Kona developer downsizes project
A final environmental assessment will be released to the public
KAILUA-KONA » The company developing the 530-acre Kona Kai Ola project on state and Hawaiian Home Lands north of Kailua-Kona has significantly reduced the size of the project to answer community concerns, Jacoby Development Inc. representative David Tarnas said yesterday.
The project now calls for 400 hotel rooms instead of the previous 700, and 1,100 time-share units instead of the previous 1,800, he said.
The size of a proposed marina has been reduced to 25 acres, down from the previous 45 acres. The marina would connect with the state's existing Honokohau small boat harbor.
A large water feature with broad areas of water flowing downhill has been reduced 74 percent. Much of the area previously designated for the water feature will be developed as a parklike area instead.
The commercial portion of the project, in the area fronting Queen Kaahumanu Highway, has been increased, Tarnas said. And there will be no delay in building the 2.2-mile Kuakini Highway extension, which will provide a new route directly to the heart of Kailua-Kona at Kailua Bay.
The project contains no housing areas for local people because 4,000 units of housing are planned on Hawaiian homelands and other properties mauka of Kaahumanu Highway, Tarnas said.
The concept is that people would live in the cooler upland areas and have easy access to work in the Kona Kai Ola coastal area, he said.
The cost of the project has declined to $1.8 billion from the previous $2.2 billion.
A final environmental impact statement describing the downsized project has received the approval of the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and residents on nearby department sites, he said. It will be released publicly on Saturday. DHHL is providing 200 acres for the project along Kaahumanu Highway.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources is also expected to change the requirements it initially set for the larger project. DLNR is providing 330 acres on the seaward side of the Hawaiian homelands.
Because changes in DLNR requirements have not been formally made, the new plan is presented in the environmental document as an alternative, but it is expected to become the new main plan, Tarnas said.
The revised plan was created in consultation with the County Planning Department and Mayor Harry Kim, Tarnas said. The plan is not yet at the stage where it needs county approvals, such as zoning changes, he said.
Planning Director Chris Yuen previously said he could not accept the project because he considers the plan to be a resort, which the county General Plan prohibits at this site.
Tarnas says the project is consistent with the current General Plan designation, which permits "urban expansion."
County officials were not immediately available for further comment.