Letters — Please Help Me Oppose Bill 209

The Hawaii County Council Planning Committee will take up Bill 209 in Kona at 9 a.m. THIS MONDAY. Please testify in my place or submit testimony via email to counciltestimony@co.hawaii.hi.us  in opposition to this bill.  Bill 209 is a commercial rezoning application for the property adjacent to the surf shop. 
I am 3,000 miles away, on the mainland, and unable to attend Monday’s meeting.
In my mind, applicant has been purposefully delaying the application to tire me out — and now has the opportunity for the bill to be taken up as far as can be on the island from Pahoa, while I am on vacation! I have been fighting this rezoning application for over a year as it has made its way through the process.
People think I am being anti-business or trying to avoid competition with my family’s business. They are misinformed.
What people fail to understand is the rezoning application is so vague,
there is no condition stating the “Pahoa Boutiques and Bungalows” project be built. And there are 48 different possibilities for village commercial. If this gets approved, it will set a precedent for more anticipated rezonings in the village. This is how McDonalds and other fast-food chains make their way in, and Pahoa Village’s unique character is comprised, even killed.
I personally would like to see a Pahoa Plan developed, which helps to limit the laundry list of possibilities for village commercial. As it stands, the applicant landowner can sell (and has had the property at 15-2885 Pahoa
Village Road listed on the market — Google to confirm), and we could get a fast-food restaurant, a used car lot, auto sales lot, cell tower,
crematorium, cemetery, what-have-you. As I said, there are 48 possibilities for village commercial zoning.
I am not opposed to development, I just think rezonings should have
conditions, like the applicant should build what is being pitched in the
Otherwise, what is the point of the Zoning Code that is supposed to look out for public necessity and general welfare? What is the point of community development plans or historic design districts, if a zoning change can negate preservation efforts? 
I cannot stand by and let Bill 209 without trying to get people
to see how easily Pahoa Village can get lined with strip malls. It is with
bills like this that offer no conditions for a rezoning.
Please, tell your contacts to email counciltestimony@co.hawaii.hi.us
regarding Bill 209. Or, show up June 18. You can testify via video
conferencing at the Pahoa Council Office. Please.
Spread this message far and wide.
Tiffany Edwards Hunt

26 replies
  1. mike
    mike says:

    I’ve been paying very close attention to this, it irks me how many rezonings are going on right now, I’ll continue testifying. There has to be a smarter way to do this, the people have got to have some type of say on what land is used for what. grrrrrrrr. I feel this is the start of many that are going to be barraged. Hope you enjoy your trip.

  2. Rob Tucker
    Rob Tucker says:

    Bill 209

    This commercial zoning application is in District 5.

    It would be very useful and informative to hear from District 5 candidate James Weatherford on this bill before Monday’s council committee vote.

    When council votes are taken long speeches aren’t allowed. Council votes come down to yes or no. Would James vote yes or no?

  3. Rob Tucker
    Rob Tucker says:


    When you say “the people have got to have some type of say on what land is used for what”….

    Zoning code is how people have say on what land is used for what. The code was approved by votes of our elected representatives. And applications to change zoning are voted on by our elected representatives.

    A number of hearings have taken place and another is set for Monday. No shortage of people having their say on this.

  4. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:

    The subject property is in District 4. And James Weatherford is a Council District 4 candidate amongst a handful of others, including Fred Blas, who is the current Puna representative. I can only hope Fred Blas will be voting against this bill and will support design district legislation for historic Pahoa Village.

  5. Rob Tucker
    Rob Tucker says:

    Correct Tiffany,

    I apologize. The subject property will be in the district for which James Weatherford is a candidate.

  6. Hilo35
    Hilo35 says:

    As a business person why would you want the restraints of limiting what you could use the property for when there is not clear indication in the market that a certain use will succeed.

  7. Greg
    Greg says:

    I am pretty sure you will delete this post but anyway, here goes:

    Tiff, let it go man!
    People need businesses, they create needed jobs and grow the economy and feed families..
    They also pay taxes which in turn pays for cops, teachers and infrastructure.

  8. Obie
    Obie says:

    Just because it is being rezoned,doesn’t mean it can be used automatically for any of the 48 uses. I really doubt they could get a permit for a cemetery !!

    It seems unfair that your family has converted a home into a business and now wants to deny that to the property owner next door !

