Posted 1-24-2024

Planning Commission Helps Pinkston


On January 9, 2024, Pinkston was once again granted a preliminary subdivision approval for the development he proposes to build in Kukuiula. With the homes he plans to build in Kukuiula and the 280 luxury vacation rental condominiums he has planned for Kia Huna Drive, once build the collective impact of these units on the south shore will be an additional 1,200 to 1,500 visitors added to the south shore. None of the units are affordable and none of them are likely to be occupied by full time residents.

No, our County administration hasn’t handed Pinkston the Koloa/Poipu area on a silver platter yet. Granting him a new preliminary subdivision approval again after he allowed the initial approval to lapse in February 2023, is unfortunately a first step. We need to remain vigilant and with your support, we intend to keep fighting. They are sure not making it easy for those who know that the south shore is already overcrowded and our natural resources/beaches/reefs/seals/honu and marine life, all seriously overburdened.

Pinkston’s Kukuiula proposed project would be right across the street from the Kukuiula boat harbor, just beyond the fence that borders Lawai Road. Before he can begin construction, he needs to comply with and obtain a shoreline management area permit if he builds any structures that exceed $500,000 in value in the SMA portion of his parcels. He also needs to obtain a NPDES permit for the grading and construction runoff which will put mud and construction debris into the waters of the boat harbor. He also has to receive clearance or approval from the US Fish and Wildlife for a protected or endangered species in the area likely to be impacted by his project. Agency comments are requested by the Planning Department whenever a preliminary subdivision approval is applied for. Unfortunately, our County granted Pinkston’s application without waiting for a response from the US Fish and Wildlife or the Kauai County Water Department. They are not suppose to grant applications when they don’t have the agency comments because they may learn why the application should not be granted. The pressure from developers and our current Mayor’s desire to increase development on Kauai encourages the Planning Department to violate its own rules.

A copy of the testimony filed by FOM in opposition to the development is shared below. Many in the community turned out to testify. The comments and testimonies offered were compelling. The link that follows will allow you to watch the communities desperate pleas. At 2 hour and 4 minutes into the meeting, our Planning Director, Kaaina Hull begins the discussion about the Parks Department not having the resources to maintain that beach park so they have not required Kukuiula to transfer the deed despite a County Ordinance that required them to do so as a condition of their development. At 2 hours 7 minutes and 20 seconds, Kaiana Hull states on camera that he really doesn’t care what happens in Kukuiula. There are several interesting issues that were flushed out during the meeting. The Planning Director tried to calm the community by claiming that lawn/park area where the canoes sit adjacent to the Kukuiula Small Boat Harbor would always be accessible to the public and could not be developed. When FOM testified, we shared with the audience that that grassy lawn/park area is still held by and deeded to Kukuiula. The Director said that while that was accurate, a condition of development was that Kukuiula was to transfer the deed to that land to the County so the County could make sure it was always open for public use. He explained however that the Parks Department has limited resources and the Parks Department has asked that the deed not be transferred because the County Parks Department doesn’t want to take on the burden of mowing that grassy area. We pointed out that as long as Kukuiula holds the title to the land, County administrations can change, Planning Department personnel can change and there is nothing to stop Kukuiula development from seeking a modification of that development condition, keeping the land for themselves and their use. Even though the area is open to the public and is not expected to be gated, the effect of adding at least 350 people a night with the visitor destination units Pinkston plans to build in Kukuiula will likely prevent local residents from the Kukuiula Harbor use they now enjoy because the beach and parking area will be taken by visitors. 

01092024 Planning Commission Meeting Video Pinkston

——– Forwarded Message ——–

Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2024 19:45:33 -1000
To: Planning Department <[email protected]>
Reply-To: [email protected]
From: Bridget Hammerquist <[email protected]>
Subject: Agenda Item G(1)(c): Preliminary Subdivision Map Approval
Cc: County Council <[email protected]>, Council Testimony <[email protected]>, Dee Morikawa <[email protected]>, Senator Ronald Kouchi <[email protected]>, [email protected]

Friends of Maha’ulepu                                                                  1/07/2024

To: The Kauai Planning Commission
       4444 Rice Street, Suite A473
       Lihue, HI 96766
       Phone: (808) 241-4050
       Email: [email protected]

