Kona CDP Wins Planning Award

From the Mayors Office:

Margaret Masunaga, left, Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, right, and Mayor Billy Keno

Margaret Masunaga, left, Bobby Jean Leithead Todd, right, and Mayor Billy Kenoi

The Kona Community Development Plan has won the 2009 Outstanding Planning Award from the American Planning Association’s Hawai’i Chapter.

The plan took three years to complete and was officially adopted last year as the district’s guideline for future development.

The award will be presented Thursday at a luncheon of the 2009 Hawai’i Congress of Planning Officials conference, which will be held September 23-25, 2009, at the Sheraton Waikiki Hotel.

“Receiving this recognition from the state’s professional planners is special to us,” says Mayor Billy Kenoi, “because it affirms the County of Hawai’i’s commitment to planning for the future in collaboration with our communities.

“Special mahalo to the Kona CDP Steering Committee, who reached out to over 800 residents for input on the long range plans of how they wanted 800 miles of land in Kona to look in the future,” the mayor said.  “Planning the entire area allowed keeping South Kona more rural with the coffee farms and agriculture, expansion in the area of North Kona in the area of the West Hawaii Civic Center, construction of the Ane Keohokalole Highway (Mid-Level Road), and Honokohau Village Transit-Oriented Development (TOD).”

Mandated by the Hawai’i County General Plan, the Kona CDP was initiated by the Planning Department in 2005 in order to create a regional plan for the specific areas of North and South Kona.  The community outreach was unprecedented and innovative.  The prime private contractor prepared the Kona CDP was Wilson Okamoto Corporation, which provided planning and engineering services.  ACP Planning and Visioning led the community participation process together with the Environmental Simulation Center supporting the community mapping workshops.  Also contributing were The Conservation Fund on “green infrastructure” and David Paul Rosen & Associates on affordable housing.

Deputy Planning Director Margaret Masunaga, a Captain Cook resident, said, “The Kona CDP Steering Committee, Nancy Pisicchio and Wilson Okamoto Corporation, planned an entire area in one cohesive way and see the ‘forest for the trees.’  It is my hope that we change with a vision that moves away from gated communities with only one way in and out of a subdivision.

“I envision Kona to be a place where local residents and newcomers live together in harmony, support each other as neighbors, where we interact and participate in our Kona community, embrace our diversity, preserve our Hawaiian culture and natural resources and enjoy the island way of life.  This is what Hawai’i is all about.”

The annual Hawai’i APA awards are given to recognize individuals, communities, and organizations whose work exemplifies the planning profession’s highest goals and ideals.  The awards program serves to raise public awareness of the benefits of good planning by showcasing significant contributions that planning practitioners, professionals, and community groups make to the State of Hawaii.

For more information, call Margaret Masunaga at 987-1046.

Panaewa Squeeze

Geez folks… leave earlier but no crowd in and make driving dangerous!

This picture was taken yesterday as I was heading into work.

I’ve post dated this blog to reflect about the same time I’m drivng through the rush now.

7:30 Near Panaewa

7:30 Near Panaewa