HILO, Hawaii – Last week, the Hawaii County Council voted to halt making decisions on rezoning applications for projects in Hamakua, until the district’s development plan is adopted.
Hamakua councilwoman Valerie Poindexter introduced the resolution, as planners enter the final phases of creating a Community Development Plan, or CDP, for the district. CDPs are intended to provide guidance for future development in a given area. There are currently CDPs in place for Kona, North Kohala, South Kohala and Puna. Ka’u is also working on one, as well.
“I’m really afraid of the gentrification of the Hamakau Coast,” said Robert Nishimoto, one of the handful of community members to voice their support in public testimony on September 7th in Hilo. “This is just a temporary stall in order to reflect the wishes of the community.”
There was one voice of opposition, however. Myles Miyasato spoke out on behalf of labor unions. “This resolution is basically saying that we have a change coming, so let’s wait. That’s like saying our council will change, so let’s postpone any further action until the council changes,” Miyasato said. “Is this the right thing to do? No.”
County planning director Duane Kanuha reminded the council that the resolution is non-binding and will only effect council decisions. The planning department will continue to process applications.
The resolution passed with a 8 to 1 vote. Hilo’s councilmember Dennis “Fresh” Onishi was the no vote.