APPLICATION TO AMEND SPECIAL PERMIT #1122 Submitted by HAWAII’S VOLCANO CIRCUS & the VILLAGE GREEN SOCIETY. (Hawaii non profit corporations) for a Self-Sustainable Community Arts Center Demonstration Model In KEHENA, PUNA, HAWAII TMK’s: 1-2-009:034 &1-2-038:050 & and 1-2-038:049 APRIL 28th 2010 EXHIBITS Exhibit A -- Exhibit B -- Exhibit C -- Exhibit D -- Letter sent to DLNR Exhibit E -- Exhibit F -- Internal Revenue Service 501(c)3 Non-Profit Document Exhibit G -- Internal Revenue Service 501(c)2 Non-Profit Document Exhibit H -- Letter from Planning Director Chris Yuen Exhibit I -- Community Petition supporting this application Exhibit J -- Community Letters supporting this application Exhibit K -- Letter of support from Kalapana Seaview Estates Community Association Exhibit L -- List of HVC Advisory Committee Members Exhibit M -- Parking Plan Exhibit N Exhibit O Exhibit P 3 A. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROPOSED USE The applicants are requesting to amend Special Permit #1122 which established a Performing Arts Educational Center on lot TMK # 1-2-9-034 and lot TMK 1-2-038-050 located within the Kehena-Keauohana-Keokea Homesteads and Kalapana Seaview Estates in the Puna District, Island of Hawaii. These lots are owned by The Village Green Society Ltd., which has a symbiotic relationship with the Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus Ltd. which manages the Performing Arts Educational Center. Both are 501 (c ) non profit organizations registered in the State of Hawaii. Since the County Planning Commission approved SP#1122 in 2001 our community and our organizations have grown significantly. In recognition of these changing times and because several of the community services currently provided by our organizations are beyond the scope of our Special Permit #1122, we are applying to amend our permit to include these activities. We are also applying to amend our requested use from a Performing Arts Educational Center to a Self-Sustainable Community Arts Center Demonstration Model. 3 A.1 History and Background of the Applicants Overview Both Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus and the Village Green Society were founded by 35 professional performers and educators in 1984. The Village Green Society has the IRS designation of a 501 (c) 2 title holding company. It operates like a land trust; with ownership of the land and all the property therein held by the corporation. In the unlikely case that the Village Green Society sold it‟s property and assets, all profits from such sale would pass to Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus, the legally designated 501 (c ) 3 beneficiary. Since both organizations are non-profits this means that there are no investors, no dividends and no employees bonuses. Village Green Society property and buildings are not owned by any of its 35 corporation members. Individual members hold nothing salable and receive no monetary rewards. We see ourselves as Land Stewards responsible for passing on to the next generation a safe and sustainable eco village that has a community center as it‟s heart. This is our sole motivation. Over the last 23 years educational programs as well as physical development of the property have almost entirely been conducted with volunteer labor. At present we have only one half-time employee plus a handful of contracted employees paid less than $1,000 annually. Community Served Our location is situated within one of the least served and most needy areas of the Puna district. Within a one mile radius there are three subdivisions with over 1200 house lots and a potential population of over 3,000. Special Permit #1122 states “located in Puna, Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus provides additional educational, cultural and recreational benefits for a rural community that undeniably has the most social, economic and educational problems in all of Hawaii and has been recognized by many authorities as being in great need of positive input on all levels.” Puna, in the County of Hawaii, with a population of about 38,000 and an area larger than the island of Oahu. It is one of the most economically depressed area in Hawaii and leads the state in teenage pregnancies, domestic violence, and drug abuse, with an exceptionally high population of alienated students, broken homes, low income families and high school dropouts. (The state of Hawaii as a whole ranks 4th in the nation for high school dropouts, 11th for children living in poverty and 7th for percentage of children living in single family homes.) While growing at a rate of 76.8% over ten years (State average 14.9%) Puna has some of the highest levels of poverty in Hawaii. At the same time Puna district is seriously lacking in infrastructure, particularly for children‟s services and activities. Its schools are overcrowded, with disciplinary problems and there are limited social activities. available for students outside of school. Pahoa, Keonepoko and Kea'au Schools are all on the