This way to the beach County to ac­cept Ko­hanaiki frontage road

De­vel­oper-built route pro­vides pub­lic ac­cess to shore­line

West Hawaii Today - - Front Page - BY NANCY COOK LAUER ncook-lauer@west­hawai­ito­day.com

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.”

LAURA RUMINSKI/ WEST HAWAII TO­DAY

The en­trance road to Ko­hanaiki, along with traf­fic round­about and Ala Ko­hanaiki will be ded­i­cated to the county.

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