Our Island Communities
Kekaha, Waimea, Hanapēpē
1. What are the plans for the 400 acres the County acquired in Waimea?
The County worked with the community to create a vision for the property obtained in Waimea, called the “Waimea 400.” It will include an expansion of the Waimea Canyon Park, affordable housing, and dedicated agriculture. The plan will be publicly released in the near future.
2. What are the plans for workforce housing in ‘Eleʻele?
The County broke ground on its primary workforce housing project on the Westside, which will be developed in four phases. Once all phases are complete, Lima Ola will provide approximately 600 affordable homes for Westside residents. This year, the selected contractor is expected to begin construction on Phase 1.
3. What is the future of the Kekaha Landfill?
The County continues working with all stakeholders to find and implement good solutions to managing our solid waste. The County Council recently approved the budget to add capacity to the Kehaha Landfill for an additional 3-to-5 years of life, to the 2029 timeframe. In parallel, we are investigating conversion and recycling technologies that will reduce waste and the need for a new landfill.
1. What is the status of the Kōloa-Maluhia Road project, and what about Omao Road and Poʻipū Road? What other infrastructure projects are on the horizon?
The County made great progress repaving miles of critical roads in the area, including the new roundabout on Kōloa Road. As that major road reconstruction project nears completion, we are looking to our next repaving project on Omao Road.
2. How can tourism be better managed for the Poʻipū Area?
The County continues to seek initiatives to balance the quality of life for our residents while also attracting visitors who appreciate and respect Kauaʻi’s culture and way of life. We applied for a federal grant to better manage traffic in the area to help build better pedestrian and bike connectivity. We support the Tourism Authority’s initiative to update the way we market Hawaiʻi to guests. At the county level, we are looking at creative initiatives to help us manage our more popular visitor destination, such as creating non-resident parking fees for at Poʻipū Beach Park
3. What is the county doing to promote affordable housing in this area?
We are pleased that 133 units at the Koa‘e affordable housing project along Poʻipū Road is fully leased up to local residents. We continue to look at opportunities for more housing opportunities on our south side.
Puhi, Līhuʻe, Hanamāʻulu
1. At one time the county proposed a landfill at Maʻalo Road, and there has been a reference to a “Waste-to-Energy” Study. What is this status of these projects?
We have secured viable options to extend the life of the Kekaha Landfill to roughly 2029, but the need for long-term solid waste solutions remains one of our administation’s top priorities. Solid waste solutions on an small island are always complex, and it requires the County to look at new solutions besides burying trash in a landfill. The County Council approved money to study the viability of waste-to-energy, which will evaluate the feasibility of converting solid waste to other products or producing renewable energy. procurement process to award this study work is in its final stage. We also continue to support and encourage waste diversion efforts.
2. As the pandemic winds down traffic winds up. Is there any relief on the horizon for our traffic issues?
The widening of the highway at Coco Palms may have the most immediate impact on traffic demands in the area for Central and Eastside commuters. However, Kauaʻi’s highways fall under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Transportation, and while we are grateful for our close working relationship with the state, we want to focus on areas where the county has control. We also understand that “more roads” are not the answer to our traffic woes. We have partnered with our hotel and community non-profits to bolster shuttle options, and we’ve added airport routes for our Kauaʻi Bus to make it easier for visitors to ditch the cost and hassle of getting a rental car. Between the Kauaʻi bus and our shuttle providers, visitors can get from the Līhuʻe Airport to Kee and Kekaha beaches and everywhere in between. We will continue to support public-private partnerships that provide alternative transportation options for our visitors.
3. COVID has been hard everyone but especially our small business owners. How will the county provide targeted support for our small businesses?
