Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs April 25, 2013

A new program at Kahuku Unit of Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park offers views of Ka Lae. NPS photo by Dave Boyle
A VARIANCE TO ALLOW GRASS FOR ABOUT HALF THE ADDITIONAL PARKING at the new Ka`u Gymnasium and Disaster shelter building has been approved by the county Department of Planning. With the gym designed to accommodate 1,023 people, the county is ensuring 285 parking places, with 122 already paved at the school, 75 unpaved and 88 new paved stalls. The variance document says, “The grassed parking area was created to accommodate the community’s desire to leave a large amount of open grass parking area as possible.”
Variances for the Ka`u Gym & Shelter have been approved, allowing for a
 higher-than-permitted roof and some parking spaces to remain grassed. 
      The Planning Department document says, “The project site is entirely grassed and has been used for overflow grass parking when school or community functions occur at the school. Therefore, the proposed project will not create any adverse condition as it is consistent with the present campus grounds.”
      Another variance approved by the county is for the height limit. The building will be 47.5 feet tall at its peak. County documents say, “While the (35-foot) height limit is appropriate for residential development, design and requirements for public facilities such as schools, universities, etc. differ significantly from single family residential requirements.... The proposed new gymnasium building requires an indoor ceiling height to be high enough for basketball shots or volleyball volleys, therefore requiring a building height much higher than the maximum height limit of 35 feet allowed for residential-zoned properties.
      “The plantation style roofline, resulting in a taller structure, allows for higher ceiling spaces which will enhance natural ventilation and introduction and distribution of natural light to interior spaces.”
      Another variance grants construction of the gym on property zoned for single-family homes.

`Io, Hawaiian Hawk Photo by J. Jeffrey from NRDC
REGARDING LIGHTING FOR THE GYM AND SHELTER, the plan states that, regarding potential distraction to night-flying birds from exterior lighting, the “design will specify minimal shielded security lighting.” All other exterior lighting would be turned on only as needed and designed in accordance with the county’s exterior lighting standards. 
      Regarding noise and dark sky impacts to neighbors, the plan says, “Operational policies will require activities to cease no later than 10 p.m. Except for minimal shielded security lights, all outdoor parking lights and interior lights would be turned off no later than 10 p.m.”
      It also promises that, “to minimize the threat of disorientation or downing of (native birds), such as the ‘Io (Hawaiian Hawk) and other birds, all exterior lighting will be shielded in compliance with Section 14-50, Hawai`i County Code, and night-time construction will be avoided.”
      Exterior lights are to be shielded so as to lower the ambient glare caused by unshielded lighting to the astronomical observatories on Mauna Kea.
The document also states that the project “will not significantly affect the views of neighboring residents. The plantation-style roofline and corrugated material will complement the architectural style of the surrounding buildings.”
      Concerning landscaping, it says, “The building landscape will attempt to utilize the maximum amount of native species feasible or plants that have proven to be adaptable to the area.”

Sen. Russell Ruderman
Sen. Josh Green
A BILL THAT WOULD REDUCE oversight of historic and archaeological sites is opposed by both Ka`u state senators, Josh Green and Russell Ruderman, but has made it through conference committee meetings between the House and Senate and goes to a floor vote. Sen. Kalani English, from Maui, who initially supported the bill but changed his mind, proposed the bill be shelved until next year. The Honolulu Star-Advertiser this morning reported English voting against the bill Wednesday in conference committee, saying he would like the state to have more time to discuss the issue with opponents. “Dozens of Native Hawaiian students and other activists have protested against the bill at the state Capitol,” the Star-Advertiser reports.
      The bill would allow projects to be approved before complete archaeological surveys are done for the entire project area. Most professional archaeologists and academic archaeologists working in Hawai`i and numerous historians have opposed it.
Sen. Gil Kahele
Rep. Cynthia Thielen
      Rep. Cynthia Thielen wrote that SB1171 “is the same kind of broad, over-reaching exemption as the Public Land Development Corp. It’s unnecessary and will have bad consequences. This bill allows that any large-scale private development in the heart of an area rife with burials – say Turtle Bay – could argue that since their financing is phased, their surveys should be phased too.
      “The problem is you need to design your open space areas and your developed areas around the survey. If you survey in phases, you commit to a design that may actually disrupt the most important historic sites,” said Thielen.
      The Society for Hawaiian Archaeology is asking residents to call legislators to ask for a no vote.
      One of the local senators who has voted yes, to date, is Gil Kahele.

BUY LOCAL at sponsoring area businesses during Ka`u Coffee Festival season and earn chances to win $1,000. Visit any or all of the participating Buy Local sponsors from now until May 4 to enter the Buy Local, It Matters drawing. To enter, bring business cards, product labels or receipts from participating Buy Local sponsors to the Ka`u Coffee Festival Ho`olaule`a at Pahala Community Center by 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 4. The more Buy Local sponsors visited, the more chances to win. Winner must be present at the time of the drawing at 4 p.m. 
      See kaucoffeefest.com for details and a list of participating Buy Local sponsors.

KA`U COFFEE FESTIVAL EVENTS begin tomorrow with the Miss Ka`u Coffee Pageant at 6:30 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill. Call Gloria Camba at 928-8558 or see candidates for $10 advance-purchase tickets.
      Tomorrow is the deadline to enter Triple C Recipe Contest for cookies, candies and crackers using Ka`u Coffee and other local ingredients. Entry forms are available at Ka`u Coffee Mill, R&G Store and Pahala Plantation Cottages in Pahala. The contest takes place Sunday at 2 p.m. at Ka`u Coffee Mill.

Crystal and Saphire's Water Cycle
Photos by Susan Champeny
KA`U STUDENTS ARE AMONG WINNERS of Recycle Hawai`i’s Art of Recycling school competition in the Elementary Group category. Students at Volcano School of Arts & Sciences took first place with Over Under. Na`alehu School third-grade students Crystal Quiros and Saphire Kahakua-Brown won third place with Crystal & Saphire’s Water Cycle.
      Recycle Hawai`i holds the contest annually to increase environmental awareness and encourage recycling and sustainable practices at schools and in the community. See recyclehawaii.org.

VOLCANO GARDEN ARTS in Volcano Village hosts Artists in Action Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. This day of demonstrations and hands-on activities is a fundraiser for the art program at Volcano School of Arts and Sciences.

Over Under by VSAS students
KAHUKU UNIT OF HAWAI`I VOLCANOES NATIONAL PARK presents a new program Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. From an overlook on Palm Trail, rangers orient hikers to numerous prominent geologic features of the many eruptions of the Southwest Rift Zone and discuss natural processes that created these features and the cultural traditions associated with them. Participants are invited to bring and eat lunch during the program. Call 985-6011 for more information.
JUNIOR CLASS RODEO, sponsored by Ka`u Roping & Riding Association, takes place Saturday at Na`alehu Rodeo Arena behind Na`alehu Park. Tickets are $7, and keiki ages 12 and under get in free. Slack roping starts at 8 a.m., with the show starting at noon.

VOLCANO ART CENTER invites the public to what it calls “an elemental journey into the heart and soul of the “aina” with Liz Miller and John Matsushita Saturday at 6 p.m. at VAC Gallery in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The artists provide insight into their works currently on display in The Nature of Nature exhibit. The program is free; park entrance fees apply. Call 967-7565 or see volcanoartcenter.org for more information.


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