Kauai mails out land-use survey
Residents are asked to provide information to assist with traffic and housing problems
LIHUE » Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste has turned to developers, landowners and business leaders to tackle some of the Garden Isle's most pressing problems such as affordable housing and traffic.
A group named the Kauai Housing & Traffic Solutions Coalition is made up of executives from Grove Farm Properties, Princeville Resort, Kikiaola Land Co. as well as representatives from the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and the state Department of Transportation.
The group took its first steps recently, mailing housing surveys to Kauai residents. The survey, which is due back by Tuesday, will help the mayor and his coalition create a plan to develop affordable housing, Baptiste said.
"We really need the community's help with filling out the survey and returning them by the deadline," Baptiste said. "The information gathered from the survey will support the landowners and developers in their efforts to increase the availability of affordable housing for Kauai residents."
The coalition plans to use the survey to decide exactly how many affordable-housing projects should be built, expected to be about 1,000. Then the landowners and developers plan to schedule community meetings for input from the public on their affordable-housing plans. Groundbreaking on the new units could be as early as October, said Mary Daubert, county public information officer.
The landowners and developers also expressed concerns with the bottlenecks in the county's permitting process, county officials said.
They suggested following the City and County of Honolulu's permit process, which allows third parties such as architects or engineers to be hired by developers to review straightforward building applications.
If a project is given a stamp of approval by a certified architect or engineer, the developer can then move ahead with obtaining building permits, eliminating the need for a city and county engineer to review the project, Daubert said.
But county leaders said no one would be available to be the third party, since all engineers and architects already have huge workloads due to the explosion in construction on Kauai.
Steve Kyono, district engineer for state Highways Division, also recently gave the group a brief summary of short- and long-term plans for state highway improvements.
In recent years, he noted, planning efforts for Transportation Department projects were handled at the state level.
"Now this is being brought back to the districts," Kyono said. "I think things will move faster with decisions being made at the district level."
The coalition's meeting is scheduled for Dec. 5, Daubert said.