From: Friends of Maha‘ulepu

Aloha Chair and Members of the Kauai County Planning Commission and Subdivision Committee,

Subject: Agenda Item G(1)(c): Preliminary Subdivision Map Approval, Subdivision Application No. S-2024-6. Kukui’ula Parcel HH Subdivision, BBCP Kukui‘ula  Infrastructure, LLC/ MP Kaua‘i HH Development Fund, LLC for Proposed 3-lot, Consolidation and Re-subdivision into 51-lots TMK: (4) 2-6-019: 026, 029, 031 Koloa, Kaua‘i. Before the Subdivision Committee 8:30 am January 9, 2024, 4444 Rice Street, Planning Conference Rooms A & B.

Please find below Friends of Māhāʻulepu’s comment on Item G(1)(c): Preliminary Subdivision Map Approval, Subdivision Application No. S-2024-6. Kukui’ula Parcel HH Subdivision, BBCP Kukui‘ula  Infrastructure, LLC/ MP Kaua‘i HH Development Fund, LLC for Proposed 3-lot, Consolidation and Re-subdivision into 51-lots TMK: (4) 2-6-019: 026, 029, 031 Koloa, Kaua‘i.

  1.  Applicant should be required to establish compliance with existing laws prior to obtaining further approvals from this Commission.

Applicant MP Kaua‘i HH Development Fund, LLC/BBCP Kukui‘ula  Infrastructure, LLC, both variously owned by foreign developer Gary Pinkston (Applicant) must first show it complies with existing obligations before the Commission grants further approval of its preliminary subdivision map.

         For instance, staff recommend:

        (e) Relative to the requirements/standards set forth in Ordinance No. 777 and Section 8-4.5(d) of the Kauai County Code (1987), the Applicant shall resolve with the Planning Department the provision of public access, and more specifically, access to Lawai Road from the proposed residential subdivision.

        The subdivider shall incorporate the features of the Conceptual Trail Master Plan (dated April 2004) within the project area, if applicable. The access plan shall be reviewed and approved by both the Planning and Parks & Recreation Departments. Furthermore, proper documents shall be prepared and ready for execution prior to final subdivision approval. The Planning Department reserves the right to impose additional conditions relating to this matter while in the process of resolving this condition.

        (f) There shall be no vehicular access permitted onto Lawai Road from proposed Lot 50. Semi-circles denoting no vehicular access permitted shall be shown on the final subdivision map. These provisions shall be incorporated as a restrictive covenant for the subject lot, draft copies of which shall be submitted to the Planning, Department for review and approval.

Staff report at 4. Drawings from May 26, 2023 do not show the project will utilize Lawai Road, but these conditions appear to anticipate its use. These issues should be addressed prior to approval of the preliminary subdivision map because the Commission may lack authority to do so when presented with the final subdivision map.

        Traffic mitigation is unclear. The staff report only requires Applicant to comply with existing Ordinance PM 2004-370 regarding “7. (improvements to the roadway system)” and not until after approval of the preliminary subdivision map. These improvements should be included with any approval.

        It is likely that traffic from the parcel will utilize Lawai Road to access the beach and other areas, even though the main outlet is represented to be restricted to Ke Alaula Street. Those utilizing the project will be 160 feet from the shoreline, just across Lawai Road, and will likely want to utilize the shoreline. Conversely, the project should be required to remain open to pedestrian public access to encourage open communities, jogging, biking, and otherwise a free exchange of space for recreation and cultural use.

Grading and Drainage plan, May 26, 2023 (Drawing C-108) (above).

        The South Kaua‘i Community Plan does not include study of the proposed addition of this subdivision, which will contribute further traffic to Ke Alaula Street. Nor is the proposed Kukui‘ula  development included in the traffic study as a proposed land use. South Kaua‘i Community Plan, Appendix D at 16-17. The study area for the community plan “is generally bound by the following facilities including:

  • Kaumuali`i Highway to the north
  • Maluhia Road and Alakinoiki Road to the east
  • Papalina Road and Koloa Road to the west
  • Poipu Road to the south”.

Lawai Road is not included in the study area and therefore predictions and plans from the community plan cannot be relied upon to address traffic contributions from the project.

