This way to the beach County to accept Kohanaiki frontage road
Developer-built route provides public access to shoreline
HILO — Access to the shoreline park at Kohanaiki should be easier, now that a new frontage road has been completed by developers of a luxury community there.
The County Council on Wednesday is set to accept the new road through Resolution 234. The public may testify on this item by signing up at 9 a.m. The meeting will be held in Hilo council chambers, but people may also testify via videoconference from the West Hawaii Civic Center, Pahoa council office, Naalehu state office building or the old Kohala courthouse.
The approximately one-third mile roadway, covering about 2.8 acres, was a condition of development of
of the 450-acre upscale neighborhood that includes a private Rees Jones- designed oceanfront golf course, beach club and a 67,000 square foot clubhouse and spa.
The region’s County Council representative and a local transportation aficionado don’t want to see the road end there, however. They’re pushing for the continuation of the road as an alternate route parallel to Queen Kaauhamanu Highway.
Kohanaiki is two miles south of Kona International Airport on one and a half miles of beachfront.
Under the agreement, the developer also donated the use of 108 acres and constructed a 38-acre coastal park with 121 parking spaces, toilets, showers and other amenities. The agreement, signed in 2003 by Mayor Harry Kim, followed 25 years of litigation and negotiation over shoreline access.
The roadways and improvements have been inspected and approved by the Department of Public Works, and received dedication approval from the Department of Water Supply, the Planning Department and the Department of Environmental Management, according to the county administration.
North Kona Councilwoman Karen Eoff was one of the members of the “Kohanaiki Ohana” group that fought for shoreline access to the area, which is home to the popular “Pine Trees” surf spot.
Eoff said she’s very glad to see the improvements. She toured the area Thursday with a county Public Works attorney.
“I am happy to see the completion and dedication of the Kohanaiki segment of the frontage road to the county,” Eoff said Friday. “This route and the corresponding signalized intersection at Hulikoa Drive offers a safe access for beachgoers to the Kohanaiki Shoreline Park as well as for residents of the Kohanaiki Shores development project.”
There’s currently a temporary signal paid for by the developer at the intersection, said Scott Bedingfield, Kohanaiki vice president of construction and development. A permanent signal will be installed later.
Bedingfield said the original plans called for a right-turn in, rightturn out intersection for the development. But Kohanaiki prevailed upon the state to go with a signal at the intersection instead. The state, the business park mauka of the development and Kohanaiki are sharing the cost of the signal.
“It’s way safer for our residents and public beach-goers as well,” Bedingfield said. “We were happy to do it. It’s the right thing to do.”
Eoff and Aaron Stene, a local resident who monitors transportation issues for his Facebook page, don’t want the county to stop there. The long-term plan is to continue the frontage road, and the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority has begun work on its segment from the Kaiminani Drive intersection to the NELHA intersection.
In between the two segments is a portion that currently has no commitment for a road segment.
“The frontage road along the makai side of Queen Kaauhamanu Highway is a goal and policy stated in Kona Community Development Plan,” Eoff said. “The long-range vision is for the frontage road to connect all the way from the airport to Kaloko Honokohau National Park.”
The park portion may be difficult to get moving, but Stene hopes the county will commit to joining the two segments by acquiring road right of way from the private hui that owns the middle portion.
“It would help with reducing congestion and helping traffic flow, especially getting vehicles off Queen Kaauhamanu that are going to NELHA,” he said. “I believe it’s worthwhile for the county to go forward on this. … I hope the administration makes this a priority project.”
Kohanaiki Realty Principal Broker Nicole Vincent said the development will include “just under 400 opportunities to own a home at Kohanaiki, including 100 custom lots.”
Lots range from $1 million to more $14 million and vary in size and location, including large estate lots with oceanfront views.
“The developer has also built a number of gorgeous and inspired ‘modern beach homes’ including single-family residences, open plan concept singlefloor homes and two-story town homes,” Vincent said in a statement. “With many options from three to five bedrooms, Kohanaiki’s homes range in price from $2.6 million to $6 million. The Club currently has close to 140 members and $300 million in sales since opening in spring of 2013.”
The entrance road to Kohanaiki, along with traffic roundabout and Ala Kohanaiki will be dedicated to the county.