My Turn: Neighborhood too packed to add more

This letter is in response to the WHT front page article Jan. 7 about the proposed Kona Village Development. I attended a meeting where the developers were explaining what they were proposing to do with a 70-acre parcel of land between the Kona Vista subdivision, the Gomes property and the Pualani Estates subdivision.

The Kona Village developers want two easements across the Gomes property connecting to Pualani Estates for their proposed 450 condos. That would translate to between 600 to 700 cars accessing their project, overwhelming Pualani’s neighborhood and child-friendly community.

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When asked why they did not access Highway 11 directly form their proposed project, the developers stated that there were water runoff issues, even though directly across Highway 11 they were dedicating 12 acres for low-cost housing. When asked about the estimated 600 to 1,000 students for Kahakai Elementary, Konawaena Middle and High schools that their project would generate, their response was that they contribute to the general fund. Anyone living in Kona knows these funds do not create more classrooms. I spoke to both Konawaena Middle and High schools and they are overcapacity. In addition, the roads are already maxed out with traffic on the Highway 11 corridor. Adding another 600 to 700 cars would be disastrous.

It’s obvious that these developers are only considering their financial gain with no concern for the effect their development will have on the Pualani Estates and Kona Vistas subdivisions, traffic and schools. Putting a road from their project directly onto Highway 11 would be expensive, because a traffic light and merge lane, like Pualani Estates has, costs money. But imposing onto other subdivisions costs tremendously less, and if it negatively affects the residents and the values of those subdivisions, what do they care? And so what if the kids have their classes in the school fields? Again, no big deal.

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I hope the planning director, Leeward Planning Commission and Hawaii County Council look carefully at this proposed development and compare its many obvious negative effects on the Kona community with any positive effects it might have.

Joel Cooperson is a resident of Kailua-Kona.