Hawaii County is moving forward with a nearly $1 million improvement project at Laaloa Bay Beach Park in Kailua-Kona.
The Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking a special management area use permit to allow for some $930,000 in improvements at the 0.43-acre site located off Alii Drive that’s also known as Magic Sands Beach Park.
The county is looking to demolish the current comfort station opened in 1976 and replace it with an American with Disabilities Act compliant facility, as well as add ADA-compliant parking. In addition, the proposal calls for new accessible showers; accessible picnic table and barbecue grill; and accessible walkways and ramps connecting the park to Alii Drive and a nearby bus stop.
Also included are related and necessary replacements/improvements to drain sumps, sand interceptors, utility tie-ins and waterlines, pavement reconstruction and restriping, as well as removal of two banyans. The improvement would also keep water from the showers from entering the ocean.
Planning Director Zendo Kern suggested the commission to give the request a favorable recommendation when forwarding it to the County Council for approval.
After reviewing the application, he said it was determined the proposed work would not have any significant adverse environmental or ecological effects, which was the same finding from last summer’s final environmental assessment for the project.
“The applicant has considered the risk of sea level rise (SLR) and determined that given the long-time scenario and uncertainty associated with the risk, it is still prudent to undertake this project. The public benefits outweigh a no action alternative which could lead to losing critical functionality at a heavily used public recreational site,” the planning director’s recommendation read.
No project timeline has been provided, however, the application states that shortly after all the necessary permits are obtained, construction will begin. Work is expected to take about a year.
Parks and Recreation Director Maurice Messina did not respond for comment on the application, including on whether funding has been allocated and when work could begin, as of press-time Monday. Some $25 million for ADA compliance and $10 million for facility repairs and improvements to funded via bonds were included in the fiscal 2021-22 budget approved by the County Council earlier this month.
The Hawaii County Leeward Planning Commission is set to take up the request during its meeting slated for Wednesday at the West Hawaii Civic Center in Kailua-Kona. The meeting is closed to the public, however, it can be viewed via live stream on the Planning Department’s YouTube page. Testimony had to be submitted by Monday.
Also during Wednesday’s meeting, the commission will take up Jekaterina Mysin’s application for a special management area use permit to construct a five-story, six-unit condominium and related improvements on 9,934 square feet on the makai side of Alii Drive, south of Alii Gardens Marketplace.