It’s no secret that Kauaʻi County took strong and swift action at the beginning of the pandemic when PPE’s, treatments and vaccines weren’t yet available to the masses. During that time, we focused on rolling out a robust vaccine and testing program which continues today at no cost to our residents. This early action allowed us to be the first to loosen restrictions and begin our economic recovery. I’m very proud to say that as of today, Kauaʻi has no restrictions specific to our business community. And for those businesses still struggling, the County is expanding support for its “Rise to Work” program, which matches employers who need help with employees who need work. With the help of private donors such as the Chan-Zuckerber Initiative, we have provided $** million dollars to our Rise to Work program.
4. What changes are being made at the DMV to facilitate better service?
DMV has implemented a reservation and ticketing system so people no longer have to wait in long DMV lines. This has been especially helpful during COVID. We also have added vehicleregistration renewal kiosks at Princeville, Kapaʻa, Līhuʻe, and Waimea so residents can skip the line and renew their registrations remotely.
Wailua, Kapaʻa, Keālia, Anahola
1. Traffic issues in and around Kapaʻa continue to be maddening for residents and visitors. What can the county do to improve the situation?
We continue to seek ways to encourage drivers to get out of their cars and use other modes of transportation (more bus routes, shuttles from the airport to hotels, bicycle routes, teleworking, etc.). Unfortunately, many of the traffic issues we experience are along high-capacity routes managed by the State. The County continues to work with the State on prioritizing and coordinating these projects. The widening at of the highway at Coco Palms may have the most immediate impact on traffic demands in the area for Central and Eastside commuters.
2. So-called affordable housing projects just donʻt seem affordable to so many? What is the county doing to provide truly affordable housing for residents? Including long-term rental units?
We have a housing problem on island, and the County is doing what it can to provide affordable rental units. To date we have constructed or started construction on approximately 350 rental units across the island over the past three years, but we know more needs to be done. Unfortunately, not all proposed housing projects would actually deliver affordable housing, or housing that does not exacerbate existing traffic and infrastructure issues. We will conitnue to seek affordable housing that works for Kauaʻi, however, we cannot do this alone and will continue to look for development partners and support organizations like Habitat for Humanity.
3. What is the long-term strategy to help our houseless population? And how can we as concerned residents be part of the solutions?
People are houseless for many different reasons, and one approach will not satisfy everyoneʻs needs. We continue to focus on building more permanent supportive housing units like Kealaula, and we assisted KEO to double the capacity of houseless shelter in Līhuʻe. Substance abuse is also a major contributor, and helping to work with your friends and neighbors to help combat drug addiction can help minimize these unfortunate outcomes.
4. How will new county TAT funds be used to better manage tourism?
The new county TAT funds are primarily meant to replace the previous share of TAT funds, approximately $13M in revenue per year was lost. In recognition of the need for better tourism management, investments are being proposed currently to the Council to implement strategies in the Kauaʻi Destination Management Action Plan using these funds.
Kīlauea, Princeville, Hanalei
1. Does the county have any plans to improve the traffic congestion in Kīlauea town on Kūhiō Highway near the gas station?
Unfortunately, many of the traffic issues we experience are along high-capacity routes managed by the State. The County continues to work with the State on prioritizing and coordinating these projects. We believe that the eventual Kīlauea Bypass Road, and a possible new roundabout, will improve ingress and egress around Kīlauea, but these projects will still require land acquisition and funding.
2. What is the status of the proposed Kīlauea Housing project? Why do we need more housing here – and will it be truly affordable?
The county is currently in negotiations with one landowner, and condemnation proceedings with another. Because some of the monies for the land acquisition will be from the Federal government, a commitment to affordable housing is required and will be a priority.
3. The increase of tourists have had impacts on our roads, traffic, and overcrowding of our beaches and parking lots. What are you doing to manage the increase in tourism and its impacts on our infrastructure and way of life?
The County views the Hāʻena State Park Master Plan as a “pilot model” to better manage visitor impacts on the North Shore. We are also going to start charging parking fees for non-residents at Blackpot Beach Park. We also are asking for a parking enforcement position with Kauaʻi Police Department to help take advantage of new increased fine authority passed by the state legislature.