LAND USE & HOUSING
It is no secret that local residents island wide are struggling with the costs and availability of housing. The newly enacted Kauai General Plan, though not perfect, is packed with forward looking ideas to help solve the housing problem, as well as other land use ideas to preserve and protect Kauai. But none of these good ideas will be realized and put into action without intelligent and comprehensive amendment of the County Zoning Code and other land use laws.
Some specific land use changes that I would work to implement include:
Providing for higher density mixed use development in our urban and town centers to provide much needed housing while simultaneously preserving open space.
Enforcement of all existing public access ways to our beaches and mountains
The gradual elimination of Transient Vacation Rentals outside of Visitor Destination Areas
The preservation of agricultural lands and actual enforcement of agricultural use requirements moving forward
A prohibition of new seawalls on the shoreline along with clarifying and enforcing shoreline setback requirements to preserve our beaches
Placing time limits on development permits so they expire if not acted on in a reasonable period of time
Supporting the continued rejuvenation of the Lihue Town Core and exploring similar projects for Waimea, Hanapepe, Koloa, and Kapaa.
Further incentivizing private landowners to build affordable residential housing through tax incentives
Pot holes and traffic, or traffic and pot holes depending on the day of the week, are probably the two most common topics of complaint on Kauai. The County Council recently took a positive first step to remedy these two problems when it acted to add a half percent to the General Excise Tax expressly to fund transportation improvements. Moving forward I support:
Implementing an aggressive program of road resurfacing using best practices to ensure long lasting road improvements
Continuing to improve the Kauai Bus with more frequent service seven days a week
Completing the Ke Ala Hele Makalae path on the east side
Supporting the development of a north shore park and ride, a north shore shuttle, and enforcement of parking regulations to reduce congestion west of Hanalei Bridge
Working to create safe, walkable, and bikeable neighborhoods and town centers
A SUSTAINABLE TOURISM INDUSTRY
I want to work to rebalance the resident/tourist equation on Kauai. Tourism is an integral part of Kauai’s economy, and tourism can continue to be a valuable and sustainable source of jobs and economic activity. However, the current volume and intensity of unregulated tourism has entirely overwhelmed the public resources, beaches, and recreational areas that draw tourists to Kauai in the first place. Not only does this free-for-all destroy the visitors’ experience, but it breeds a culture of resentment and animosity among Kauai residents.
Rather than the continued unequivocal promotion of tourism at all costs, we should refocus our efforts on improving our island for those who live here. We need to improve our parks, public spaces, and transportation system for those that live and work on Kauai. If we build and maintain these resources for our residents, we can then share them with visitors in a controlled and sustainable way, which ultimately improves the quality of the visitor experience while preserving our public spaces.
Healthy watersheds, aquifers, streams, and rivers are critically important as the base sources for our drinking water, but also for their central role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem and coastal marine environment where we fish and play. Far too often our inland and coastal waters are polluted by uncontrolled runoff and the leakage of outdated and now unlawful cesspools.
We must work with the state to enhance protection of mountain watersheds, implement development practices in the coastal plain to reduce contamination of our streams and rivers as much as possible, and cooperatively work to facilitate the elimination of private cesspools.
WASTE & RECYCLING
The Kekaha Land Fill is nearing its present capacity and will eventually need to be closed. The County is simultaneously working to temporarily extend the life of our current landfill while siting a new land fill at Ma'alo near Lihue. While recycling and green waste programs to reduce the flow of solid waste to our landfill are often criticized for their expense and for not paying for themselves, closing our existing landfill and creating a new landfill will costs tens of millions of dollars, dwarfing the costs of these diversion programs.
I believe we need to continue to work to simplify and expand our current green waste and recycling programs, while exploring opportunities to expand into other areas such as the recycling of food waste. These programs cost money, but dumping everything in a giant hole in the ground costs even more in the long term.
POLICE, FIRE & OCEAN SAFETY
During the unprecedented flooding in April, our first responders demonstrated their commitment to keeping us all safe, and showed how important a part of our community they are. Moving forward I will:
Work to provide KPD with the resources necessary to maintain the Department's recently awarded national accreditation
Work to restore liability protection for our ocean safety officers
Work with a soon to be appointed new Fire Chief to continue to upgrade KFD equipment and older stations in Kapaa and Waimea