About The Kaʻū Calendar

Ka`u, Hawai`i, United States
A locally owned and run community newspaper (www.kaucalendar.com) distributed in print to all Ka`u District residents of Ocean View, Na`alehu, Pahala, Hawai`i Volcanoes National Park, Volcano Village and Miloli`i on the Big Island of Hawai`i. This blog is where you can catch up on what's happening daily with our news briefs. This blog is provided by The Ka`u Calendar Newspaper (kaucalendar.com), Pahala Plantation Cottages (pahalaplantationcottages.com), Local Productions, Inc. and the Edmund C. Olson Trust.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Ka`u News Briefs Oct. 18, 2011

A new $17.9 million gym and disaster shelter will be built near the current gym at Pahala High. Photo by Julia Neal

NEW DISASTER SHELTER AND GYMNASIUM for Pahala funding totaling $17.9 million must be accepted by the County Council before the project can officially begin. Tomorrow, the Council votes to formally accept the funding from the state. The building would be constructed either on state property on the Pahala school grounds or county property next to the campus and would be operated by the county. Some of the planning considerations are design of the building to make it compatible with the historic village, compliance with guidelines that would make it the only federally certified shelter in all of Ka`u, and energy efficiency, since it would serve as a shelter from vog and require air cleaning equipment.

VOTING BY MAIL in all primary, general and special elections could become a pilot program in Hawai`i County beginning in 2014, if this measure promoted by Council member Brenda Ford passes. She noted such a program in Oregon. The pilot program would continue to include elections through 2018.

COMMUNITIES LIKE OCEAN VIEW could get a share of tax dollars to help with road maintenance under a bill that comes up again before the County Council tomorrow. Nonprofit community groups would apply to the county for funding. The rationale is that these communities pay taxes that go for road maintenance and should receive a share for their own neighborhoods even thought the roads are owned privately.

Ocean View, with its own quarry, could have tax
funds to help pay for roads. Photo by Elijah Navarro
A SUSTAINABLE HABITAT BUILDING CODE is the goal of the Hawai`i Sustainable Community Alliance, which is suggesting alternatives and additions to the new building code. A resolution is under consideration by the County Council tomorrow.
     The council delayed voting on a new building code for the Big Island earlier this month as it wrestled with how to make housing more owner-builder friendly and affordable while complying with a stricter building code mandated by the state.
     The resolution, introduced by council member Angel Pilago, asks the Department of Public Works to establish a Sustainable Habitat Ordinance which would require “minimum requirements for the protection of life, limb, health, property, safety and the welfare of the general public and the owners and occupants of dwellings and appurtenant structures through waiver or exemption from existing codes and the adoption of alternative standards.” The resolution states that such an ordinance would permit “the use of the ingenuity and preferences of individual owner/builders of dwellings on agricultural parcels in rural areas for owner occupancy and also allows the use of substitute materials, procedures and alternatives to the specifications prescribed by various and future international technical codes.”
     Hawaiisustainablecommunity.org, says that building code can be changed to help some unpermitted dwellings to come into compliance as well as provide a legal option for future home owners looking to build more affordably or sustainably.
     According to the organization, the model followed by its proposed legislation has been “adopted successfully in at least six California Counties for over 20 years and has been their response to the limitations of the Universal Building Code.”
     The Sustainable Habitat Building Code would “legalize the traditional homesteaders approach to building where it happens incrementally as owners can afford additions and improvements plus it will permit occupancy during the building process.” It would also promote more affordable housing by allowing for the use of alternative local building materials (including recycled materials) and eliminating the UBC requirement for costly licensed contractors, the alliance contends.

THE HAWAI`I POLICE DEPT. scheduled a public meeting in Ka`u from noon to 2 p.m. at the Na`alehu Community Center. The purpose was to allow the public to meet the Police Department’s new chief and command staff and to discuss concerns regarding operations in Ka`u District. Community police meetings rotate through eight police districts on the Big Island. Participation is encouraged only for persons who live or work in Ka`u. Interested persons unable to attend may call Capt. Andrew Burian at 939-2520, stop by the Ka`u police station in Na`alehu or e-mail concerns or comments to copsysop@hawaiipolice.com.

THE HAWAI`I COUNTY REDISTRICTING COMMISSION meets on Friday at 10 a.m. in Council Chambers in Hilo. The Commission will review and discuss submitted plans and maps and begin creating its draft plan. For more information, contact Karen Eoff at 323-4264 or keoff@co.hawaii.hi.us.