KAILUA-KONA — A North Kona park proposed several decades ago could be coming to fruition.
Hawaii One1 Investors LLC will construct the first phase of the long-planned park on Laaloa Avenue off Alii Drive as part of its fair-share agreement in exchange for zoning and use permits from Hawaii County. The changes, approved more than a decade ago, allow for the development of La‘ipala Makai, a 62-unit planned unit development to be built south of Queen Kalama Avenue.
The park’s first phase, expected to cost $2 million to 3 million, would include a playing field, comfort station with an attached lanai, driveway, parking lot for approximately 40 vehicles, sidewalks and fencing.
Also to be completed would be graveled space ready for a tennis and basketball courts and sufficient open space for a playground, which may be constructed by the county Department of Parks and Recreation in the future. Subsequent phases would be the county’s kuleana.
The value of the park improvements will be credited against the required fair share contributions for La‘ipala Makai, and if the full amount is not expended it will be given to the county for “future recreational improvements in the area,” the EA states.
The County of Hawaii Department of Parks and Recreation anticipates a finding of no significant impact (FONSI) for the project. A draft environmental assessment was published Sunday kicking off a 30-day comment period that ends May 8.
The park, which would serve an estimated 550 homes comprising 1,400 residents in the area, would be the only site for recreation within the 300-acre area other than Laaloa, also known as Magic Sands, Beach Park.
It would be built on 6.365 acres of county land situated north of Laaloa Avenue and mauka of the proposed Alii Highway, also referred to as the Kahului to Keauhou Parkway.
The environmental document did not provide an estimate of when the project would commence and Hawaii County Park Planner James Komata was unable to be reached for additional details. The developer also didn’t return a message Tuesday.
Before work can begin, a final environmental assessment must be completed, plans must be approved by the Planning Department, and building and other associated permits, including a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System Permit permit, secured. The park is a requirement of a Special Management Area permit that was previously secured.
The acreage on which the park will be built is a portion of a 10.795-acre property conveyed to the county in 2001 by Town Development Hawaii to build Keauhou View Estates and Alii Heights as a condition of zoning changes and permit approvals.
It was supposed to be developed as a park by the Kona YMCA, however, that did not occur, and after more than a decade, the county subdivided the park, assuming ownership of the 6.365 acres. The Hawaii Island YMCA retained ownership of 4.43 acres mauka of the county parcel.
Wendy Cortez, Hawaii Island YMCA executive director, was not available for comment Tuesday.
In the environmental document released this week, it states the YMCA land is planned for eventual use as a passive park with walking facilities and, potentially, pavilions or other facilities for gathering.
“The timing and other details of this project are insufficiently developed to analyze potential cumulative construction or traffic impacts. However, it will complement the facilities at the subject park and the cumulative recreational impacts are expected to be beneficial,” the EA reads.
Comments on the draft EA, which can be viewed online at https://bit.ly/2JBDQjy, should be sent to the county Department of Parks and recreation with copies to the applicant, HawaiiOne1 Investors LLC, and consultant, Geometrician Associates.