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Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Kaʻū News Briefs Feb. 13, 2024

This painting was the late Herb Kane's mural in the old museum next to Punalu‘u Black Sand Beach. Stolen after the place was abandoned, the image was recreated by the original artist on canvas and is in the Herb Kane collection of his family. On Thursday, March 7, a public hearing will take place before the Windward Planning Commission on Black Sand Beach, LLC's proposal. It includes plans for the old museum site, accommodations mauka of the shoreline and other enterprises. The developers seek a permit to build in the Special Management Area, which is designed to protect the shoreline. Painting by Herb Kane

PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT AT PUNALU‘U GOES TO PUBLIC HEARING on Thursday, March 7 in the Hilo County Council Chambers. at 9 a.m. Black Sand Beach, LLC seeks a Special Management Area Permit. According to the application, approval of the permit would "allow for the development of a residential and commercial community consisting of approximately 225 residential and short stay units, village and wellness center, retail uses, rehabilitation and use of golf courses, and dedication of a portion of coastline as a conservation area on an approximately 147 acres portion of a larger 434-acre project site within the Special Management Area."
Plans for Punalu‘u proposed by Black Sand Beach, LLC would include accommodations
set back behind a golf course fairway. Some commercial enterprise would be
close to the Black Sand Beach and Pond. It goes to public hearing on Thursday, March 7.
 Image from Black Sand Beach, LLC
    According to the Planning Department's description of the Special Management Area, which includes all of the property proposed for the development, "The Special Management Area, or SMA, is the area of the island that is in close proximity to the shoreline. In establishing the SMA in 1975, the Hawai‘i state legislature found that 'It is the state policy to preserve, protect, and where possible, to restore the natural resources of the coastal zone of Hawai‘i,’ and, therefore, that 'special controls on developments within an area along the shoreline are necessary to avoid permanent losses of valuable resources and the foreclosure of management options, and to ensure that adequate access, by dedication or other means, to public owned or used beaches, recreation areas, and natural reserves is provided.' (Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, Chapter 205A, Part II)"
    To learn more about the Special Management Area and the SMA permitting process, see an informational video provided by the State Office of Planning.
Details of commercial enterprise planned near Black Sand Beach and the Pond.
Image from Black Sand Beach, LLC
    The Punalu‘u properties proposed for the Special Management Area permit are located in the Sea Mountain at Punalu‘u resort area, east (makai) of Hawaiʻi Belt Road in the vicinity of Nīnole Loop Road, Nīnole, Wailau, Punalu‘u, Kaʻū, Hawai‘i, TMKs: (3) 9-5-019: 011, 015, 024, 026, 030, 031, 033, 035; 9-6-001: 001-003, 006, 011-013; 9-6-002: 008, 037, 038, 041, and 053.
    To give testimony, the public can attend the public hearing in Hilo, or sign up to give speak via Zoom by registering before noon the day before the hearing. Register at https://www.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJIscOmgqzotGSpQv6m54ndW46yEqTysENk. The meeting can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAFoRMb3rfWLQMPd6TAkEGA?view_as=subscriber.
    According to a Planning Department announcement, the Planning Director’s background report (including application) and recommendation report for each agenda item will be available for review at www.planning.hawaiicounty.gov prior to the meeting. This information can also be requested by sending an email to WPCtestimony@hawaiicounty.gov or by calling (808) 961-8288.

AT&T MOBILITY PLANS A 150 FT CELL TOWER IN VOLCANO. It is applying to the Windward Planning Commission for a Use Permit to install a telecommunication facility with a 150-foot-tall monopine - looks like a pine tree - tower off Volcano Road. The project would include the cell tower and related equipment and improvements within a 1,440-square-foot portion of a larger 7.383-acre parcel. The property is at 11-3049 Volcano Road, approximately 400 feet south of Volcano Road on the west side of Kahaualea Road.  Hawai‘i, TMK: (3) 1-1-020:159 (por.). 3. 

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National Marine Sanctuaries will host a webinar on corals on Wednesday, Feb. 28. Photo from NOAA
CORAL CAN GET SICK, just like any other animal, and coral diseases can harm whole ecosystems when they spread across reefs. That is the subject of a webinar from the National Marine Sanctuaries to be presented online on Wednesday, Feb. 28 at 2:30 p.m. The webinar, Seaside Chats - Chasing Microbes: Diving into the Mystery of Coral Disease, aims to promote understanding of how the reef responds to pathogens. Lessons are drawn from the outbreak of stony coral tissue loss disease as the webinar dives into the depths of coral health research. Register for the webinar at 

Dr. Alex Wegmann presents a webinar on Palmyra Atoll, which is managed by The Nature Conservancy. Photos from NOAA
        The National Marine Sanctuaries Webinar Series is archived and includes a recent presentation on Palmyra Atoll, which is stewarded by The Nature Conservancy. It features Alex Wegmann, PhD., who
"works in thematic areas of land-sea connectivity, invasive species, seabird restoration, natural climate solutions, coral reef resilience, pelagic conservation, sustainable fisheries, and the application of biotechnology-based solutions to conservation challenges."
     His responsibilities for The Nature Conservancy include advancing cutting-edge science to inform investment and actions at Palmyra Atoll, throughout the Pacific region, and at global scales. Wegmann "takes us to a remote island in the Pacific Ocean and shares how connected we are to it," says a NOAA description.

     National Marine Sanctuaries webinars provide educational and scientific expertise, resources, and training to support ocean and climate literacy. It targets community and families, formal and informal educators and students (high school through college). Visit archives of the webinar series to catch up on presentations here.

HAWAI‘I ISLANDS HUMPBACK WHALE NATIONAL MARINE SANCTUARY WHALE COUNT will be on Saturdays, Feb.  24 and March 30. Register to volunteer to count the whales and learn more at https://oceancount.org/.
     The Hawaiian word for humpback whales is koholā. The whales come to Hawai‘i to give birth, nurse their young and breed before heading north to summer waters.
    National Marine Sanctuary and NOAA recently released this poster of koholā, honoring Hawaiian Humpback Whale Marine Sanctuary. The art is by Matt McIntosh of NOAA.
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