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Alii Drive Banyans parking lot EA released

The state’s Office of Environmental Quality Control has released the draft Environmental Assessment on the county plan to construct 17 parking spaces near Banyans surf spot on Alii Drive.

According to the OEQC’s Feb.8 Environmental Notice:

The Hawaii County Department of Public Works intends to construct a 17-space paved parking lot near Banyans surf site on Alii Drive to alleviate congestion and safety issues caused by excessive roadside parking.

The properties will be leased by the County of Hawaii for a term of eight years, after which the landowner and County may negotiate to continue the lease. The project will include clearing and grubbing, excavation/grading, paving, fencing, and installation of ADA parking stalls. The site for the lot is on the mauka side of Alii Drive. The parking lot will be fenced and gated and locked at night.

Construction of the parking lot is expected to have no more than a minor and temporary effect on traffic. The site has previously been disturbed and no significant biological, archaeological or cultural resources are present.

Project Location and Description

The Hawaii County Department of Public Works (DPW) intends to construct a 17-space paved parking lot near Banyans surf site on the mauka side of Alii Drive to alleviate congestion and safety issues caused by excessive roadside parking.

The parking lot would be constructed on properties identified as TMKs 7-6-015:012 and 7-6-015:013, which have been disturbed by construction activities including house construction and demolition in the past. The properties will be leased by the County of Hawaii for a term of eight years, after which the landowner and County may negotiate to continue the lease.

The project will include clearing and grubbing of the site, excavation/grading, paving, and fencing. Several existing trees and portions of the rock walls currently present on the site will be left in place. The parking lot will be fenced and gated and locked at night. It will include two parking stalls designed in accordance with guidelines of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

The County plans to finish design of the parking lot in March 2011, after which it will proceed with construction, either in-house or through a contractor. Construction would take about 30 to 40 working days, and the value of the improvements will be $124,000 or less. The monthly lease rent on the property will be $500.

Purpose and Need

The Hawaii County Department of Public Works is undertaking this project in order to resolve problems associated with roadside parking by surfers, spectators and beachgoers at the surf site known as Banyans on the north side of Holualoa Bay. The area has a long history of surfing, as Holualoa Bay was a favorite surfing spot for the Hawaiian Alii, including Kamehameha I.

There are many surfers in West Hawaii but relatively few surf sites, and Banyans is one of the most popular not only because of the quality of the wave when it breaks but also because it responds to various swell directions and thus breaks frequently.

The County prohibits parking along the narrow right-of-way of two-lane Alii Drive in order to keep the heavily used bike lanes clear. The shortage of available parking frustrates surfers and can lead to conflicts with private property owners, blocking of the bike lanes, congestion, and safety problems.

Construction of the 17-space parking lot will not solve all parking, congestion or safety problems in the area but it will generally contribute to a safer and less congested area.

Determination

The Hawaii County Department of Public Works has preliminarily determined that the proposed parking lot will not significantly alter the environment, as impacts will be minimal, and the agency intends to issue a Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI).

This determination will be reviewed based on comments to the Draft EA, and the Final EA will present the final determination.

To read the full report, visit: gen.doh.hawaii.gov/Shared%20Do…

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