Liliuokalani Trust to begin EIS for Keahuolu next year


The Queen Liliuokalani Trust will be going out for a new environmental impact statement, likely early next year, its Vice President, LeeAnn Crabbe, said.

The trust’s entitlements for a 1,300-acre parcel makai of Ane Keohokalole Highway are about 20 years old, so the trust will spend the next year or so completing an environmental review, then go before the Land Use Commission for a boundary amendment and the county Planning Department for zoning changes, Crabbe said. The full process, from environmental impact statement to entitlements, could take three to four years.

Just how the trust will eventually develop the land hasn’t been determined, she added.

“We’ve been meeting with small groups, gaining input on what Kona wants, what Kona needs,” Crabbe said.

The trust doesn’t want to be the kind of developer that comes into town and makes those decisions without community consultation, she said. Trust officials will be looking to the Kona Community Development Plan for guidance, as well, she said.

The trust’s Kailua-Kona manager, Laura Dierenfield, said the organization has about 3,400 acres in Kona. Dierenfield provided an update on trust projects to the Rotary Club of Kona Mauka in Honalo Tuesday afternoon.

The trust, established by Queen Liliuokalani before her death, has as its Big Island holdings the aforementioned land in the Keahuolu ahupuaa and in Hilo. The trust gets 73 percent of its revenues from developments in Waikiki, Dierenfield said. Downturns in the visitor market, such as during the recession of the last few years and following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks have demonstrated the need to diversify the trust’s endowment, she added.

Revenue from the trust is used in its nine children’s centers around the state, including one in Kona, to help with crisis intervention and work with orphaned and destitute children in Hawaii, as mandated by Queen Liluokalani, according to its website.

“Everything we do is in service to that deed of trust,” Dierenfield said.

Development of the 1,300 acres is an “opportunity really … to create a special part of Kona,” Dierenfield said. “The land plan is rooted in this concept of ahupuaa living. … As Kona grows, it will grow through Keahuolu.”

The trust wants to focus on smart growth, protecting natural resources, providing housing choices “for everyone” and connectivity, among other areas, she added.

Crabbe said a new interpretive center, on Kamakaeha Avenue, near its intersection with Palani Road, may open as early as January.

The center, which Hawaii County built as part of the Ane Keohokalole Highway construction project, will feature artifacts and displays to teach the community about the area, Crabbe said.