Waikoloa housing development up for review

  • Location of proposed housing and commercial complex (Hawaii County Planning Department).

  • A plan to develop a 36-unit housing complex, some units classified affordable, along with eight commercial lots in Waikoloa Village will be taken up by the County Council Planning Committee on Tuesday. The 11.7 acre property is located south of Waikoloa Road, approximately one-third mile east of the intersection of Pua Melia Street and Waikoloa Road. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

  • The 11.7-acre property is located south of Waikoloa Road, east of the intersection of Pua Melia Street and Waikoloa Road in Waikoloa Village. (Chelsea Jensen/West Hawaii Today)

A plan to develop a 36-unit housing complex, some units classified affordable, along with eight commercial lots in Waikoloa Village will be taken up by the County Council Planning Committee on Tuesday after a negative recommendation from the Leeward Planning Commission and the Planning Department under the prior administration.

Coincidentally, Bills 197 and 198 are being presented at the same meeting where Planning Director Zendo Kern faces his first confirmation vote. Kern, who under the County Charter is officially the director of the department prior to his confirmation, was the consultant representing developer Pua Melia LLC before the planning department and planning commission last year.

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Kern said he’s terminated all clients and is recusing himself from any involvement in cases involving his former clients. He’s asked the county Board of Ethics to weigh in on any possible conflicts of interest.

The 11.7-acre property is located south of Waikoloa Road, approximately one-third mile east of the intersection of Pua Melia Street and Waikoloa Road, across from Waikoloa Stables. Developers are seeking a state land use boundary amendment change from agricultural to urban and a change of zone from open, residential and agriculture to village commercial.

The affordable housing development will consist of 36 units in seven quad-plex and four duplex buildings. Of those, 60% to 80% will be affordable to households with annual incomes at or below 140% of median income, or $87,373 based on a 2019 income of $62,409 estimated by the Census Bureau.

Developer Danny Julkowski said the project was the county’s idea all along.

“… on January of 2018, a county employee contacted us and asked us if we were interested in purchasing the piece of property that we had purchased,” Julkowski told the Leeward Planning Commission on Aug. 20.

“We didn’t come to you guys; the county came to us with this project and then walked away from us and left us high and dry.”

Former Planning Director Michael Yee had recommended an unfavorable vote and the Leeward Planning Commission supported his recommendation on 4-2 vote, with Commissioners Nancy Carr Smith and Michael Vitousek voting against the negative recommendation.

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“The proposed project is inconsistent with (the General Plan) as it is not located with the concentrated commercial area of Waikoloa Village and is creating a spot development along Waikoloa Road outside of the primary commercial area,” Yee said in a report.

Email Nancy Cook Lauer at ncook-lauer@westhawaiitoday.com.

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