Public Meeting about Mud Lane at Honokaa School Cafeteria, 2008.02.12

Notes from Judy Hiller

THE SHORT VERSION: The County will not voluntarily require an Environmental Assessment before work to clear the trail resumes. The County has reduced the size of the access road from 18 feet to 12 feet, to be located on the West side of the right-of-way  and will require a 6 foot trail on the East side of the right-of-way.
It's a done deal, and the administration has demonstrated that it does not believe it appropriate to consult with the community before disposing of public assets.
Glimmer of hope: Dominic Yagong announced that he will introduce a resolution within 2 weeks to form an ad hoc committee of the County Council to examine future use of the entire length of Mud Lane.  Meetings most likely to start w/i 1 month.  He is completely committed to finding out what his constituents want and to doing it.  Oh, if only he were our mayor!

THE LONGER VERSION: This meeting conflicted with an important meeting about the Waimea Community Development Plan in Waimea, which led to a much lower attendance than might otherwise have been the case.  Thanks, Randy Botti, for getting the word out on radio about the meeting.  Thanks to everyone who helped spread the word.  I was very surprised to find that about 20 people showed up.
Dominic Yagong greeted everyone, explained the procedure that would be followed, noted the conflict with the Waimea meeting, and introduced Chris Yuen.

Chris Yuen:

Bruce McClure:

David Katz, of the Waimea 660:

The meeting was then opened for questions. I asked about the County's position with respect to an Environmental Assessment.  Dominic said that he had received an opinion for the County's Corporation Counsel stating that the action is exempt.  I have requested a copy of that opinion.  My request must be considered by the Council, since the opinion was rendered pursuant to the attorney-client privilege, and the Council must waive that privilege before the opinion can be released.  They may or may not decide to do so. Many people raised the point that Mud Lane is effectively a through road at this time. Yuen countered that people must be using private property in part if they are using it as a through road.  Several audience members wondered why that was significant.  I'm sorry that I cannot recall whether Yuen had an answer. Many people stressed the recreational value of the area, and said that want that preserved. Dominic announced at the end that he will get the ad hoc committee to examine the use of the entire length of Mud Lane started ASAP, and expects to have his first meeting in about a month.  He stressed that although he has strong personal feelings about Mud Lane, he needs to consult with as many members of the community as possible.

Notes from Ben Discoe

Chris Yuen explained the history of how the sugar cane company, when they went bankrupt, owed around $18 million in back taxes to the County.  For this, the County got two big chunks of land, in Kapulena and Pa'auilo Mauka.  This 660 bit is one of them.  As these parcels didn't fit any County needs, the decision was made to sell them.  Land was appraised at $1.6 million.  There was reportedly not much interest in the parcel.  There were queries about what access would be for the parcel.  County said access would be from Waimea.  Zoning is still AG-40.  Developer got permission for a 6-lot subdivision, with the condition: a 10' wide gravel road to 1/2 way down the lot.
Yuen said he wrote a letter 3-4 months ago with this information about the County position.

Bruce McClure said:  The County has listened to the public.  They will reconstruct the meandering trail and made the road more narrow, with pullouts, 12' wide, off center.  He said the plan is public record and available from his office.

A question was asked: Why is there no EA/EIS for a road that potentially causes the very large change of allowing direct traffic from Waimea to Waipi'o?  County answer:  County believes that the action is exempt.

A question was asked: Since the de-facto Mud Lane road from 660 to Kukuihaele does not follow the legal alignment, how are people supposed to known where the County road ends, i.e., where is County vs. private road?  Yuen said: "We will put some sign(s)."

A person speaking for the Kukuihaele Community gave their position on Mud Lane becoming a connector road to Waimea: They don't support it.