Bill 2822 regarding Open Space use

Aloha KNA Board,

I would like to take the opportunity to give you a head’s up on Bill 2822 that will be coming up before the Planning Commission on July 13th. The bill was co-sponsored by Luke Evslin and Mason Chock and makes definitional changes to the terms “commercial developed campgrounds” and “undeveloped campgrounds” in Chapter 8 of the CZO relating to transient accommodations. In a nutshell, the bill, which unanimously passed the County Council on first reading, would prohibit commercial developed campgrounds on Open, Ag, and/or Residential zoned land; it would allow commercial developed campgrounds on commercial and resort zoned properties. The bill would not affect non-commercial camping on private land.

We believe the bill is an important step in preserving our Open space and to help slow the “resort creep” of the hotel industry into the camping arena on open, ag, and residential-zoned land.

HOW DOES THIS BILL AFFECT THE NORTH SHORE?

There are no new resorts designated on the North Shore under the Kaua’i General Plan which is in effect until 2028.

The original Princeville Hotel was permitted to be built with 300 rooms and the hotel was completed with 300 rooms in 1986. Thereafter, a subsequent owner of the hotel, Qintex, consolidated some of the rooms into suites and the hotel is now comprised of 252 rooms. The new hotel owner, Starwood Capital Group (“SCG”) a private equity, venture capital fund, is presently asserting they should be allowed to expand their “1Hotel” onto Holes 1, 2, and 3 of the Makai Woods Golf Course (which is zoned “Open”) to include 50 one, two, and three bedroom “tents” with “luxurious en-suite bathrooms”, full utilities, individual fire pits that can be used for cooking, a hotel lobby, large recreational luau tent, and all hotel amenities. They justify this project on the basis that this project is “camping” which they assert is allowable on Open space. They also assert they are allowed the additional 50 transient accommodation facilities because they were originally permitted for 300 rooms.

These tents which consist of semi-permanent roofs, raised permanent floors, 3 canvas sides and a locking glass slider will not be built to code; in the event of a hurricane or other severe weather incident, these tents will not survive and will be blown throughout the neighborhood with the potential for life-threatening catastrophic consequences and significant property damages to all the surrounding homes. The additional issues of traffic, water, drainage, sewage, noise, impact on endangered species, and other environmental concerns are consequential as well.

However, of bigger consequence for all the communities on the North Shore is the potential expansion of transient accommodations options. The unbridled expansion of resorts is taking a severe toll on our quality of life, the affordability of housing, traffic, noise, trampled beaches and public spaces, and our fragile environment.

I hope that KNA will support Bill 2822 at the Public Heargin before the Planning Commission on July 13th. Written and/or public testimony will be taken; any letters and/or emails should be sent by Friday July 9th.

Letters can be addressed to:

Planning Commission c/o Kaua’i County Planning Department
4444 Rice Street, Suite A473
Lihu’e, HI 96766

You may also email the Planning Department at planningdepartment@kauai.gov or send a fax to: (808) 241-6699.

I very much appreciate the efforts of your organization to help preserve and protect our island and hope you will support Bill 2822.

With warm aloha,
Lorri Mull

For more information, visit www.soshui.org.