Saturday, July 02, 2022 |
Share this story
A Taiwanese research institute has withdrawn its request to use land in Wood Valley to build a satellite receiver array.
The Academia Sinica Institute of Astronomy and Astrophysics submitted to the Windward Planning Commission a request for a special permit to build an array of 10 satellite dishes on a one-half acre rural lot in the sparsely populated area of Ka‘u.
However, on Monday, a contractor hired by ASIAA submitted a letter withdrawing that request, citing a negative response to the plan by the Wood Valley community.
“Out of respect for the community, we’ve decided to take our project elsewhere,” said Ming-Tang Chen, ASIAA’s deputy director for Hawaii Operations.
The Planning Department also recommended that the commission deny ASIAA’s request, because it would conflict with the goals of the county’s General Plan.
“This land has been identified as having high agricultural potential for agriculture uses and should be preserved,” read the Planning Department’s recommendation. “Thus, the proposed use will not promote the effectiveness and objectives of (the General Plan).”
Owners of neighboring Wood Valley properties submitted five petitions for standing in a contested case in advance of Thursday’s Planning Commission meeting, echoing the Planning Department’s concerns.
“The placement of this satellite project works against the culture, economy, and well-being of this small unique community,” wrote Stefan Taylor, whose residence is within 500 feet of the subject lot.
Taylor went on to write that the project would decrease the economic value of surrounding properties, increase traffic on already badly maintained roads, and would go against the spirit of the “historically honored agricultural zoned land” in the area.
“This experiment is inappropriate for agricultural zone,” wrote Sandra Reha, who also lives close to the project site. Reha recommended that ASIAA find another location in Ka‘u.
Chen said he is still looking for viable alternative sites, although he added that he hopes one can be found somewhere in Ka‘u. Because of the purpose of the satellite array — scanning space for mysterious radio signals called fast radio bursts — it must be constructed in a place with little radio interference.
The Windward Planning Commission meeting will take place at 9 a.m. Thursday.
Email Michael Brestovansky at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *