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About the Social Services working group
Note from John Whalen of PlanPacific:

To minimize the duplication of effort among the various Working Groups, it is suggested that the Public Facilities & Infrastructure Working Group focus on planning of facilities for basic infrastructure that is not related to transportation, such as water, waste disposal, and police and fire facilities. This group may also want to consider approaches to finance improvements to infrastructure in non-conforming subdivisions.
The Transportation Working Group will address facilities for travel (i.e., highways, streets, emergency access routes, and bicycle, pedestrian and mass transit facilities).
The Social Services Working Group can focus on affordable housing, as well as police-related programs (e.g., Weed & Seed, Neighborhood Watch, etc.). Social Services may also suggest locations for community-support facilities (e.g., schools, medical clinics/hospitals, libraries, senior housing and centers) that are not explicitly the kuleana of Public Facilities & Infrastructure.

It would be particularly helpful to decision-makers to receive input from the community re:
  • Should the County encourage the State to establish small schools or enlarge the centralized, large schools?
Preliminary Themes, Goals and Objectives from the Small Group Meetings

These themes (recurring ideas) were derived from 130 small group meetings conducted across the Puna district.

Preliminary Themes (SOC; SOC – HALE; SOC – DRUG; EDU)
  1. Access to Harmful Drugs
  2. Drug Rehabilitation Centers
  3. Drug Prevention and Education
  4. Kupuna Housing
  5. Affordable Assisted Living Facilities
  6. Improved Education System
Preliminary Goal: To work towards an increase in social services in Puna that address defined themes.

Preliminary Objectives

These objectives have been derived from themes generated from 3,394 ideas provided by broad citizen participation through the Puna district. The numbers in parentheses indicates which theme or themes were used to develop the objectives.

A. Increase the number of police officer to be stationed in critical areas of Puna (1)

B. Provide an adequate number of healthy, clean and supportive drug rehabilitation centers in Puna (2)

C. Establish comprehensive educational program on drug prevention for youth (3)

D. Facilitate the development of more Kupuna housing in relevant areas (4)

E. Identify plausible incentives in coordination with the State of Hawai`i to develop affordable assisted living facilities (5)

F. Provide an educational framework in coordination with the DOE and local charter schools that’s relevant to Puna (6)

Excerpts of Previous Plans

Considerable time, thought and community-wide effort has been applied to the issue of social services, including education, in Puna over the past decade or more, resulting in a number of plans that have made specific recommendations. Pertinent excerpts from these plans are provided below.

"The population of Puna continues to rise at an astonishing rate. With increased population comes an increase in housing demand. In 2005, approximately 1,155 permits for new dwellings in Puna were issued by the County of Hawaii. Puna’s proximity to Hilo and availability of relatively inexpensive residentially sized lots has contributed to this growth. Puna is presently considered as a “bedroom district” to Hilo, meaning that much of Puna’s residential population commute to Hilo for employment."

"Much of the housing growth in Puna has occurred in the non-conforming subdivisions created prior to the adoption of the zoning and subdivision codes. As a result, a majority of homes are serviced by individual water catchment systems, cesspools or septic systems, electric generators, propane tanks, and substandard roadways. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 98% of Puna’s housing stock is single-family and 25% of households have an income of less than $15,000."

"The Puna district has approximately four acres zoned for multiple residential use
The demand for multi-residential development may increase with the continued population growth. Ohana (accessory) dwellings are not permitted because of State agricultural designation. Farm dwellings and additional farm dwellings are permitted on each property, but only after approval from the county on a case-by-case basis."

"The education system in Puna is a mix of public, private, and charter schools. The Keaau public school complex is comprised of Keaau High School, Keaau Middle School, Keaau Elementary School, and Mountain View Elementary School. A new Keaau High School is under construction. Once completed, there will no longer be a need to transport 11th and 12th graders from Keaau to South Hilo."

"The Pahoa public school complex is comprised of Pahoa High and Intermediate School, Pahoa Elementary School, and Keonepoko Elementary School. Natural population growth and in-migration to Puna are contributing to increased pressures on existing education facilities. Responses to growth pressures have taken the form of facility expansion, however, overcrowding is still an issue."

"Private schools established in Puna are Kamehameha Schools which open in 2001, and Christian Liberty School. Charter schools are Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science, Ke Kula Nawahi o Kalaniopuu Iki Lab, Kua O Ka La, Water of Life, and Volcano School of Arts and Science."

