POSTED: 31 DECEMBER 2007 - 3:30pm HST

Something is funny about tree removal plan

image above: a recent GoogleEarth aerial view of Koloa Marketplace site with existing tree survey superimposed

Developers survey does not match reality
by Juan Wilson on 31 December 2007

On December 29th I received a copy of the Koloa Marketplace siteplan that was provided by the developer and is dated 12/28/08. This plan of the site includes the tree survey, tree removal and tree replanting scheme the developer now proposes. See image below. This plan show monkeypod trees in three states.

1) existing trees to remain in black with an "o" (open circle) at the center

2) trees to be removed in red with a an "x" at the center

3)  trees to be relocated in black with a "dot" (solid) at the center

Graphically this is a misleading because a quick glance gives the impression that there are a few "red" trees to be removed and lots of "black" trees to be left untouched. In fact of the original trees only about a third will remain. About twenty five large trees are to be destroyed and about 14 saved.

The mayor Baptiste's assurances can be summed up as blather. The vast majority of the existing monkeypod trees are too large, and too old, to be successfully relocated anywhere. Pulling them from the ground will be a death sentence. Any trees planted in new locations will be much smaller than those they replace and a mere shadow of the specimen trees existing on the site. The mayor will not be alive when whatever the developer plans could equal what is there today.

Besides the misdirection the plan accomplishes there is something else that bothers me more. I took the plan and scanned it into my computer. I scaled it and laid it over a recent (2007) GoogleEarth aerial photograph of the site. I traced the existing trees from the plan over the GoogleEarth map (represented by green circles in the plan above.

Note that the aerial photograph shows a much greater canopy of existing trees than the developer's survey. I think it represents an undercount of the existing trees. This implies to me that the survey does not fairly represent the amount of destruction planned by the development of the site. Observe the tiny representation of tree canopy in front of the existing Post Office (lower right corner of the site). Check also the under representation of trees on the lower-middle left side of the site. If my observations are correct, and if this is an intentional misrepresentation I would not take the developer at his word on anything. I would say there is fraud involved.


An Alternative Parking Plan
I recommend that the County of Kauai inform the developer that it will allow a variance on parking requirements for the Koloa Marketplace project. The variance would allow for fewer cars parking spaces than are required by current zoning regulations. The purpose of the variance would be to reduce by at least 75% the number of trees to be destroyed. The rationale for the parking reduction would be the implementation of the recently completed traffic survey and master plan. That plan recommends mass transit and multi-modal transportation. Certainly, a suburban plaza is not what Koloa needs. A vital small urban downtown oriented to pedestrian tourists and local residents would be a better plan.

Image above is taken in the parking lot of Ace Hardware in Eleele, Kauai. It does not take a whole lot of effort or resources to save a tree, if you assign them some value. The spot in the photo is where I always park if I can when I go to Ace. It's next to the door and protects me and my truck from rain and sun.

It is becoming obvious that the Knudsen Trust and their development partners don't value living trees as much as blacktop.

People from the Knudsen estate & developer:

The owner is:
Eric Knudsen
PO BOx 415
Verdi NV 89439

The developer is:
David Nelson
Nelson Development
6960 Orchid Lake Rd suite 200
West Bloomfield MI 48322

We CAN save Koloa's monkeypods
by John Patt on 31 December 2007

Aloha Kakou and Haouli Makahiki Hou!
The Knudsen Estate and Nelson Companies have their permits only because the county Planning Dept was late in filing its objections. Planning rejected the entire project. It will be built on a flood plain, and has no regard for Koloa's historic status or preservation of the monkeypods. But Stacey Wong and the Knudsen Estate threatened to sue the county for $6,500,000.00 for violation of their civil rights, and the intimidated county attorney capitulated. David Nelson needs to know that the only reason he has his permits is through "blackmail" and intimidation. He needs to know that the community knows this.

We desperately need your kokua to save Koloa's historic monkeypod grove. We want the developer to know that his plans, as stands, are unacceptable to the community, that Nelson Companies, and the Knudsen Estate are regarded not as big neighbors, but as big bullies who have forced their ill conceived plans onto our little historic town.

Please, please, e-mail David Nelson, and re-enforce the notion of widespread opposition to his project. And remind him that his potential customers (especially tourists) are writing checks to oppose his project. Tell him that he will be labeled a Bad Neighbor Business, and a Bully Business for his blatant disregard of the community.

Send at least a cc, if not a separate e-mail to Susie Wojtowicz, the lease administrator at Nelson Co, Tell her to come to the island with aloha, not chain saws, or don't come at all!!!
Please, please pass this on to friends on island, and especially to friends and family who visit Kaua'i.

Also, please get on KKCR and any other radio (TV) station and ask people to barrage Mr Nelson and Ms Wojtowicz (808-639-6689) with e-mails and phone calls so he gets the idea of how much he's opposed. Please do this asap.
Mahalo no kona hana

see also:
Island Breath: Candlelight Vigil for trees 12/29/07
Island Breath: Monkeypod S.O.S. 12/27/07
Island Breath: Monkeypod Threes Threatened 12/18/07
Island Breath: Koloa Village Plaza Plan 8/9/06
Island Breath: Koloa-Poipu Moratorium 7/23/06