My Turn: Project will diminish quality of life for residents
In 2018 Zendo Kern, the then-paid consultant for the developers of “Royal Vistas,” made a pitch to homeowners in Kona Vistas, the subdivision adjacent to his proposed project. He attempted to “sell the idea” by covering up the damage that his firm would do to an entire ecosystem, by grubbing the land of all trees and vegetation, so he and his partners could build 450 high-density, high-rise housing units in a flood plain.
Fast forward to 2022: Kern is now planning director for our island. He has authority to approve their revised application for this project, which is on his desk. Any “conflict of interest” concerns here? None, according to Mayor Mitch Roth.
Reasons to oppose this include, and are not limited to:
• The Traffic on Hwy 11 creates gridlock for police, fire and medical emergency vehicles. (Remember the recent fire that closed Highway 11 and Kuakini Highway?)
• No plans or funding to widen Highway 11. It’s a state highway, the state dictates any improvements.
• Water restrictions, shortages, aging water wells.
• Several additional Developments also slated in this area.
• Access will be through small neighborhood streets without sidewalks, road shoulders, curbs or gutters.
• Flooding (building site is a flood plain), lack of sewer capacity during heavy rainfall (when sewage goes directly into the ocean).
• Shortage of doctors and teachers, limited access to basic support services.
• No archaeological preservation for burials, artifacts, walls of Holualoa Slide, and more.
• Habitat destruction of endangered species, including Hawaiian hawks, owls, and bats.
• No provision for affordable housing units included.
• Short-term vacation rental units are part of this project. STVRs add noise, traffic, multi-family rentals of single units, and property damage, etc.
This project will severely diminish the quality of life for thousands of residents. It should not be approved until all necessary infrastructure is in place.
Janice Kerr is a resident of Kailua-Kona.