HILO — Fearing urban sprawl could begin creeping down the Highway 11 corridor, the Windward Planning Commission on Thursday nixed an Ocean View man’s plan to put a coffee shop on his Aloha Boulevard corner lot.
Mark Maus, a Hawaiian Ocean View Estates resident, was seeking a special use permit to open a coffee shop to provide employment for his daughters and perhaps others if the business grew. Initially, he also wanted to use the parking lot to sell used cars on consignment, but he withdrew that portion of his request when he discovered he would need a car dealer license.
Maus said he bought the property at the intersection of Aloha Boulevard and Mamalahoa Highway seven years ago because he thought the access road to Hawaiian Ocean View Estates was a great commercial location.
“I’m right on the corner — it’s a natural spot,” Maus said. “And that’s why we bought it.”
He noted he currently has to drive seven miles to buy a cup of coffee.
“We don’t want to step on anybody’s toes, we want to do it legally,” Maus said. “Because my daughters used to run a little coffee shop. … That’s basically all we wanted was a little coffee shop.”
But Planning Director Bobby Jean Leithead Todd recommended the commission deny the request, because the land, zoned agricultural, is two miles east of where the general plan and the Ka‘u Community Development Plan have designated a commercial corridor.
She said approving it would set a precedent, making it hard to deny other applicants.
“If you grant that exemption to him, you have to grant the exemption to everyone else that comes in,” she said. “You open the door for the strip development of the entire frontage of Ocean View. Why have a plan if you’re not going to follow it?”
The commission voted 5-0 to deny the request. But commissioners were sympathetic.
“I understand Mark’s situation, and it’s unfortunate that you purchased the property at the time you did and the general plan was adopted at the same time,” said Commissioner Raylene Moses, who represents that district.