Channel: The Kaʻū Calendar News Briefs, Hawaiʻi Island
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Ka`u News Briefs Monday, Aug. 17, 2015

Ka`u resident Dick Hershberger presents A Walk into the Past tomorrow and every other Tuesday. Photo from KDEN
A CONTROVERSIAL POLICY IN THE DRAFT Ka`u Community Development Plan was on the agenda at Ka`u CDP Steering Committee’s meeting in Ocean View Saturday. Policy 20 calls for exploring the feasibility of establishing a redevelopment area, plan and agency to comprehensively address community challenges in nonconforming subdivisions such as Mark Twain, Green Sand and Ocean View. If community-based redevelopment strategies are feasible, the policy calls for county-provided technical assistance to communities and organizations pursuing those strategies.
Ka`u CDP Steering Committee members Ron Ebert and Patti Barry discusses
policies with Ka`u residents at Ocean View meeting. Photo by Ron Johnson
      Some Ocean View residents have considered Policy 20 to be an imposition by the county to change the nature their area, where many residents enjoy a private lifestyle in upper reaches of the subdivision. In his testimony at the meeting, Rell Woodward said there is no community support for redevelopment. “Ocean View will not depend on the county for infrastructure; we expect little county interference. We do things ourselves,” he said. Ralph Roland said Ocean View is so unique that you “can’t plan this place using formulas. We don’t need the county trying to upgrade us to Kona.”
      Ka`u CDP Project Manager Ron Whitmore said the actual purpose of the policy is to preserve Ocean View’s ag land and rural character. He said the county has never had plans to make people move from their remote homes into more concentrated, urban areas.
      Objectives of the policy are to encourage future settlement patterns that are safe, sustainable and connected. CDP documents say, “They should protect people and community facilities from natural hazards, and they should honor the best of Ka`u’s historic precedents: concentrating new commercial and residential development in compact, walkable, mixed-use town/village centers, allowing rural development in the rural lands and limiting development on shorelines.”
      Potential advantages stated in relation to the objectives are that the policy provides new opportunities to preserve ag land and rural character and to increase safety and improve hazard mitigation.
      Whitmore pointed to Puna as an example of an area without such a policy, where unmanaged growth created a situation in which residents must travel to Hilo for many goods and services.
      Whitmore also said the policy does not prohibit commercial uses in upper areas of Ocean View. He said businesses such as convenience stores could apply for special use permits and be considered case-by-case, with residents able to be involved in the process.
      Options considered at the meeting were to leave the policy unchanged, exclude Ocean View from the policy or delete it. Whitmore said that if Ocean View is excluded, future opportunities to preserve ag land and the area’s rural character may not be available.
      The Steering Committee meets tomorrow from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Na`alehu Community Center to discuss public comment and proposed CDP revisions regarding Coastal Development & Management.
      See kaucdp.info for more information, including how to contact committee members.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY OFFERS A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE on the proposed merger of Hawaiian Electric Co. and NextEra Energy, according to Life of the Land Executive Director Henry Curtis. 
      In its testimony to the Public Utilities Commission, the county stated that “we believe the Merger Docket may not provide enough frame to discover concrete evidence from the Applicants on ‘how we will get there,’ ‘how much it will cost’ and ‘what is the best business model that ensures and enables maximum benefits in the public interest.’”
      The county concluded that there is “inadequate information in the record to determine whether the merger is in the public interest.”
      To understand whether the proposal is in the public interest, the county said,“We must decipher which of the proclaimed benefits from the Applicants are real and deliverable as a result of the Merger and those that could be obtained by the HECO Companies through some other means, such as by internally through better practices.”
      Offsetting the benefits are risks, Curtis said and quoted the county: “We also must decrypt the real risks that come from this Merger and predict the trajectory of these risks, and possibly find some way of mitigating negative consequences — including the very real possibility that preferred solutions may be ‘crowded out.’”
      Curtis said, “Hawai`i has far higher penetration levels for intermittent wind and solar energy resources than any other modern grid. As a result, HELCO’s system operators are world-class leaders in integrating renewables onto the grid and handling grid disturbances. HELCO System Operators could teach a lot to NextEra.”
      Relating to HELCO’s knowledge, the county testified, “NextEra offers nothing specific regarding how the companies will be operated post-merger. Isolated Island Grid systems are very different than interconnected electric utilities on the mainland, and although NextEra desires that it wants to improve reliability, it most likely lacks an understanding on how to achieve it here. NextEra has not conducted any independent analysis of the HECO Companies electrical systems and claims it can’t get the answers it needs until after the merger is completed. NextEra asserts that the HECO Companies offers reliable service but NextEra will offer more reliable service.”
      According to Curtis, “the County is concerned that the 100 percent Renewable Portfolio Standards by 2045 might be sending the wrong message.” Curtis quotes county testimony that it may lead to “a tidal wave of projects … that have dubious technical merit and frightfully dubious economics.”
      See ililanimedia.blogspot.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

