preserve Kauai’s rural character and lifestyle, and prevent a number of adverse community impacts. I urge you to recommend to the Kaua`i County Council that they Pass the Big Box Bill.

Mahalo for your time and attention.
____________________________ (Signature)
____________________________ (Printed Name)
____________________________ (Address)
____________________________ (Address)

cc: Mayor Bryan Baptiste, Kaua`i County Council


Kauai County Government:

Kauai County Mayor:
Bryan J. Baptiste
4444 Rice St, Suite 235
Lihue, HI 96766
Phone: (808) 241-6300
Fax: 808-241-6877

2006-2008 County Council

Kauai County Council Members:
Council Chair Bill “Kaipo” Asing
Council Vice Chair Mel Rapozo
Councilmember Jay Furfaro
Councilmember Shaylene Iseri-Carvalho
Councilmember Tim Bynum

Councilmember Ron Kouchi
Councilmember JoAnn A. Yukimura

Email all Kauai County Council members at:
mail all Kauai County Council members at:

Council Services

4396 Rice Street, Suite 206
Lihue, HI 96766
Phone: 808-241-6371
Fax : 808-241-6349
County Website:

For more on Big Box impact see:
Island Breath: Kauaifornia Big Box
Island Breath: Walmart - Always High Prices
Island Breath: Walmart Ditches Xmas
Island Breath: Kauaifornia Big Box
Island Breath: Big Box on Kauai
Island Breath: Big Box Impact Analysis

Island Breath: Mall-Warting America

Island Breath: Big Box Blues
Island Breath: Costco & Kauai Planning


For a group trying to stop Wal-Mart expansion check out



POSTED: 29 SEPTEMBER 2006 - 9:30pm HST

Passaic, New Jersey, Big Box plaza in what was suburbs a generation ago (from GoogleEarth)

The Future: Small, Local Businesses
by Linda Pascatore on 29 October 2006

Although the action comes a little late, I support the legislation limiting big box stores on Kauai. We already have too many retail giants to support the population of this island; K-Mart, Walmart, Home Depot, Cost-U-Less, and Costco.

These stores are built on a couple of assumptions. One is that the population of Kauai will continue to grow and that their consumer purchases will keep pace. Home Depot is betting on many more new homes being built, and Costco is designed to serve a bigger population than Kauai currently has.

The operators of the Big Box Stores also assume that plenty of affordable oil will be available to import the cheapest goods from all over the world. With world oil production reaching a peak, and demand steadily increasing, this will not be the case going forward. Importing these goods and distributing them across the Pacific to Kauai will no longer be cost effective, and the big box stores will close.

However, if they first have driven smaller local retailers out of business, then we will be left in the lurch. Just look at the sad state of affairs in what were once full service towns on our island. Almost every town had a movie theater and a place to buy food or clothes.

Commack, New York, Costco plaza in what was farmland a generation ago (from GoogleEarth)

Another assumption by Big Box operators is that people anywhere on Kauai will drive to one central location to shop. This is adding to the horrible traffic problems we are already experiencing. Instead of concentrating all the shopping in Puhi and Lihue, we should be decentralizing goods and services to local communities. This will save time, traffic congestion, and gas costs.

There is a growing consensus that our island has reached “carrying capacity.” That is the limit of population that we can independently support with a decent quality of life. Beyond this point it will be less pleasant and comfortable to live here. Traffic, crime, poverty and drug addiction will intensify.

Any more growth means that we will lose the potential to feed ourselves; that our roads, beaches will be unbearably crowded; and that our infrastructure and public services will deteriorate as time goes on.

Costco and Home Depot have bet the farm on continued suburban growth and ever increasing consumption. We do not have to go down with them when the housing boom hollows out and people are not buying 56" plasma TV's and cases of Cheetos.

So, we should definitely move to limit Big Box Stores. New stores should not be over 25,000 square feet and should be located in existing commercial plazas or town centers.

We should also limit increasing consumerism and dependence on the mainland. We should be developing local food production and a variety of necessary products that are manufactured here. We need efficient public transportation systems, decentralized retail stores and government services, and renewable energy sources. We should be focused on building a Sustainable Kauai for our future and that of our children.