Despite traffic concerns, Waikoloa shopping center gets nod


Planning Commissioners gave positive recommendations to a land use designation change and a zoning change for a Waikoloa commercial development.

Commissioners, during a lengthy hearing Thursday at the West Hawaii Civic Center, also gave approval to a five-year time extension for another Waikoloa developer to get final subdivision approval for a nearby project.

All three positive votes came over objections from several Waikoloa residents.

Robert Green criticized Hawaiian Riverbend LLC’s applications for a land use boundary amendment change from agricultural to urban for a 14.6-acre parcel and a county zoning change from 5 acre agricultural to Village Commercial-20,000 feet, for the potential traffic impacts the shopping center will create. A street just up the road from the shopping center wasn’t listed on Hawaiian Riverbend’s application, Green said. Nor was Waikoloa’s busiest intersection, he said.

“If you make a decision with the information you have now, it will come back and bite you,” Green said.

Another major issue, for the testifiers, some commissioners and Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, was the roundabout Hawaiian Riverbend and another developer, Waikoloa Mauka LLC, are required to build at the intersection of Waikoloa Road and Paniolo Avenue.

“There is a segment of the population here that is in love with roundabouts,” Leithead Todd said. “I agree with a lot of what you have said. But (the roundabout) is in the plans (approved by the County Council). It’s what a lot of people in the community said they wanted.”

Testifiers also questioned a second portion of Hawaiian Riverbend’s plan, to locate a park on a roughly 10-acre parcel at the top of the property. Planning consultant Sidney Fuke said Hawaiian Riverbend has a pending subdivision request before the planning department to create the 10-acre park site, 14.6-acre shopping center site and a third site, of about 5 acres, for which the developer was not making any requests.

Fuke said community members, including outgoing Kohala Councilman Pete Hoffmann, had signed off on the park’s location during a public meeting in July 2011. The park site, which will be deeded to Hawaii County in the future, is to meet Waikoloa Mauka’s fair share requirements, Fuke said.

That development is a large housing development planned off Waikoloa Road. Commissioners agreed to give the developer another five years to obtain final subdivision approval. The developer was supposed to have gotten that approval this year but has not begun that process or moved toward any construction for economic reasons, Fuke said.