(BIVN) – A key component in the plan for the future Village 9 homeless shelter in Kealakehe is set to be decided this week.
On Friday, Oct. 13, the Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources will vote on a proposal to set aside 35 acres of Government lands of The Villages of La’i’Opua to the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation for “affordable housing and related purposes with an Immediate Management Right-of-Entry,” the agenda documents say.
The right-of-entry, onto 5 of the 35 acres, is being requested by the County of Hawaii for the purpose of establishing an emergency homeless encampment. The county has also requested a long-term lease from HHFDC for 15-20 acres of the subject parcel for development of a more permanent facility., the documents say.
The county discussed the idea at length during a recent Hawaii County Council meeting in Kona.
The Department of Land and Natural Resources staff recommends the BLNR “declare that, after considering the potential effects of the proposed disposition as provided by Chapter 343, HRS, and Chapter 11-200, HAR, this project will probably have minimal or no significant effect on the environment and is therefore exempt from the preparation of an environmental assessment.”
In its remarks, DLNR detailed the complex modern history of the Village 9 parcel dating back to 1990:
The subject parcel is currently unencumbered. However, it is subject to a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Board of Land and Natural Resources and HHFDC. At its meeting of June 22, 1990, item F-4, the Board approved a MOU with an amendment that the final language and form of the MOU was subject to review and change by the Office of the Attorney General (AG).
The final AG approved MOU was fully executed on January 4, 1993. The MOU acknowledged HHFDC responsibility for effectuating the Governor’s Comprehensive Housing Program pursuant to §10-13.6, HRS, effectively transferring development rights to HHFDC. The plan was for HHFDC to develop a master planned community known as the Villages of La’i’opua consisting of approximately 3,300 residential units on about 808 acres of lands
Due to the ceded lands litigation filed in 1994, development of the Villages of La’i’opua was suspended and the balance of the ceded lands portion were eventually transferred to DHHL with Board approval at its meeting of August 27, 2004, item D-8. However, the subject parcel was excluded from the transfer to be held by HHFDC for future hospital and residential development.
On January 28, 2005, the HHFDC Board of Directors approved returning development rights of the subject parcel to Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) for the development of the Kona Community Hospital by Hawaii Health Systems Corporation. HHFDC retained a reversionary interest to the development rights, to be exercised if the hospital project did not commence by December 31, 2010. The hospital project has been planned for an alternate location and the development rights reverted to the HHFDC.
On November 15, 2011, the HHFDC Board of Directors approved the subordination of HHFDC’s development rights for the Kona Judiciary Complex to be developed on the subject parcel with any remaining area to be available to HHFDC for development of affordable housing. The development rights were to revert to HHFDC if the Kona Judiciary Complex was not complete by December 31, 2016. The Kona Judiciary Complex has been sited at an alternate location.
DLNR has maintained ownership and management of the subject parcel until such time that HHFDC indicated it was ready to develop the property. By letter dated August 29, 2017, the County of Hawaii (C0H) requested a right-of-entry onto approximately 5 acres of the subject parcel for the purpose of establishing an emergency homeless encampment. The CoH has also requested a long-term lease from HHFDC for 15-20 acres of the subject parcel for development of a more permanent facility.
After consultation between DLNR, HHFDC and CoH, the most practical course of action is for DLNR to set aside the subject parcel to HHFDC who will then work directly with CoH to issue the right-of-entry, ensure compliance with Chapter 343, subdivide the parcel, designate any necessary access/utility easements, negotiate a long-term lease and/or any other actions required to develop the property.
Therefore, HHFDC has requested that DLNR set aside the subject parcel to HHFDC for the purpose of developing affordable housing and related purposes. It is also requesting an immediate right-of-entry for management purposes. The requested action was approved by the HHFDC Board of Directors at its meeting of September 14, 2017.