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Plan to rezone 300 acres of Waimea ranch land discussed

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WAIMEA — The Waimea Town Center development plan and a land exchange between Parker Ranch and the state Department of Education were central topics during a South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee meeting last week in Waimea.

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WAIMEA — The Waimea Town Center development plan and a land exchange between Parker Ranch and the state Department of Education were central topics during a South Kohala Traffic Safety Committee meeting last week in Waimea.

The Waimea Town Center project, which grew out of Richard Smart’s Parker Ranch 2020 plan, calls for the rezoning of 300 acres of ranch land to residential and commercial designations. Eventually, the land will be sold to developers who will determine its future.

When the original plan was conceived in 1987, there was no requirement for an environmental assessment. Bill Moore, president of William L. Moore Planning Inc., told attendees of the meeting last Tuesday that the EA process remains in its early phases and said requirements have since changed.

“There was no need to do it,” Moore said. “Since that time, we’ve partially developed the town center area, but the laws have changed and plans have changed. To finish it, we need to do this EA to allow certain key infrastructure.”

Infrastructure yet needed includes a new sewer line necessary for future development of the parcel, as well as the extension of Lindsey Road from the post office to Ala Ohia Road, formerly known as the Parker Ranch Connector Road. Ala Ohia Road also will be extended to connect with Mamalahoa Highway.

The land exchange between Parker Ranch and the DOE is connected to future work on the WTC project by the development of Lindsey Road.

Parker Ranch President and CEO Neil “Dutch” Kuyper wrote in a handout distributed at the meeting that giving the DOE nearly 5.5 acres of ranch land in exchange for 0.78 acres of state land will aid in the project’s proposed redesign of the road by “removing the curve that is present in the existing design.”

He added a utility easement, which will allow for easier access to the development and allow for the necessary hook up with the sewer system, can be created through the smaller parcel Parker Ranch will get returned in the deal.

The larger parcel of land the DOE is set to receive will allow for the expansion of school campuses on the current site or likely add increased value in the event Waimea schools ever decide to sell their property and relocate.

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Kuyper said the DOE has not yet completed the master planning for the site.

Email Max Dible at mdible@westhawaiitoday.com.

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