Upcoming Development Meetings
Windward Planning Commission meetings are usually held the first Thursday of the month, starting at 9 a.m. at Aupuni Conference Center, 101 Pauahi Street, Hilo, Hawaii 96720. Due to COVID-19, meetings may be held online. For more information, check https://www.planning.hawaiicounty.gov/about-us/boards-committees/planning-commission-applications
General Plan Update
The County's existing General Plan was adopted in 2005. According to the plan, the comprehensive review process shall be initiated no more than 10 years after the previous review. The comprehensive update process began in February 2015. The disruption caused by the volcanic eruption in 2018, slowed down the process considerably since the Planning Department staff had to focus on urgent eruption-related issues and consequences.
The draft plan covers topics including affordable housing, agriculture, climate change, disaster preparedness, environmental conservation, public access recreation, public safety, roads, transportation and visitor accommodation.
The Draft General Plan for 2040 is now available for review. The comment period ended October 31, 2019 and now the edits recommended during the comment period are being incorporated. Once finalized, the updated draft will be considered by the island’s two planning commissions and then the County Council for formal adoption, a process that probably won’t be complete until late 2020. More information about the General Plan review and adoption process can be found here.
Hamakua Community Development Plan
CDPs with Respect to the General Plan
The 2005 General Plan established a process—the Community Development Plan (CDP) program—to translate island-wide goals and priorities put forth in the General Plan into action-items that could be executed on a district level. The General Plan provides the island-wide vision, so CDPs can stay focused on local policies that achieve the overall vision for Hawai‘i County.
The Hāmākua CDP was adopted in August 2018 after nine years of work by the Steering Committee and Hāmākua community members. It is essential to actively participate in the General Plan Update process NOW given the fact that, if there is a conflict between the Hāmākua CDP and the General Plan, the General Plan will prevail.
August 2019 marked the confirmation of the inaugural Hāmākua Community Development Plan Action Committee members by Hawaiʻi County Council.
Plans from Private Developers
Private developers play a major role in the future of Hakalau. The Shropshire Group, LLC is the major developer in the Hakalau kuleana, including:
Ninole Development Update
In January 2015, the Windward Planning Commission approved a Special Management Area Use Permit for the Shropshire Group, LLC, for a property located along Highway 19 fronting Mile Marker 19 at Waikaumalo. This development is called Ninole Sea Cliffs.
Community concerns expressed prior to approval related to impact on the view plane, insufficient space between the highway and the cliffs, contamination from the former gas station/garage on the site, and cliff instability.
Toxic chemicals, particularly arsenic, were used extensively on sugar plantations. The former Hakalau Plantation pesticide mixing site on Hakalau Point contains significant concentrations of arsenic that require cleanup. Contamination spread downslope of the pesticide mixing site due to drainage and spread to other areas Hakalau Point as the result of grading of the site.
Cliff Failures and Landslides
Cliffs along the Hamakua coast are subject to failure and pose a major challenge for development and major threat to the property owner and the natural environment.
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In 2001, C. Brewer put all of its Hamakua Coast property on the seller’s block, including former Hakalau Plantation property. The land was snapped up, mostly by bulk buyers who began reselling it in smaller parcels. This land is the nexus for development.
Future development of Hakalau is driven by the Hawai`i County General Plan, the Hamakua Community Development Plan, private developers, and the residents of the area. There are a variety of ways in which the public can provide input regarding development of Hakalau: Windward Planning Commission meetings, Hamakua Community Development Plan meetings, community discussions, petitions.
Hakalau Point, circa 2010
Current focus of development