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Affordable housing development EA finds no significant impact

A final environmental assessment released Friday has a finding of no significant impact for a proposed affordable housing project of up to 90 units for seniors and families in Hilo.

The project, Hale Ola O Mohouli, is planned for a 9.091-acre state property near the mauka-Hamakua corner of Mohouli and Komohana Streets.

Hawaii Island Community Development Corp., a nonprofit that aims to assist low- to moderate-income Big Island residents obtain affordable housing, is the developer.

According to the final EA, prepared by Ron Terry of Geometrician Associates, the estimated cost for the proposed project is $47 million and would require a zoning change from agricultural to urban, a national pollutant discharge elimination system permit from the state Department of Health, plus grading, grubbing and driveway permits from the county Department of Public Works, and building permits and plan approval by DPW and the Planning Department.

The Mohouli-Komohana intersection is part of a well-traveled crosstown corridor, but the EA found “traffic impacts will be minor and within the capacity of the existing intersection,” which has lights regulating the traffic flow.

According to the EA, the site currently is a “lightly disturbed native ohia forest on the 1881 lava flow,” and surveys have found “no historic properties, cultural sites or uses, or threatened or endangered plant species are present on the property.”

Keith Kato, HICDC executive director, told the Tribune-Herald in August the vision for the development is “a mix of senior and family units” he described as a “series of pocket neighborhoods.”

Kato described a pocket neighborhood as “a cluster of small structures, single-family and duplex buildings, around a common green, so they form a nice social setting where people get to know their neighbors.”

With the proper approvals, the EA estimates the project will be ready for construction in late 2022 and completed in mid-2024.

Email John Burnett at jburnett@hawaiitribune-herald.com.
Source: Hawaii Tribune Herald

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