Monday, Feb. 06, 2023|
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A proposed new housing development in Honokaa received support from County Council members and residents on Wednesday.
Lehua Villages is a pair of planned subdivisions in Honokaa which together would offer 40 new lots for single-family housing, half of which would be available at the county’s affordable housing rates.
Back in August, the Windward Planning Commission approved zoning applications for the project, which were brought to the full County Council for final reading Wednesday.
The council approved the applications — which would change the zoning for both 7-acre subdivision sites to allow for reduced maximum housing density — with little discussion, although one member of the public raised some concerns.
“I live on Lehua Street (where the subdivision will be built),” said Honokaa resident Richard Bidleman at the meeting. “And all the people who live on Lehua Street, we are very much in favor of the proposed subdivisions. But what we have a lot of difficulty with is the lack of infrastructure.”
Bidleman said there are already other local projects expanding onto Lehua Street, including the Ko Education Center and the Hamakua-Kohala Health Center, but there is not enough infrastructure on the street to support the increased use of the road. Events at nearby parks funnel hundreds of cars down Lehua Street, but there are no sidewalks on the road.
While the project plan includes pedestrian paths connecting Lehua Street to internal subdivision roads, it does not include actual sidewalks, which Bidleman said is unacceptable considering the subdivision likely will host up to 80 cars or more traveling in and out daily.
Hamakua Councilwoman Heather Kimball acknowledged Bidleman’s concerns with the project and said she likely will return to the council with a solution for those concerns in the future. She said she was hoping to present a cost estimate for more walking paths in the area, but was unable to have that available in time for the meeting.
The full project is being financed through private fundraising and is expected to cost somewhere between $3 million and $4 million, although the current volatility of construction costs may change that estimate.
Roger Meeker, manager of Lehua Village Partners, said in August that the lots should be completed no later than 2027.
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