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Plan to rezone 300 acres of Waimea ranch land discussed

May 15, 2017 - 3:26pm

Correction: An earlier version of this story indicated that the land on which the WTC project is to be situated still needed to be rezoned for residential and commercial development. That land has already been rezoned to support such development. It is the policy of WHT to correct any incorrect information as soon as it is brought to the attention of the paper.

WAIMEA — The Waimea Town Center development plan and a land exchange between Parker Ranch and the Hawaii Department of Education were central topics at a South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee meeting held in Waimea last week.

The Waimea Town Center project (WTC), which grew out of Richard Smart’s Parker Ranch 2020 plan, will be developed on 300 acres of ranch land already rezoned for residential and commercial use. Eventually, the land will be sold to developers who will determine its future.

When the original plan was birthed in 1987, there was no requirement for an environmental assessment. Bill Moore — president of William L. Moore Planning Inc., who told attendees of the meeting last Tuesday that the EA process remains in its early phases — said requirements have since changed.

“There was no need to do it,” Moore said. “Since that time, we’ve partially developed the town center area, but the laws have changed and plans have changed. To finish it, we need to do this EA to allow certain key infrastructure.”

Infrastructure yet needed includes a new sewer line necessary for future development of the parcel, as well as the extension of Lindsey Road from the post office to Ala Ohia Road, formerly known as the Parker Ranch Connector Road. Ala Ohia Road will also be extended to link up with Mamalahoa Highway.

The land exchange between Parker Ranch and the DOE is connected to future work on the WTC project by the development of Lindsey Road.

Parker Ranch President and CEO Neil “Dutch” Kuyper wrote in a handout distributed at the meeting that giving the DOE nearly 5.5 acres of ranch land in exchange for 0.78 acres of state land will aid in the project’s proposed redesign of the road by “removing the curve that is present in the existing design.”

He added a utility easement, which will allow for easier access to the development and allow for the necessary hook up with the sewer system, can be created through the smaller parcel Parker Ranch will get returned in the deal.

The larger parcel of land the DOE is set to receive will allow for the expansion of school campuses on the current site or likely add increased value in the event Waimea schools ever decide to sell their property and relocate.

Kuyper said the DOE has not yet completed the master planning for the site.

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