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The Honolulu Advertiser

Posted on: Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Po'ipu project approved

 •  Map: Proposed Kukui'ula land use plan

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

PO'IPU, Kaua'i — Developers of the 1,500-unit Kukui'ula resort-residential project have received county approvals, but some critics say they are frustrated that their concerns weren't included in the zoning bills.

The developers say they've made plenty of concessions to address community concerns and are moving ahead with the final planning of the project. They hope to start construction in late 2005 or early 2006, with the first residents moving in two years later.

The 1,002-acre development has changed over the years. When Alexander & Baldwin first proposed it in the 1980s, it was for a much denser project with homes priced for sale to middle-income residents. But in the project's latest configuration, density has been cut in half and lots are expected to be larger and much more expensive.

The project is now a joint venture of A&B and Scottsdale, Ariz.-based luxury property developer DMB Associates. The local entity, Kukui'ula Development Co. (Hawaii) LLC, is equally owned by an A&B subsidiary and a DMB subsidiary.

Local real-estate officials say they expect homes to be priced in the $1 million range.

Mike Roberts, vice president of the joint venture, said the firm is still working out subdivision plans and has not established prices, but he said that price range "wouldn't surprise us at all. It's what homes are going for in the Po'ipu area right now."

The various neighborhoods within the project will represent a mix of single-family houses and multifamily townhome-type units. The development will include parks, archaeological preserves, an 18-hole golf course and a neighborhood commercial area at the eastern end.

Roberts said it may also include a 62-room hotel.

Access to the general area will remain open to the public — Roberts committed to the County Council that it would not be a gated community — but he said it is possible there will be gated sections within it.

The Kukui'ula project is a vast westward expansion of the south Kaua'i resort area. It runs generally from Lawa'i Valley to the mauka-makai Po'ipu Road, and from the coastal Lawa'i Road mauka toward Koloa Road.

"From a community association standpoint, we have always been in support of the project. We have wanted to go west, not toward (the undeveloped coastal area of) Maha'ulepu," said Louis Abrams, vice president of the Koloa Community Association.

But he said many in the community were disappointed that the county has not developed a clear plan to handle the traffic consequences of the Kukui'ula project and more than 2,000 more residential and resort units under development elsewhere in the Koloa-Po'ipu region.

"We've been discussing the impact on our community. We documented it for the County Council ... but they really didn't pay any attention. We're very distressed," said Greg Schredder, who lives near Kukui'ula Small Boat Harbor.

Schredder said he and other neighborhood residents are talking to an attorney about suing. Their key concerns involve roads, including the additional traffic on substandard Lawa'i Road and the unfinished northern end of the Western Koloa bypass road.

For Abrams, the bypass is the main issue, namely the fact that when traffic from the project starts up, the northern end of the bypass will not be done.

The developer has agreed to develop a makai-mauka bypass from its property to Koloa Road west of Koloa town and to buy the right-of-way to continue that bypass north to Maluhia Road, where it would intersect with the existing Eastern Koloa bypass. But there's no plan or financing to grade and pave the northern section of the bypass.

"That means all that traffic still has to go through town," Schredder said.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com or (808) 245-3074.

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