I'm always happy to report on the unexpected, especially when the news is good. Last blog I reported on a meeting held in Princeville where developer Jeff Stone said he was requesting a zoning change from R-4 to R-10 to put timeshare in on the Meadows and Greens area of Princeville. The meeting had the appearances of being held "under the radar" as there was very little notice. Fortunately, a few concerned citizens found out about the meeting and got the word out so that approximately 250 people showed up to voice their concerns.
In today's Garden Island (1-25-09) it is reported that Jeff Stone is withdrawing the zoning amendment application "in order to allow us further time to engage more fully with the community." Mind you, this doesn't say he isn't going to move forward it with the project but at least the community will have more time to interact and have their questions answered instead of feeling like they are being kept in the dark. I am reprinting the entire Garden Island article below for you to read and draw your own conclusions. Sometimes there just might be some divine intervention.
Elaine Schaefer (R, CRS, GRI, ABR)
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Princeville Associates withdraws zoning amendment application
By Coco Zickos - The Garden Island
Published: Sunday, January 25, 2009 3:10 AM HST
When the community of Kaua‘i bands together to get something done, it often finds success. Such was the case this week with residents of the North Shore community and developer Jeffrey Stone of Princeville Associates.
Ken Bachman, a Ka‘iulani at Princeville resident, said at least 250 people attended Wednesday's informational meeting pertaining to Princeville Associates' recent submission of a zoning amendment application to the County of Kaua‘i's Planning Department.
According to a Friday press release, the intention behind the developer's action was to "adapt and connect its zoned Visitor Destination Area properties known as Greens and Meadows with the high standards of its neighbors in Princeville."
The areas of the Greens and Meadows run adjacent to Kuhio highway and the Prince Golf course, between the Princeville roundabout and the Princeville Health Club and Spa.
Stone formally agreed to withdraw the application Friday due, in part, to the community's response; there were questions that still needed answers.
"In order to be in full compliance with County ordinances and consistent with the Visitor Destination Area boundary, it was recommended that a zoning amendment be filed for these projects," said Stone in a written statement. "Since filing our zoning amendment application, we have met with many community groups and members, and understand they have varied perceptions and misunderstandings about the Greens and Meadows.
"Because our relationship is important to us, we have decided to withdraw our petition for a zoning amendment in order to allow us further time to engage more fully with the community."
Mamo Cummings Graham, director of resort marketing for Princeville at Hanalei, said the management group is hoping to work closely with the community so a better understanding can be gained between both parties and to be as "transparent" as possible.
Bachman said he believes Stone has a right to build on his property, but what concerned him and other North Shore residents was their feeling that the plan happened "under the radar," without the community's input or knowledge.
"He just didn't do his homework, and tried to slip this through," Bachman said in a phone interview Saturday. "He and his group were very surprised at the turnout on Wednesday and I think they realized they had not properly communicated to make the community aware of his plans. We just want to be sure it has most favorable impact on the community and I believe that's what he's going back to the drawing board on and bringing people into awareness on this."
Among concerns expressed at Wednesday's meeting was the proposed infrastructure, traffic impact and why Stone was choosing to construct timeshare units.
Many questions were answered and, according to Warren Burton, president of Ka‘iulani's homeowner's association, Stone was "quite candid."
Bachman said Stone spoke not only of the Greens and Meadows, but also about the future of the St. Regis Hotel and both golf courses, and also confirmed that the timeshares were not to be of conventional standards.
"From my understanding, their intent was to put in a more upscale development, but had to name it as a timeshare," said Bachman.
Bachman explained it would instead be a fractional ownership, yet had to be placed under the legal definition of timeshare.
"‘Timeshare' is an unfortunate word and rings a lot of bells," said Don Schultz, principal forensic structural engineer of Schultz & Associates and developer of Ka‘iulani and Villas on the Prince, both adjacent to the Greens and Meadows. "All timeshares are not created equal."
Schultz, who said he was neither a proponent nor an opponent of the projects but that he didn't entirely understand them, believes his own developments are comparable to Stone's proposals.
"What he was planning is essentially identical to Villas on the Prince and Ka‘iulani: low-density, nice communities," said Schultz.
Not only did Stone hold a meeting with the community on Wednesday, he also held an additional meeting on Friday with select individuals, including Burton, who said he certainly left with fewer concerns than he previously had.
"We just wanted it to be consistent with the quality of development adjacent to it," Burton added. "Let's face it, we're interested in holding the value of our properties; we don't want to see values depreciate."
Schultz agrees that the meetings held last week were positive and he now has a better understanding of what is slated to exist.
"We've had several meetings with the association and we've got further clarification of what their objectives are," said Bachman.
Schultz believes there could potentially be many positive attributes to the new developments.
"It would bring money to the economy and jobs to people in a time where things have slowed down. Our economy on Kaua‘i is a visitor destination economy and tourism is our number one income source," he said, "and this is tourism."
Keone Kealoha, executive director of Malama Kaua‘i, also believes that there could be advantages to a development as long as the community is involved in making the decisions and all aspects are covered.
"I would hope that they do engage the community and are forthcoming with their plans so people have an opportunity to voice their opinions, and hopefully they'll be heard and incorporated," he said Saturday. "The one thing I would have to say is it's obvious with any development that's going to occur there will be an increase in needs for local services, for example, the number of jobs they're planning on adding. If it's a good plan, ultimately it will have a benefit to the community as a whole."
When asked what he thought would be the next step for Princeville Associates after their announcement to withdraw the amendment, Schultz said it was hard to tell.
"Is it going to change the plan? It might, it might not. I don't want to say one way or the other," he said. "Bottom line is, the folks at the meeting, once they got a better feel, and got the ‘why' answered and not just the ‘what,' you realize that we're all in this together."
• Coco Zickos, business writer, can be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 251) or email@example.com