"The Keaau, Mountain View, and Pahoa branch libraries are joint community-school facilities. The Pahoa and Mountain View branches are inadequate in size to meet the needs of the students and community. In addition, a lack of pedestrian access and parking are ongoing problems."

The County of Hawai'i General Plan, adopted by ordinance in 2005, sets the land use and community development policy for the County of Hawai'i, and is intended to serve as a guide for state and federal government and private sector, as well.

"Courses of Action:
Encourage the maintenance and rehabilitation of the existing housing inventory to maintain the viability of existing communities.
Encourage and aid the agricultural industry in continuing to provide employee housing.
Improve and develop roadways, water, sewage, and other basic facilities necessary to encourage development of lands suitable for residential use.
Improve existing school complexes to meet standards established by the State Department of Education.
School facilities should be made available to the community for recreation and other compatible uses during after school hours.
Encourage the Department of Education to plan and develop school facilities as the need arises.
Encourage improvements to pedestrian access between the village of Pahoa and the school and library facilities."

In 1995, the County of Hawai'i secured the services of a consultant to complete the Puna Community Development Plan. While it was not adopted, this document sets forth some specific recommendations for social services:

"Plan, design, and build a corridor of secondary public roadways and water mains into the central corridor of the central subdivisions, as shown in the General Plan, as a starting point for clustering of service and pedestrian areas.
Encourage planning for future multi-family residential areas near future commercial centers in the existing subdivisions, in collaboration with these communities, to provide transportation and housing options for residents who cannot or do not wish to be auto-dependent.
Support the development of alternative housing ownership strategies which provide options for low-cost and more accessible home ownership.
Collaborate with subdivisions to plan neighborhood centers which incorporate appropriate multi-family residential opportunities.
In the east rift area, instead of increasing the school facilities in Pahoa, consider developing smaller community elementary schools near centers of population in the subdivisions. The USGS should be consulted so that schools can be placed with minimum of risk, i.e., schools may be located laterally rather than directly mauka or makai of population centers, and in smaller than normal bundles.
Encourage the State to cooperate with subdivisions in early selection of sufficient neighborhood school sites to accommodate the future build-out of the subdivisions, in order to avoid later condemnations.
School sites should be reserved at the following general locations over the next fifteen years, in collaboration with the Department of Education, with development to proceed as needed:
Elementary/Library:
Royal Hawaiian/Ohia Estates
22.5 mile
Eden Roc/Fern Acres
Waikahekahe
Olaa
Hawaiian Paradise Park
Nanawale
Intermediate & High Schools
Hawaiian Paradise Park
22.5 mile
Waikahekahe
Acreage needed (DOE standards)
Elementary with playground: 12 acres
Intermediate School: 18 acres
High School: 50 acres
Subdivisions should be encouraged to collaborate with the DOE to do long-term planning for additional school facility locations that may ultimately be needed for permitted development."

In addition to these County-sponsored plans, community-initiated plans for Hawaiian Acres, Hawaiian Paradise Park and Volcano make the following recommendations for social services and education:

Hawaiian Acres Master Plan:
"Schools exist in Mt. View, Keaau, and Hilo. Due to land use allowances and current population, Hawaiian Acres does not at this time anticipate the need for public schools within. Hawaiian Acres does promote home schooling and private schools as the need arises, again subject to land uses."

Hawaiian Paradise Park Community Master Plan:
"The land use plan shows very specific locations for several schools. These areas would include a high school, a middle school, and two elementary schools."

Volcano Vision 2020:
"Support the establishment of a public charter school in Volcano."

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Upcoming Events
Puna CDP Action Committee Meeting 05-01-2018 May 01, 2018 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Pāhoa Neighborhood Facility (15-2910 Ku'uhome Street, Pāhoa, HI)
Kona CDP Action Committee Meeting May 08, 2018 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — West Hawaii Civic Center - Community Hale (Building G)
North Kohala CDP Action Committee Meeting 05-21-2018 May 21, 2018 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Hisaoka Gym Conference Room (54-382 Kamehameha Park Road, Kapa'au, HI)
South Kohala CDP Action Committee Meeting Jun 04, 2018 05:00 PM - 07:00 PM — Kailapa Community Association Pavilion
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