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LUC OKs Kamakana Villages re-zone; Council vote delayed

Karin Stanton | Hawaii 24/7 Editor

The state Land Use Commission issued its approval Thursday for a proposed 272-acre residential community in Kailua-Kona.

Forest City, in partnership with the state Housing Finance and Development Corporation, has proposed Kamakana Villages for a wedge of land in the northeast corner of Palani Road and the still under-construction Ane Keohokalole Highway. It is to include 2,330 homes, with 1,169 units priced at affordable levels.

The land was classified as Ag District, but with Thursday’s vote, it is now under Urban District designation.

In approving the change (7 votes to 2), commissioners called for at least 25 acres of park space and 10 playground facilities, a waste management plan that emphasizes waste diversion and recycling, use of reclaimed water from the Kealakehe Wastewater Treatment Plant, and adherence to traffic and transportation recommendations.

Also Thursday, the County Council consider a request for 50-plus exemptions to the County Code, which are permissible under state law for affordable housing projects.

Because councilors made significant amendments to the exemption request, the matter was held over for a final vote. That vote is expected at the Council’s Nov. 17 meeting.

Forest City project manager Race Randle said he was pleased with Thursday’s outcome.

“We absolutely needed this, but it’s just the beginning. We have a big responsibility now,” he said. “We are up to the challenge and we have great partners and the support of the community.”

Randle said Forest City is looking forward to developing a compact, walkable, transit-oriented community that features more affordable housing.

“It’s up to us to create opportunities and it’s up to people to take advantage of those opportunities,” he said. “This really is just the beginning.”

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