            The Commission should require: (1) a plan for compliance with Ordinance No. 777 and Section 8-4.5(d) of the Kauai County Code (1987) and any plans to use Lawai Road prior to preliminary map approval; (2) explicitly state traffic improvement requirements in its approval; and, (3) ensure the project is not gated against public vehicular access.

        2. Commission needs to impose stronger, better designed conditions on any preliminary subdivision approval.

        As this Commission noted in its Order and Decision, dated July 18, 2023, regarding FOM’s and Save Kōloa’s petition for intervention, the tentative subdivision application phase is the point at which intervention, and concomitant information necessary for deciding to grant or deny, or to develop mitigation conditions, is appropriate.[1] This Commission can and should impose conditions on the applicant. Conditions referenced by staff simply amount to informing the Applicant it must comply with existing laws and are lacking in specific requirements.

        Existing laws have failed the Kukui‘ula development area. Brown water advisories impacting Kukui’ula Bay to Keoniloa Bay as well as MacArthur Beach Park to Salt Pond Beach Park are becoming more frequent. Long-time community members with invaluable knowledge of this area and its peoples are continually pushed out by increasing expenses. Hundreds of historic sites have been destroyed. All of these result from specific decisions that bodies, including this Commission, have made. This application is another opportunity to rectify these issues.

        3. Require contributions to Kāneiolouma Heiau to meaningfully mitigate loss of cultural sites.

        “There is no doubt that there were extensive archaeological features throughout the Kōloa area. There is also no doubt that many of these sites have been destroyed over time[.]” Applicant’s Ka Pa‘akai report, at 174. The Kukui‘ula development area had 58 documented archaeological sites, comprising 150 features, including platforms and ‘auwai, which are reported to have been destroyed. Though the Applicant’s Ka Pa‘akai report concludes these sites are not within the project area, this is inconsistent with the interviews upon which that report is supposedly based. Hawaiian studies professor Puali‘i Rossi-Fukino pointed out Niukapukapu Heiau lies within the Parcel H area.

        The destruction of Hawaiian historical sites has cumulative and wide-reaching impacts – across geography as well as time. Rupert Rowe, a steward of Kāneiolouma Heiau nearby the project site, talks about the continued loss of identity for these places, specifically Kukui‘ula.

        Given its contribution to the removal of Hawaiian identity, and the resulting redoubled importance of sites remaining in the area, Applicant should be required to contribute $2 million to Hui Mālama o Kāneiolouma, to be used exclusively for restoration, research, planning, and administration purposes.

         4. Require runoff mitigation and water quality monitoring to protect shorelines.

        Kukui‘ula coastal areas are home to large schools of fish, sea turtles, and native corals. Currently, heavy rains often result in stormwater runoff entering coastal waters at Kukui‘ula  Bay, and carrying overflow from cesspools, sewer, manholes, pesticides, animal fecal matter, dead animals, pathogens, chemicals and associated flood debris.[2] Kukui‘ula  Bay turns a rusty red due to runoff after these rainstorms. This pollution intrudes on Hawaiian gathering practices at the shoreline, the health of native species and ecosystems, and surfing and other recreation.

        Historically, because of less outfall points and the dry nature of the Kukui‘ula  coastline and prior to the development of Kukui‘ula, water quality was very clear and clean. Subdivision of the proposed project into 51 units will increase the density of land use, including by adding a common pool area and hardened pickleball court, and thus result in more, and more polluted, runoff.

(above) Grading plans, dated May 26, 2023, show a pool/ common area planned for Lot 47.

        The South Kaua‘i Community Plan specifies under “Drainage”: (a) “Prepare a drainage study for the Po‘ipū Beach/ Kaneiolouma area and propose alternative to mitigate flooding”; and, (b) “Install bioswales and rain gardens along streets, in parks, and in parking lots to collect and filter rainwater runoff and increase infiltration via landscaped areas that also beautify the place.” Community Plan at 4-14. None of these studies or installations have been completed.

        None of the proposed conditions address water quality issues, even though part of the project is in the special management area (SMA). This may be due to a further error; the staff report incorrectly states the subdivision project will not impact Hawaiian traditional and customary practices including because “[t]here are no known special gathering practices taking place at the project site or within the vicinity of the project site.” Staff report at 3. The project site is just mauka of Lawai road, and about 160 feet from the shoreline.

