The historic Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Services building in Pāhala will become a mass clinic
for the J&J vaccination on Thursday, April 15. Photo by Julia Neal
The mayor and governor decided to allow Honolulu County to continue operating under Tier 3, which allows outdoor sports, for ten people to gather for many activities, and weddings with up to 100 people outdoors. It also allows movie theaters to operate at 100 percent capacity instead the Tier 2 limit of 50 percent capacity.
Blangiardi said that it is important for people to be able to gather in the larger numbers for mental health and the recovery of the economy.
Kaʻū Coffee Growers Cooperative President Gloria Camba and United Kaʻū Farmers Cooperative President John Ah San said the cooperatives are hoping that before the subdivision receives final approval from the county, farmers will have time to exhaust every opportunity to qualify to purchase their lots at an affordable price. They said they also need time to ensure that those who can not buy will be protected by good leases should ownership of those lots be handed over to buyers who may want to build homes on the farms. They said that without good leases, land security of Moaʻula and Pear Tree Kaʻū Coffee farms
Co-op members also talked about whether a coalition of the two cooperatives or new non-profit entity could purchase the land, sell farm lots to those growers who are able to buy, lease with an option to buy to those who need more time, and continue leasing to those who do not purchase. Coming up with financing for an entity of the farmers to buy the land, remains a challenge, said leaders of the cooperatives. They noted that the owner of the property is not in a position to lease-to-own any of the lots the farmers cannot purchase.
During the meeting, lenders asked for a time frame for the subdivision to be completed so they can work with farmers on each lot, with metes and bounds in place. RHL representatives said they are hoping that will be soon.
When lenders were asked whether farmers could pre-qualify to know whether they could obtain loans to buy their farms, ahead of the finalization of the subdivision, some lenders said their programs do not allow "pre-quals." Those lenders are required to deal with each lot that has an approved Tax Map Key and a sales price before attempting to qualify the buyer.
One lender asked for a list of prices for all the Moaʻula and Pear Tree farm lots and was told by RLH representatives that the lots are not listed on the open market and that prices are confidential between seller and buyers.
A lender said he wants to begin the process of helping the farmers with an appraisal for at least one of the farm lots. He said that if the farms appraise higher than the seller's price, the trees could become equity for the farmers to help them to qualify for a loan. RLH representatives said certain lots are ready for appraisal and that they are finalizing surveys to give the metes and bounds to the state to register the lots.
RLH representative Jim McCully said he is hoping that the county's required improvements could be completed by end of summer or early fall and that metes and bounds could be submitted to register the subdivision any day, with transactions to sell the farms beginning in early June. He said that prices are $12,000 to $21,000 an acre with most about $15,000 to $16,000 an acre. Some of the less expensive, per-acre, lots are pasture size - much larger than the five to seven acre lots occupied by many of the Kaʻū Coffee farmers.
A FIRE ON ELEPAIO STREET IN VOLCANO VILLAGE destroyed a 10' X 20 ' building today. According to the Fire Department, it was uninhabited and without contents and collapsed during the fires. Hawaiʻi Fire Department Capt. Michael Murray reported Company 19 the scene at 7:13 a.m. and finding the building completely engulfed in flames. Two additional units responded. An E-19 Engine and T10 tanker along with medic unit M19 were on the scene. There were no injuries and the building was declared a total loss and valued by HFD at $10,000.
Kaʻū Art Gallery's website has 24/7 access online and is frequently updated to show current inventory items. "We are always looking to collaborate with local artists in our community," said assistant Alexandra Kaupu. Should anyone have an interest in being featured at Kaʻū Art Gallery and Gift Shop, contact gallery owner and director Corrine Kaupu at firstname.lastname@example.org
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