Puna Community Development Plan Island of Hawaii
Date: December 2007
Client: County of Hawaii, Planning Department
PlanPacific was retained by the County of Hawai'i to prepare a regional development plan for the Puna District, which is a rural area that is experiencing a rapid pace of housing development and population growth. The district faces unique challenges. It is situated within the direct influence zone of Hawai'is two active volcanoes, so about half of the land area is exposed to high risk of lava flow and seismic hazards. Much of the area still has extensive native forest cover, and there are habitats for rare and endemic species.
Between 1959 and 1973, more than 50,000 lots most within the 1 to 3 acre size range were created in subdivisions that lack standard infrastructure systems. Most streets are unpaved and there is no centralized sewer system or municipal water system. A large percentage of the lots are not connected to the electrical power grid. While less than 25% of the lots have been developed with dwellings, new residential construction has accelerated in recent years because the land costs in Puna are relatively affordable.
The purpose of the Puna Community Development Plan is to identify a growth management strategy to contain sprawl, protect important natural and cultural features, avoid exposure to natural hazards, and provide cost-effective ways to provide community services.