        Any approval should require the Applicant to: (1) prepare a drainage study to establish, beyond Department of Public Works requirements, existing runoff through the project area and to develop retention structures sized to prevent existing and increased runoff from passing through the property and subject to Commission approval; (2) install bioswales along the mauka and makai lengths of Lawai Road adjacent to the project as well as any interior roads, parks, parking lots, as determined under #1; and (3) conduct semi-annual water quality monitoring studies, perhaps in partnership with Surfrider Kaua‘i, to establish both a baseline prior to construction and beyond until ten years after installation of all drainage mitigation measures.

        The Commission would approve the drainage study under #1 to ensure it complies with the intent and purpose of its institution into the subdivision approval. Requirements under #2 could amend the existing recommendation from the County DPW, which proposed the Applicant maintain the portion of the county right of way along Lawai Road.

           5.  Workforce housing should be integrated into Kukui‘ula  project

            Four bedroom homes in Kukui‘ula are currently marketed for around $6 million. Local working residents will not be able to afford these homes. The homes are rather investment vehicles, vacation second-homes, and not going to contribute to Kōloa communities. There is no prohibition against turning these houses into vacation rentals. As real estate becomes more valuable, fewer long-time local residents will be able to afford homes and the cost of living without substantial subsidies and planned support.

        The project is subject to the County’s workforce housing requirements, including for reasons that it requires a subdivision or consolidation of land that would allow more than 10 residential dwelling units. KCC §7A-1.4.1(c). These are in addition to the affordable housing requirements of the LUC District Boundary Amendment No. A93-696.

        The staff report includes no assessment of the socioeconomic impacts on the welfare of the community. There are no meaningful conditions put on the applicant to mitigate these impacts. The project’s workforce housing obligations are not referenced at all. Kaua‘i County Code (KCC) §7A-1.5 (determination of workforce housing assessment should be resolved prior to final subdivision or zoning permit approval, wherever occurs first).

        Though the project was previously part of the larger Kukui‘ula development under the LUC Order, in 2017, the Kukui‘ula Development Co. reported to LUC that it intended to sell Phase IIIB/ Parcel HH/II.[3] The project is now requesting further entitlements to increase density of its development to approximately 47 lots, with several other lots for other uses. This development was not contemplated nor included when the affordable housing requirements were determined.

        Approval of the preliminary subdivision map should be conditioned on Applicant’s inclusion of at least 10 workforce housing units within its project at Kukui‘ula Parcel HH and/or require development of 20 offsite workforce housing units, all of which should be subject to Commission approval prior to approval of the preliminary subdivision map.

[1] Intervention against this application is impossible. The only public notice of the application appeared on January 3, 2024 agenda, a bare six days before the Subdivision Committee and Commission hearing at which decision-making will occur. Petitions to intervene must be filed seven days before the hearing. Kaua‘i County Rules (KC) §1-4-3. Further, at its December 12, 2023 meeting, and in its ensuring written order dated December 22, 2023, this Commission also announced a new policy of denying petitions to intervene on bases including that a petitioner’s injuries are not clearly distinguishable from the general public. Petitioners are not required to expend resources on futile efforts.

[2] “Brown water advisory issued for Kaua‘i shores” April 19, 2023 available at:

[3] See Lindsay Crawford, Project Manager, Kukui‘ula Development, 2017 Annual Report (Nov. 2017) available at:

Mahalo nui,

Bridget Hammerquist, President
Friends of Maha`ulepu, a 501(c)(3)
Kia`i Wai o Wai`ale`ale, Co-founder
PO Box 1654
Koloa, HI 96756
[email protected]

Posted 12/23/2023

Seasons Greetings and a Joyous Holiday from the FOM Board,

Wow, another year just whizzed by. From our hui emails, you know we have been busy. If ever you want to know what happened throughout the year, feel free to visit FOM’s website. Under the “Current and Past News” tab, you can access all of our hui emails and track our work for the year. One of the more lasting achievements this year is our part in helping to curb the proposed residential electric rate increase from 18+%, to no more than 7.99% max. We are happy to share that we also had a good end of year win on the Coco Palms issue. Our environmental work would not be possible without our generous supporters.

