HOOSER: Land for cost-effective housing must remain a precedence

Kudos to the Kaua‘i County Council for voting this earlier Wednesday to approve buy via eminent area of a 23.5-acre whole lot in Kilauea for reasonably priced housing.

Forcing a landowner to provide their personal property to the federal government is by no means the first choice of policymakers. Nonetheless, when there is no land on the sector that is suitable AND the lack of cost-effective housing so great, sometimes it is the only option accessible. The method can be very long, intricate and hostile. But at the stop of the day, the landowner is in reality paid out “fair current market value” as established by the courtroom and many appraisals.

A messy approach to be absolutely sure, but needed it appears in this circumstance to satisfy an urgent community need.

Typically, the county will endeavor to negotiate with the owner, who would likely seek out a drastically inflated price dependent on the property’s speculative benefit must it be rezoned from agriculture to household or multi-family members use. The county, of program, would a lot somewhat order the land valued “as is” and at the least expensive selling price feasible.

Congratulations to the County Council, County Housing Company and mayor for having this considerable phase and aggressively pursuing the growth of Kaua‘i’s cost-effective-housing inventory.

Gotta question, however: What about Lihu‘e?

Grove Farm owns 38,000 acres of land on Kaua‘i, like lands that border nearly the full perimeter of Lihu‘e, AND they basically management considerably of the h2o for Lihu‘e (and other locations).

Lihu‘e is where by the jobs are. In Lihu‘e, there are sewers, bike paths, hospitals, buying, bars and restaurants — not to point out the airport, harbor, university and seat of federal government.

The reply (justification) most usually presented for the absence of economical-housing progress in Lihu‘e is a absence of drinking water. However, the lack of water has not in the previous stopped the enhancement of a number of shopping facilities, golfing courses, new resort timeshare developments and high priced residential housing.

Sure, the availability of water is a obstacle, but not an unsurmountable a single. There are normally workarounds, and clever people today I am confident could occur up with remedies and alternatives.

Council Chair Arryl Kaneshiro is approaching his final yr on the council. He, along with Councilmember Mason Chock, will be “terming out” and not able to operate for reelection in 2022.

As the chair of the council AND a recent and long-time worker of Grove Farm, this would appear to be to be an opportune time for Kaneshiro to initiate this kind of a dialogue. Of course, there is a conflict of desire, but we really should place that out in the sunshine and deal with it. Certainly, the chair really should not vote on no matter if to do a deal or not, nor the facts of regardless of what deal that may well arrive forth. But he need to not be prevented from supporting to start the dialogue. In actuality, he must be inspired to do so.

Kaua‘i desperately demands actually inexpensive housing. Grove Farm owns pretty much all the developable land in and close to Lihu‘e, and they regulate a great deal of the water. The county controls the zoning and the enhancement-acceptance approach. One particular would assume they could get together and negotiate a win-acquire for the people today of Kaua‘i. In any other case, if negotiation was not achievable, a person would imagine the county may take care of Grove Farm similarly as they are managing the landowner in Kilauea.

A person would believe. But then once again, possibly not in the planet of politics.


Gary Hooser is the previous vice-chair of the Democratic Celebration of Hawai‘i, and served 8 many years in the state Senate, the place he was majority chief. He also served for eight decades on the Kaua‘i County Council, and was the former director of the point out Business office of Environmental High quality Control. He serves presently in a volunteer capacity as board president of the Hawai‘i Alliance for Progressive Motion and is executive director of the Pono Hawai‘i Initiative.