Sunday | September 24, 2017
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Developer has big plans above Kahaluu

A Honolulu-based developer wants to put three-story time- share buildings with 321 units and 17 single family homes on 42 acres the developer is under contract to acquire from Kamehameha Investment Corp. mauka of Kahaluu Bay, doubling the residences near the popular beach park.

Project consultant William Moore said Towne Development Hawaii Inc. intends to file for a special management area major permit immediately, a process that can take three to nine months. Design would take another year, putting initial construction, if market conditions support the work, in 2015. Moore said the developer does not yet have an estimated cost.

Developers said the multistory buildings wouldn’t interfere with views to or from the shoreline and that their project would conform to the Keauhou Village and Kahaluu Village Residential guidelines, to match the “cohesive vision for the physical appearance of Keauhou and ensure high-quality, culturally vibrant and sustainable community development,” the document said.

A few Alii Drive property owners submitted comments opposing the project last year, when a consultant issued notice the draft environment assessment was being made. Their concerns focused on traffic impacts, as well as worries about the project’s potential effect on the water supply in the area. Robin Protzman, who lives on Alii Drive in Keauhou, wrote about a notice received last year about water quality in Keauhou.

The notice, from the Department of Water Supply, said “our drinking water is safe but not up to preferred standards,” Protzman wrote. “If the water district is unable to assure safe drinking water to the existing residents, how will the development of 300-plus homes make a positive impact on the already failing water system? The development will aggravate a deteriorating system and accelerate the climbing levels of unsafe drinking water.”

Protzman and Arizona resident Bonnie Eich, who also owns a home on Alii Drive, shared their worries about the traffic impacts.

“This particular area of the island is very crowded during certain times of the day due to having a very popular beach area accessible only by a two-lane road,” Eich wrote. “Limited parking at the beach already presents several safety hazards including bicyclists that are forced into the street because vehicles are encroaching into the bike lane and restricted visibility for cars entering on the road.”

Eich recommended Towne Development Inc. limit the project to single-family homes and hold off construction until a long-promised parkway, sometimes referred to as Alii Parkway or the Kahaluu-Keauhou Parkway, be built, then put primary access to the development through that road, rather than build the proposed connection to Alii Drive.

That road project, county officials said earlier this year, is not at the top of their priority list and the environmental assessment was being reviewed.

The environmental assessment acknowledged some of those impacts.

“The most noticeable impact may be on Kahaluu County Beach Park, where the development would essentially double the number of residences within walking distance of the park,” the document said. “It should be noted, however, that the closure and planned demolition of the adjacent Keauhou Beach Resort Hotel will also substantially reduce the number of visitors to the park.”

Developers claimed the project would create few secondary impacts.

“Because of the nature of the project, real property and other tax contributions would more than compensate for extra costs of public services and would also enable agencies to improve and expand their services,” the document said.

The Kahaluu property is already zoned for such development, the environmental document said.

The development would connect to the Keauhou Community Services Inc.’s Heeia wastewater treatment plant.

Archaeological reports dating back to 2005 note a number of historical sites on the property, including the Kuakini Wall and complexes of multiple features where burial sites are located.

“Extensive preserve areas for multiple archaeological sites and burials will be protected in conformance with already developed and approved preservation and burial treatment plans,” the assessment said. “Certain sites will be subject to data recovery, as specified in approved data recovery plans. Archaeological monitoring in conformance with an approved monitoring plan will be conducted during initial earth-moving activities to ensure protection in the unlikely event that burials or significant historic properties are discovered during construction.”

The Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation recommended preserving three sites.

The project comment period runs through Sept. 23.