Pacific longline fishermen have already caught this year's quota of bigeye tuna.
Photo from World Wildlife
THE ANNUAL BIGEYE TUNA QUOTA of 3,502 metric tons in the Western and Central Pacific and the 500 metric ton quota in the Eastern Pacific have been fished by longliners, and the fisheries are closed to large boats earlier than expected, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. 
      A story in this morning’s Hawai`i Tribune Herald reports the closing of Hawai`i waters is earlier than usual. Journalist Ivy Ashe quotes Eric Kingma, international fisheries coordinator for the Western Pacific Fisheries Management Council, saying that about 20 percent of Hawai`i’s longline fleet is no longer able to fish for bigeye.
      “You’re impacting fishermen, one, and the Hawai`i seafood market,” Kingma said. “You’re reducing supply, but (also) potentially the quality of the fish. The impact to consumers is usually increased prices.”
      See hawaiitribune-herald.com.
      To comment on or like this story, go to facebook.com/kaucalendar.

HAWAI`I COUNTY COUNCIL HOLDS meetings at Council Chambers in Hilo this week. Committees meet tomorrow, with Governmental Relations & Economic Development meeting at 9 a.m.; Environmental Management, 9:30 a.m.; Public Works & Parks and Recreation, 11 a.m.; and Finance, 1 p.m. Environmental Management Committee continues its discussion of a bill that would limit county use of herbicides.
      The full council meets Wednesday at 9 a.m.
      Meetings are streamed live at hawaiicounty.gov. Click on Council Meetings. Agendas are available on the website.
      Na`alehu State Office Building offers videoconferencing as a means to testify without traveling to Hilo.

PERFORMANCES OF A WALK INTO THE PAST take place tomorrow and every other Tuesday at 10 a.m., 12 p.m. and 2 p.m. in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park. The program features living history presenter Dick Hershberger dressed in period costume and bringing back to life Thomas A. Jaggar, founder of Hawaiian Volcano Observatory. 
      Participants meet at Kilauea Visitor Center. Free; park entrance fees apply.
      Call 985-6011 for more information.

Ka`u girls volleyball teams start regular season action tomorrow.
Photo from KHPES
KA`U HIGH GIRLS VOLLEYBALL regular season starts tomorrow. Junior varsity and varsity teams travel to Honoka`a for matches beginning at 6 p.m. 

ADVOCATS OFFERS a spay and neuter clinic Wednesday from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Ocean View Community Center. Call 939-7033 for more information.

HULA AND HAWAIIAN MUSIC are featured Wednesday from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Kilauea Visitor Center’s lanai in Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, with Hilo-based Halau O Mailelaulani under the direction of kumu hula Mailelaulani Canario.
      Free; park entrance fees apply.
      For more information, call 985-6011.


BUSINESS SPACE IS AVAILABLE for rent at the open location where Kama`aina Kuts and Styles by Elise are located in Na`alehu. Call Corrine at 937-1840 for more information.

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