50 units proposed for Alii Drive

  • A 50-unit residential community is proposed across from Pahoehoe Beach Park in Kailua-Kona. (Laura Ruminski/West Hawaii Today)

KAILUA-KONA — The Leeward Planning Commission next month will consider two applications related to a proposed 50-unit residential community across from Pahoehoe Beach Park in Kailua-Kona with 26 of its units intended to be affordable housing.

The applicant behind the project, Kulani View LLC, plans to pursue the project through the state’s Chapter 201H process, which exempts certain developments from some zoning and development rules and laws, to make the project a reality.

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That law requires a majority of a project’s housing units be affordable to households with incomes at or below 140 percent of the area median income of $70,100.

But before that process can get underway, the developer must first get a special management area use permit and have the parcel reclassified from the state’s agricultural district into the urban district. Because the property is smaller than 15 acres, reclassification can be handled on the county level.

The Leeward Planning Commission is scheduled to consider both requests at its meeting on Aug. 15.

The $17.7 million project is planned for a roughly 8.8-acre rectangular parcel on the mauka side of Alii Drive across from Pahoehoe Beach Park in Kailua-Kona.

The northern boundary of the parcel runs just over 1,600 feet makai-mauka, according to a county environmental report. The parcel is about 175 feet at its makai end and broadens to a little under 500 feet on the mauka side.

The area of this proposed project is a little over half a mile south of a 14,450-square-foot lot where a developer had proposed a five-story condominium near the Banyans surf spot.

Earlier this month, the developer behind that proposal agreed to take that plan off the table and work toward making the parcel a public space.

In total, the Kulani View project is planned to have 50 units — 26 of them affordable housing and the rest market rate — across three buildings on the parcel.

All of the affordable housing rental units will be housed within a single two-story structure no more than 25 feet tall. Twelve will be single-bedroom units and 14 will be two-bedroom units.

The 24 market-rate rentals will be divided between two structures: a two-story, eight-unit building with a max height of 25 feet and a three-story, 16-unit building with a max height of 45 feet. Plans for the project show a maximum height of just under 36 feet.

Additionally, the project plan includes a 3,662-square foot common area with a community room and fitness center as well as a swimming pool, tennis court and playground.

The project also includes plans for 150 public parking stalls for Laaloa Beach Park, located to the south of the project area.

Ever since the county closed the parking lot for that beach park in May 2017, patrons have been asked to park either along Alii Drive or at Kipapa Park, which is located across the street from Laaloa Beach Park.

The county environmental report also said the project won’t affect historic and cultural resources in the area. One site in the area is recommended for preservation that has and will continue to be preserved.

Access to the property would be via Alii Drive, and the environmental report cites a traffic impact analysis report as saying that “maximum 18 and 22 vehicular trips would be generated during the project’s AM and PM peak hour, respectively.”

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The report also said the developer wants to develop the project all at once. Hopefully, the report said, the whole project can be completed within two years of getting the land reclassified and approval of the 201H application.

A representative for the applicant was not available on Monday to speak about the project.

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