Coco Palms Update

Beginning 12/8/2023, FOM sponsored a number of key people to fly to Oahu and testify to the Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR). We partnered with I Ola Wailuanui (IOW), supporting their vision for a historic preservation of the former Coco Palms site, starting with opposing the developers desire to use State lands to meet their hotel ingress and egress in parking requirements. When testimony began, FOM was called to testify first on the Coco Palms Agenda Item. The issue was whether permits for three parcels of State land should be awarded to RP21 Coco Palms, LLC  (RP21), the latest in a string of “would be” developers who have promised to restore the Coco Palms after it was destroyed by Hurricane Iniki 31 years ago. This restoration has not happened for so long that the public is seriously upset with the eyesore that has been allowed to remain year after year as developers, promise a repair and rebuild, get new permits and sell the land again to another “would be” developer, enhancing the lands value with each successive permit entitlement and sale. FOM and IOW were both solidly opposed to the staff recommendation, that the fee simple property owned by RP21 be awarded public land to further improve the value to yet latest developer who has done nothing to either improve the site or remove/demolish the remnant eyesore the hurricane ravaged hotel, since their arrival in February 2021. Rather, they have been cited with a Notice of Violation for the unpermitted removal of more than 75 healthy coconut palms from the State land and conservation area without permits. Our testimony began with calling the Boards attention to the fact that there was another applicant seeking to develop cultural activities, historic signage, and preservation of parking for beach goers rather than dedicating our State lands to better serve hotel occupants, lessening the developers need to use their fee simple lands for hotel parking, ingress, egress, etc. We pointed out that buried in the staff submittal was a vague reference to IOW having an expressed interest in the three State parcels as well. In fact, IOW had submitted full applications for the parcels in April 2023. The Board’s Staff chose to ignore the applications and simply limited the Board’s consideration to one applicant only, RP21. Fortunately the State’s hearing calendar ran long and our agenda item was continued to Friday the 15th. When the Board next convened December 15, 2023, IOW attorney, Teri Tico and FOM attorney, Bianca Isaki, each were able to add to the many who had testified the week before. Teri Tico read from a letter sent to her by Staff in May of this year acknowledging receipt of the IOW permit applications and promising to contact IOW when the State parcels were available for permits. IOW was never contacted as promised. The Board appeared less than pleased with their staff and for now decided to give equal right of access to both IOW and RP21 for the smallest of the three State land parcels, reserving final decision on the two larger parcels until next year. The Board instructed their staff to work with both applicants and prepare a new staff submittal that accurately represented the interests of both applicants. Director and BLNR Chair Dawn Chang stated that it appeared the staff had presumed who the Board would want the property to go to and that was not okay. The many wonderful testimonies supporting IOW generated what appears to be a sincere interest on the part of the Board to permit IOW to use these State lands for preservation rather than aid the hotel who wants to use the State lands to meet their County parking requirements and required comfort station for beach goers. The developers were not happy with the decision because they actually told the Board they were hoping for the RPs to be granted to them 12/15/23 as a critical part of their negotiations, “currently ongoing with the County” per their attorney, Mauna Kea Trask. IOW was pleased with the outcome. Since they had not been put on the Agenda despite their timely and proper applications for the three State parcels, the Board could not award IOW the RPs at this time either. We will keep you posted and let you know when IOW’s applications are to be heard.


Humpback whales are often seen breaching off the shores of Maha’ulepu during the winter months.

Friends of Maha’ulepu is comprised of a group of concerned citizens (local and beyond) who are contributing their time and talents to protect the natural beauty of this pristine coastal valley.

Maha’ulepu Beach is located on the South Shore of the Island of Kaua’i in the Hawaiian Islands, approximately 3 1/2 miles northeast of the town of Poi’pu.  Poi’pu is one of the major visitor destinations on the island due to it’s beautiful beaches, swimming, snorkeling and surfing, sea turtles, whales, monk seals, trade winds, palm trees, and spectacular sunsets. Learn more about Friends of Maha’ulepu and the work we are doing!

Maui wildfires timeline of failed communications