Residential subdivision proposed for Puueo

  • The Edmund C. Olson Trust seeks to change zoning for two of its parcels on Amauulu Road in Puueo for a new 39-acre residential development.

A major Hawaii Island landowner is seeking to subdivide 39 acres of former sugar fields in Puueo for a residential development.

The subdivision on Amauulu Road would involve 49 lots, with 30 single-family homes consisting of at least 10,000 square-foot lots and 19 residential-agricultural properties of 1 to 2 acres in size, according to Hawaii County Planning Department records.

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The mostly vacant land currently is zoned agricultural and open, with some of it currently in production for sweet potato.

Landowner Edmund C. Olson Trust is seeking a change of zone to family agricultural and single-family residential. It also requires a state land use boundary amendment from agriculture to urban for about 15 acres.

The Windward Planning Commission will consider the request April 4 at the county’s Aupuni Center Conference Room in Hilo.

Founder Ed Olson said the plan is to sell the property to someone who can develop the land, located mauka of Clem Akina Park.

“We’d like to sell it in bulk,” he said.

The trust owns 1,500 acres in the area, with much of it in production for macadamia nut and fruit trees.

Olson said there aren’t any plans to sell or develop the rest of the acreage.

The trust previously proposed subdividing the land into 27 1-acre farm lots to provide a transition to the larger mauka agricultural properties nearby.

The Planning Department encouraged the landowner to create smaller lots because of the area’s low-density urban designation in the county’s general plan and that the area is seen as being ripe for infill, according to a letter from the applicant’s consultant.

According to planning records, the site is part of a 288-acre area that was once proposed for an 800-lot residential development that included a community center and school.

Then owner and applicant C. Brewer Homes Inc. sold the property to David and Dores Greer in 1999. The Greers developed the mauka portion into large farm lots.

The Olson trust, which later acquired the property, owns coffee, fruit tree and macadamia nut farms around Hawaii Island. In total, it owns about 10,000 acres on the island, Olson said.

The development would appear to be adjacent to a plantation camp cemetery that was partially damaged by heavy machinery in 2016.

When asked if any fines were issued, a state Department of Land and Natural Resources spokesman said in an email that DLNR remains in contact with the trust’s attorney regarding the matter.

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Sidney Fuke, the trust’s consultant, wrote to Planning in January that a burial treatment plan was completed for the cemetery, but it can’t be submitted until an archaeological inventory survey is accepted. He said it is his understanding that state Historic Preservation Division wants the “alleged violation” to be addressed first.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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