Local non-profit Molokai preservation group Ka Honua Momona needs a home and presented a plan to the Molokai Planning Commission Wednesday to build a traditional kauhale on Hawaiian Home Lands property it leases adjacent to the Ali’i Fishpond it has helped restore.
Kauwila Hanchett, executive director of KHM International, received unanimous praise from the MoPC commissioners after describing the plans to build a green (eco-friendly) office, restrooms, hale and a performance platform.
“It’s refreshing and awesome to see a lessee of Hawaiian Home Lands going to such lengths to take care of the land,” said Commissioner Lori Buchanan.
Hanchett explained in her slideshow how the organization has grown over its eight-year history from a one-person operation to its current paid staff of eight. Over the years, KHM has proven its commitment to being a positive force for change on Molokai by fostering environmental stewardship in thousands of local residents through its restoration of the Ali’i and Kalokoeli fishponds, both just a few miles east of Kaunakakai.
According to Hanchett, KHM has recently secured a 35-year lease on both of the fishponds as well as 1.46 acres adjacent to Ali’i Fishpond. The kauhale project will allow the group to continue its work to care for the fishponds in a more appropriate facility while also reflecting its mission “to be a model of sustainability from mauka a makai.”
Special features of this construction project include composting toilets, a grey water recycling system and a grid-tied solar energy system. KHM proposes a maximum shoreline setback for the building while also minimizing the structure’s footprint. “Green” building products, use of local materials and a focus on energy conservation during the construction process have also been emphasized in the project.
KHM currently has an office at 10 Mohala St, Suite 202 in Kaunakakai and is always looking for volunteers “to build a better future for our keiki and for Molokai.” The non-profit can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 553-8353.
While it does not appear that the MoPC has any jurisdiction over this Hawaiian Home Lands project, Hanchett said her group would be willing to go through Maui County’s Special Management Area permitting process if necessary. “We want to be completely in compliance with the county and any other building requirements,” said Hanchett.
Buchanan suggested that the MoPC draft a letter to the DHHL to encourage them to create more projects like this on Hawaiian home lands. “They are setting a precedent and setting the bar high,” said Buchanan. “If they can do it so can anyone.”