Baptiste tries to halt subdivisions
The mayor of Kauai submits his proposal for a moratorium
LIHUE » Kauai Mayor Bryan Baptiste announced yesterday that he has proposed a bill to temporarily stop the subdivision of land zoned for agriculture on the Garden Isle.
The mayor said the intent of the bill, sent to the Planning Commission, is to keep prime agricultural lands from becoming large yards for luxury homes.
"We must take action now to maintain our rural identity in the best interest of the health and welfare of the residents of Kauai," the mayor said.
The bill would create a moratorium on any new subdivisions on land zoned for agricultural use until a more permanent fix can be found, Baptiste added.
"A moratorium is not the solution," the mayor continued. "It gives us time to come up with a solution."
The bill will have to pass both the Planning Commission and the County Council before it becomes law.
But the mayor, to head off a rush to the Planning Commission for those wishing to subdivide, has proposed the moratorium begin immediately.
Anyone can still file a subdivision proposal for agricultural land, but they do so at their own risk. As of last month, however, the forms must be completed before they are turned in.
Previously, planners would work with those wishing to subdivide their land to finish their applications.
"After seeing the extent of the growth of agricultural subdivisions last year, I feel that we cannot wait any longer," the mayor added.
There are two exceptions: the 13 subdivisions that already have received tentative approval, and anyone who wishes to turn agricultural land into affordable housing. The affordable-housing crisis, the mayor said, is greater than the threat facing agricultural land.
A similar bill was defeated by the Council eight years ago, proposed by the mayor when he was a councilman.