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Letter for Tuesday, June 14, 2022

Leave agricultural land in agriculture

I’m writing in response to a story The Garden Island published (May 31) about the proposed manufacturing facility that Hawai‘i Planing Mill wants to build in Koloa near the old Koloa Sugar mill.

The story really made it seem as though those opposed to the project are against affordable housing and the jobs that HPM will be providing. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The concern with the project is that HPM wants to build a factory on land designated for agriculture.

HPM’s president was surprised by the backlash from the opposition, but this seems disingenuous, as concerns were raised early on and have continued to grow as more and more people in Koloa have learned what is being planned.

Furthermore, by vehemently rebutting all petitions to intervene, HPM’s attorney has worked hard to make sure people who have legitimate concerns about the land use do not get to be a part of the Planning Commission’s discussion. As a 100-year-old, Hawaiian-based company, HPM should care about these concerns instead of trying to silence them.

I agree wholeheartedly with HPM’s president that this is “basic economics.” Everyone agrees that Kaua‘i needs more affordable housing and jobs. HPM can accomplish this on land zoned as industrial and leave the land in Koloa for legitimate agricultural uses.

Christine Martin, Beaverton, Oregon and Po‘ipu property owner
Source: The Garden Island

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