DHHL Publishes Final EA on Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Homestead SettlementPosted on Aug 10, 2020 in Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, Media Releases, Slider
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 10, 2020
DHHL Publishes Final EA on Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Homestead Settlement
(Waimea, Kauaʻi) – The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) has published its Final Environmental Assessment (EA) with a Finding of No Significant Impact for the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Homestead Settlement in Waimea, Kauaʻi.
The Hawaiian Homes Commission accepted the Final EA at its July 2020 meeting and the EA has been published with the Office of Environmental Quality Control.
A review of the significant criteria outlined in HRS Chapter 343 and HAR Section 11-200.1- 13 on the development of the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan Area has been determined to not result in significant adverse effects on the natural or human environment.
The Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan focuses on the development of a Kuleana Homestead on the mauka Waimea lands of Kauaʻi. The project area consists of approximately 1,421 acres, 231 acres of which are under DHHL License No. 816 by the Kekaha Hawaiian Homestead Association (KHHA).
Planning for Pu‘u ‘Ōpae began with the 2011 DHHL West Kauaʻi Regional Plan, which identified the development of an Agricultural and Water Plan for the restoration and use of the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae area as a Priority Project. The land was selected as an ideal location for Kuleana Homesteading as a result of constraints due to the physical characteristics of the land, including topography, drainage, accessibility, proximity to water, wildfire risk, proximity to natural and cultural resources, and beneficiary preferences for lot size and configuration.
In 2012, KHHA was granted a Right of Entry to begin land management and maintenance activities at Pu‘u ‘Ōpae. They also began preparing a master plan for the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Farm and Irrigation Project to begin implementing the West Kauai Regional Plan priority project goals. KHHA’s 231 acres currently under license within the Puʻu ʻŌpae are planned for community agriculture, food production, and educational programs.
The Kuleana Homestead Program is intended to rehabilitate native Hawaiians by providing opportunities for self-sufficiency and self-determination, as such, raw land will be offered to beneficiaries to live on, grow food to sustain their family, and utilize for economic purposes.
Beneficiaries receiving an offer for Kuleana Homestead lots will agree to accept unimproved land in “as-is” condition. Infrastructure such as water, sewage, and electricity will not be provided. It is also beneficiary responsibility to maintain and upkeep the homestead tract’s rights-of-way, management of wildfire risks, and the preservation of significant historical and biological resources. Participation in the Kuleana Homestead Association will also be expected to develop rules and agreements that will formalize individual and community management responsibilities.
The pilot Kuleana Homestead Program in Kahikinui, Maui, conceived in the 1990s, faced a learning curve that created challenges that exist today. Among them, beneficiaries have expressed that an issue for lessees awarded these lots was the understanding of the requirement to build on the land and the associated costs. Struggles to receive traditional loans and home insurance without traditional TMKs also provided a roadblock for many awarded these lots. The Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Kuleana Homestead Settlement Plan has taken this feedback into consideration to prepare for a more successful settlement, including the issuance of individual TMKs to future lessees.
More information about the Pu‘u ‘Ōpae Settlement Plan can be found online on the Department’s website at dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/kauai.
About the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands:
The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands carries out Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalanianaʻole’s vision of rehabilitating native Hawaiians by returning them to the land. Established by U.S. Congress in 1921, with the passage of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, the Hawaiian homesteading program run by DHHL includes management of over 200,000 acres of land statewide with the specific purpose of developing and delivering homesteading.
Information and Community Relations Officer
Department of Hawaiian Home Lands