Hualalai Partners request back for review


A controversial subdivision request comes back to the Leeward Planning Commission Thursday morning.

Commissioners in July deferred a vote on the Hualalai Partners land use classification and rezoning request, indicating they wished to reach out to former Planning Director Chris Yuen before deciding what to do with the application. Hualalai Partners of Kona LLC is asking the county to reclassify the land from agricultural to urban and change the zone from 5-acre agricultural lots to 15,000-square-foot single-family residential lots.

The developers ultimately intend to seek a planned unit development from the county, to allow for lots as small as 10,000-square-feet.

The property is just shy of 15 acres, which prompted many nearby residents to question whether an earlier subdivision of land was a move to bypass the state Land Use Commission. Parcels of 15 acres or larger must take their plans to the LUC, not just county agencies, for approval. The process is lengthier and more expensive to complete, developers and consultants have said in the past.

Hualalai Partners has been proposing variations of the development on a 14.9-acre lot since 2006. The developer withdrew a proposal in 2011, in the face of community opposition and less-than-favorable comments from the Hawaii County Council.

Commissioners, upon hearing Department of Public Works concerns about the substandard condition of Hualalai Road and the potential impact the subdivision could have on the road, pressed the developer’s attorney, Steven Lim, for agreement to conditions requiring improvements to Hualalai Road.

Lim expressed reservations about some of the commissioners’ requests, because those repairs would extend beyond the project’s Hualalai Road frontage.

DPW officials, in their recommendation to the Planning Department, asked for Hualalai Partners to work with the developers of the subdivision on the makai project boundary to create a single intersection with Hualalai Road, instead of one for each development.

The Leeward Planning Commission meets at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in Building G at the West Hawaii Civic Center.