Deny SMA permit request for Ocean Villas project at Kahalu'u Bay
We need your help today to save Kahaluʻu! 43 acres of our beloved Kahaluʻu Bay is being threatened by development of timeshare condos. Ocean Villas at Kahalu'u Bay, LLC is seeking a Special Management Permit (SMA 16-063) to build 306 timeshare units on 43 acres at Kahalu'u Bay in North Kona, on Hawai’i Island. This land is owned by Kamehameha Investment Corporation (KIC), KIC has agreed to sell the land to the developer if this permit is acquired. It is also part of the same cultural landscape that Kamehameha Schools fought to protect several years ago for the Kahaluʻu Makai project to decommission the Outrigger hotel and restore the cultural landscape at Kahalu’u.
This area needs to be preserved. The ‘iwi kūpuna (burials) need to be respected and protected. This landscape connects us to a cultural history that extends back at least to the 1600s. This property is part of the Kahalu’u National Historic District, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974 because of its amazing concentration of heiau and many other archaeological/cultural features. This area is also within the Kona Field System, a massive agricultural system that supported a huge pre-contact population also listed on the National Register since the 1970’s.
In addition to the MANY burials on this land, there is also a very dense concentration of heiau (10 within the Kahalu’u Historic District!) and large aliʻi residences in and around coastal Kahaluʻu. 58 archaeological sites have been documented in the project area, and 247 features. Kahalu'u Ahupua'a has legendary associations with many important aliʻi and historic figures.
The traffic study presented by the developer was done in 2012, and says that traffic on Aliʻi Drive will not be affected! This development could add at least 300 more cars, entering and exiting Aliʻi drive multiple times a day. Kona population has grown each year, which is not taken into account in the traffic study. Aliʻi drive is in a Tsunami Zone. People will be obliged to leave the area during evacuations, which will add significant amount of traffic and people to evacuate.
The endangered opeʻapeʻa (Hawaiian hoary bat) is present in the Kahaluʻu area. They feed at Kahaluʻu Beach in the evenings and roost in the project area. Local residents at Kahaluʻu see them all the time. The biological “study” the developer notes in the FEA looked for bats during the daytime, which is not when they are active.
Social Impacts: The applicant calls it development of “multiple family residential project” – this is grossly misleading, this is for timeshare condos and will be of little benefit to the Kona community. An influx of population centered in the timeshare units will mean a large increase in visitation and use of the beaches and waters of Kahaluʻu. Increased use will have negative effect on aquatic life and carrying capacity issues for local communities.
The FEA also states that the development would not affect shoreline uses. However, hundreds more people per day will be impacting the shoreline, and reef every day. 300 more cars adding chemical runoff off parking lots during rain will affect the reef. With the influx of people, inevitably there will be increased sunscreen in the water, and direct impacts to the coral reef from increased snorkeling activities. Hundreds more people per day will also negatively affect our already overworked, understaffed lifeguards. Kahaluʻu’s reef is already in distress from recent sewage leaks from the County Park, as well as coral bleaching from increased temperatures.
Our community needs open space. We do not need more developments that drain local resources and do little to give back.
Please, help us convince the commissioners to deny this SMA permit. Once these precious lands are destroyed, we can never get them back. Neither can our children. Mahalo!
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