  9. Tiffany Edwards Hunt
    Tiffany Edwards Hunt says:


    As a point of clarification, the proposal for next door is to, among other things, demolish the residence neighboring my family’s property.

    I reiterate my opposition to
    Bill 209.

  10. Rob Tucker
    Rob Tucker says:

    Assessed value difference?

    Possibly none. There are some old residences nearby that are zoned commercial but assessed and taxed as residential because residential is the use they are presently under.

    However, if the cheap house on the residential property is demolished/replaced with a new business structure I would expect the assessed value to adjust upward.

  11. Obie
    Obie says:

    If your photo post
    Classic Cars — Rotting VW is your vision of Historic Pahoa then I understand your opposition to rezoning.

  12. Rob Tucker
    Rob Tucker says:

    I wonder if James Weatherford is going to tell us his position on Bill 206.

    I hope he does. Bills at council with opposing side are most always on calendar. You get to make some people happy and piss others off…. so what will James do?

  13. CSGray
    CSGray says:

    I do believe that elsewhere on the internet James explicitly stated in response to one of your queries that he was not going to be online for a few days while he tends to his wife who was recently injured. Why do you keep demanding answers from a person you know is not online to answer you?

    I know you felt that the way James responded to the loss in the last election was not appropriate. I just don’t understand how that turned into what has every appearance of being a highly personal vendetta against James. It is as if you just want to set James up to look like he is avoiding your questions when you know he is not online to read or answer them. Your continual harping on him, and making demands for statements that you KNOW he will not be able to respond to, are starting to make you look like a bully.

    I thought better of you than this. This is the sort of behavior that makes people turn off the election season entirely and just not vote, much less ever run for office.

  14. Rob Tucker
    Rob Tucker says:

    I am sorry if asking about his positions is annoying to his supporters. I have little doubt that if the situation was reversed and I was running for council, which I am not, that James would be pressing me on my positions too. Especially about PMAR probably.

    I have spent several years working with and around James and have serious concerns about his methods and his positions. One of which is the single largest infastructure opportunity for our district in Puna’s history.

    So I am going to be asking questions as the election proceeds. James can answer them or ignore them as he chooses.

    Tiffany’s concerns about Bill 206 are a practical and reasonable opportunity to examine his approach to a local council issue. James says he supports village center development. I want to know just what that means.

  15. mark
    mark says:

    Pahoa Town is in desparate need of thoughtful long-term planning with emphasis on historic preservation with an ever-mindful eye on economic development in order to preserve the long-term growth of our small town. Mainstreet Pahoa adamently opposes this re-rezoning request while the Pahoa Regional Town Center Steering Committee seeks to delay the re-zone. Ironically, both have the same overall objective, to preserve the historic mainstreet district AND promote the economic vitality of Pahoa Town.

    The primary concerns of both entities is this broad rezoning request is from an absentee landowner that has stated on their application their intent is to upzone then resell…with little to no regard for the overall future of this key piece of ‘aina in the very heart of our beloved Pahoa.

    I strongly urge the County Council to oppose this general rezone until the Pahoa Plan’s Design District Working Group has design guidelines in place….relax…we are on Hawaiian time…take the time to allow the mana’o of the citizens of Pahoa to be heard and help the long-term planning of Pahoa Town.

  16. Hilo35
    Hilo35 says:

    It will be interesting to find out how you are going to force landowners to be part of a historic district, especially one in such decay and in need of repair

  17. CSGray
    CSGray says:

    Don’t assume you know how someone is going to vote, or who they support politically, because you do not. I want an effective county council member who will actually talk to constituents and listen to their concerns, I don’t have to agree with every position, but I want a responsive councilor, not one who only communicates with a chosen few and ignores the rest of us, and that is the candidate I will vote for, once I figure out who it is.

    However, I do like to see the game of politics played fairly though. You are still publicly badgering someone who has already stated they will not be online, using that as a way to try to make them look evasive when that isn’t what is happening, they simply are not online for a few days. You are doing it on Punaweb too. It is a cheap shot at best and mean spirited at worst.

    Why can’t people have civil disagreements about policy without having to play tricks to make the other person look bad? No wonder so few people want to serve in public office, we need all the talent we can get and quality people don’t want to put up with these kinds of stunts. What is the point in repeatedly asking a question online of a candidate who has already stated they will not be online for several days? You know you won’t get an answer when you ask the question, so your only point can be to make James look evasive when he isn’t.

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