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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, February 25, 2006

Homes could start going up this year at Village at Po'ipu

By Jan TenBruggencate
Advertiser Kaua'i Bureau

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LIHU'E, Kaua'i — The first lots in a new 203-acre residential project in eastern Po'ipu could be under development this year, but other portions are still a year or more from receiving final land use approvals.

The Eric A. Knudsen Trust has published its draft environmental impact statement for the Village at Po'ipu project, which lies between Po'ipu Road to the south and Koloa town to the north, with the Weliweli subdivision on its east side and the Kiahuna Golf Course to the west.

Planner Kimi Yuen, of the consulting firm PBR Hawai'i, said that about 80 acres of the project are already zoned for residential use. Most of it lies at the makai end of the property. Another 124 acres on the mauka side is in the state Land Use Commission's agricultural district and the developer will ask that it be moved to the urban district.

State Land Use Commission executive officer Anthony Ching said the panel could make a decision on the project by late 2006 or early 2007. Thereafter, the developer will need county zoning approvals.

Depending on the configuration of ultimate zoning for the property and the way it is subdivided, the Village at Po'ipu could have from 350 to 503 residential units. Most would be single-family residential homes, but 134 units would be in a multifamily project on land adjacent to Po'ipu Road that is already zoned for 10 units per acre.

Longtime Koloa resident David Chang said he has concerns about traffic patterns, but no strong opposition to the project as it is presented. However, he said a key requirement to retain the area's sense of community should be that residents and former residents of Kaua'i be given an opportunity to qualify to buy lots before outsiders.

"If they give the first chance to the locals, I see no problem," he said.

This has been a consistent theme for many in the region—some of whom have criticized the Kukui'ula project at the western end of Po'ipu for abandoning its initial proposal to sell lots to residents at affordable prices. Kukui'ula amended its development and reduced its density to create luxury resort/residential lots.

Yuen, in the environmental impact statement, said the developer is working with the County Housing Agency to meet affordable housing requirements. The environmental impact statement says that most of the properties in the project are expected to be sold at "moderate to high market price levels" of more than $500,000 per lot.

Yuen said that while some parts of the project will require more planning and zoning work than others, the developer included the entire 203 acres in its environmental impact studies to look at the cumulative impact of the project. She said the developer will set aside 12 acres within the site for parks, and has designated 23 acres for archaeological preserves. The archaeological set-asides include ancient shelters, agricultural fields, water channels and cave shelters. Two caves also represent designated critical habitat for two endangered species, the Kaua'i cave amphipod and the blind cave wolf spider.

In a letter to Office of Hawaiian Affairs Administrator Clyde Namu'o, Yuen said archaeological sites will be landscaped with native plants, and will remain accessible to the public.

Reach Jan TenBruggencate at jant@honoluluadvertiser.com.