Monday, April 11, 2011


ALOOOOO-HA: A week ago yesterday few knew what or who "Preserve Kauai's Rural Character (PKRC)"‏ was. And apparently no one knows or will say today.

Last Sunday was the day we received an innocent enough yet slick professional email- produced by marketer VerticalResponse- reviving the anti-Kilauea Amphitheater movement in the wake of news of a takeover of the Kalihiwai Ridge Community Association (KRCA) in Kilauea by proponents of the project, causing KRCA to drop it's contested case for the required Special Use Permit before the planning commission.

The mass mailing- replete with one of those "click here to unsubscribe buttons" and a personalized "Dear Andy" salutation- tried to reframe the argument from one of "stay loud already" vs the "nahting for do around hea" mantra to appeal to we professional land use rabblerousers by putting the fear of commercialization of ag land in our green little hearts.

Despite numerous requests this week the originator of these emails remains unknown but not his, her or their intentions.

It didn't take but a few hours for the now ubiquitous developer-Bill-Porter-as-Hitler video to surface, again anonymously. And it didn't take us but a few seconds to identify the style of the short film to be that of a certain local filmmaker who has done a few "who did that" videos.

Not only was the mailing slick- not to mention costly, especially complete with a mailing list- but the PR effort and the knowledge of what pushes the sustainability crowds solar-generated buttons was almost impeccable.

Almost, except that some of the so-called "facts" weren't.

So it was until mid-week when KRCA busted out the big bucks and published a full page ad in the local newspaper and another email announcing it.

The ad proclaimed that approval of a special use permit would be a first-ever for commercial use "on land zoned as 'Agricultural' by the State"- a meaningless phrase that belied the author's lack of sophistication in the ways of land use in the islands.

As we find ourselves explaining way too often the state, under direction of the Land Use Commission, does "districting" while the county does "zoning." It's an important distinction and one that has caused no dearth of legal wangling over the years.

The next move, apparently from the developer, was an email going over and attempting to refute, point by point, the contentions of the ad, although most were semantic arguments as to whether the ad's depiction of an "amusement park" was appropriate, but also attempting to debunk the ad's debunking of the "Six Myths About the Kilauea Pavilion."

And yesterday, once again, the antis were at it again with a debunking of the debunking of the debunking in point by point by point, tri-color regalia.

The real issue here is the same one that's plagued this and the surrounding parcels for generations- what to do with the "light industrial" land- a remnant of the sugar cane mill days- that sits in the middle of agriculturally and districted and zoned land just north and mauka of Kilauea. It's gone through all sorts of designations over the years, reverting back and forth, as plans either fell through or the Kilauea community rose up against the plans.

While we don't have any way of verifying the "first ever commercial use permit for ag land" claim made by KRCA we seriously doubt it although that may have more to do with Preserve Kauai's Rural Character's confusion between county zoning and state districting and what the two different "agricultural" designation actually mean. And rather than stating and quoting any specific section of HRS 205, which lists the allowable- and more importantly the not allowable- uses of ag lands, KRCA just listed a hodge-podge of provisions and a contention... the point being that unless uses are specifically banned they are generally allowed with a special use permit.

What is pretty obvious is that the handful of Kalihiwai Ridge residents- who themselves live on ag subdivisions and "condos"- that were ousted from their community association posts for their opposition to the project are trying to reframe the argument to suck in- and we might say quite successfully noting the many "re-sendings" of their emails- the land use/sustainability crowd even after a buy-in to the project by the apparent majority of both Kilauea and Kalihiwai Ridge (KR) residents.

Will it set a precedent that will forever change the way special use permits are issued for commercialization of ag lands as PKRC claims? Unlikely considering the way the developer went to the community and asked what they'd like to see on the land which is the one thing that the majority of local people require as an act of "aloha."

It doesn't help that the KR folks are seen as a bunch of rich haoles whose use of ag land as "gentleman estates" is seen as far more objectionable- not to mention destructive of agriculture by cutting up and skyrocketing the price of ag land- even by those whom they are enlisting in the fight to stop the project.

Perhaps that's why the PKRC people refuse to identify themselves and answer questions from the press and have rather tried a last ditch effort to rally the usual suspects by casting the issue as a battle for the future of agriculture on Kaua`i.

Aloha has less to do with smiling as you clean toilets for the tourists as the visitor's bureau wants people to think and more to do with respect- you don't just walk up and take the fruit on someone's lawn, you ask first. Same goes with a notoriously hard to develop parcel of land slated for development.

And no matter what Bill Porter is doing, he not only asked but actually listened.

And while we have apprehensions at the commercialization of the already commercialized area, it's the North Shore residents who will have to live with what they bought into.

Tomorrow the sh*t hits the fan at the planning commission meeting where the permit has been recommended for approval by the planning department staff and director. But, depending on what side you're on, fortunately or unfortunately, the genuine of ingenuous efforts of PKRC will likely have been in vain.

1 comment:

"PKRC" said...

Aloha Andy,

See you are an oddsmaker. Keep in mind, sometimes the underdogs do win. Got one thing for you:

64 Haw. 265, 639 P.2d 1079