Monday, February 27, 2006

A little South Kona news, there may be a settlement on Hokulia

Possible Hokulia settlement, click here You may have to sign up to read the article.

I can't recall if I've mentioned one of the ongoing land use issues here in Kona, so I'll provide a brief description. It's an issue that is pretty prominint locally as it involves development, land use and traffic issues....

Several years ago the County approved a luxury subdivision on "agricultural land" located just south of what is now the Keauhou Sheraton. Lots of strings were attached, most prominent of them being that the developers would provide Kona with a highway which had been on the books for around 4 decades.

Construction began, and as you can imagine, the anti-change/growth groups, as well as native Hawaiian activists, tried to find a way to stop it. Several legal efforts failed as the courts upheld Country agreements and found there were no puposeful attempts to desecrate artifacts or burials. Anyway, at some point a group challenged the development on grounds of inappropriate use of agricultural land, and the Judge upheld the argument. The development, along with the much needed highway, has been stalled for a couple of years now.

There have been several attempts at a settlement, as well as trying to push for a State Supreme Court ruling on the Judge's ruling, and Legislation to clarify agricultural zoning and what is allowed on it (apparently most land in Hawaii is Ag land by default, even rocky land that is basically inappropriate for agriculture, and there are some 140 other "illegal" subdivisions in the state). Anyway, apparently a settlement is in the works. I'm not sure if that will necessarily mean the Judge would vacate his decision and allow the development to continue. The outcome of this will be awaited by the majority of South Kona residents.

Just thought I'd pass that along, as it might be of interest to those familiar with the area.

Can't forget to add a picture. This is a Trumpetfish (Aulostomus chinensis). This fish can get to a bit over two feet long and can come in a variety of colors. It's not uncommon to see yellow, red, brown or silverish trumpetfish at the same dive site. They have a neat mouth. From back in my aquarium days, if you watch them feed, you'll see that their mouth has an elaborate boney plated hinging system that will allow them to catch and swallow their food. I've never seen one catch anything in the wild, I have seen them attempt it though.



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