State list of Special Needs Schools. The D.O.E. budget cuts have consistently reduced the schools‟ ability to provide their own funds for cultural and recreational activities. Due to it‟s rural location and virtual absence of public transportation, the 9,000 students and youth, lack easy access to many recreational, cultural, artistic and social events. most people live miles down unpaved roads, there is no dedicated youth center, no public beaches and few accessible park facilities. In addition this area averages about 150" of rain annually, and often recreational activities planned for outdoors have to be canceled because of inclement weather. Poverty and lack of services in our area creates an environment ripe for a plethora of deviant destructive behavior. Hawaii’s Volcano Circus. Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus (H.V.C.) has been active with educational, cultural and entertainment programs since 1984. Our activities have developed as a response to the growing needs of our local community Until 2008 when the Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education (SPACE) opened we were best known for HICCUP our Hawaii Island Community Circus Unity Program. Our original mission was to promote the healthy development of children and the community. Our stated purpose has always been to offer educational services to the public at large with emphasis on Elementary and Intermediate school age children, teenagers, the aged and disabled, especially in isolated rural communities. Our methodology for developing and implementing programs is through partnerships with other educational, civic and charitable organizations. H.V.C. programs have served the communities of Puna, East Hawaii, the Big Island and the State of Hawaii since 1984. Past programs organized by H.V.C. in Hawaii include nineteen International Circus Arts Festivals, performances, educational workshops and classes in schools, libraries, churches, festivals, fairs, benefits, and other community events. The Hiccup Circus, with participants from rural Puna and Hilo, was a regular feature at most Big Island Festivals and Parades for 20 years, and performed in over 1,280 community events. H.V.C.‟s “Juggling For Success” program served over 8,000 students and has been funded by the Hawaii Community Foundation, the D.O.E., the Federal Drug Free Program, the State Foundation for Culture and the Arts, the YWCA Community Youth Activity Program, McInerny, Freer Eleemosynary, George Castle Trust, Atherton Family Foundation, Baldwin Foundation, Watumull Foundation, Julia Temple, HEI, Helco, the Wilcox Foundation and others. Additional H.V.C. programs included weekly cultural- recreational programs funded by O.H.A., four community festivals and programs funded by the State Foundation Culture and the Arts, “Dr Seuss in Words and Actions” a literacy program presented in libraries and schools funded by the Friends of the Libraries plus the highly acclaimed show “Naturally High” funded by the Federal Drug Free program. This show with its “positive alternatives to drugs” message was featured twice on Hawaiian Moving Company, was presented in 139 Elementary and Intermediate schools on the Big Island, Kauai, Maui, Molokai, Oahu and in California and was funded by the State Foundation Culture & Arts, the American Lung Association, the Atherton Family Foundation, the G. N. Wilcox Trust and the George P & Ida Tenney Castle Trust. Hiccup Circus members have received trophy after trophy in local talent shows including 1995 State Champions and 1996 Big Island winners of the Exchange Club Search for Talent event and 1995 Group winners in the Lehua Jaycees Search for Talent. The Hiccup Circus has performed throughout the Hawaiian Islands in schools and has performed for First Night in Oahu (1993) and Maui (1994) and ten Kauai Festivals (1994-2005). Television appearances have included two features by Hawaiian Moving Company (Jan 1993 and Feb 1996) and several public access shows in Hawaii. In 2000 HVC reduced its off-island touring in order to focus on supporting local community development in Puna. We collaborated with a host of schools and other community arts groups from Puna and expanded the size of our education programs and performances. Malama i ke kai in 2003 and 2004 and Malama Ka Aina in 2005 were community programs presented by the Hiccup Circus in the years just prior to opening SPACE. The importance of these long term large scale community productions is recognized at the Federal level and three times we received funding from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as a host of Hawaii foundations, local businesses and government agencies. These shows, held in Leilani Community Center, sold out over 750 seats nightly. In addition to demonstrating a range of performance skills from hip hop to hula to marimbas these performances brought over 24 Puna Makai community groups together to build networks and relationships for long term community building. A review on the inside cover of our 2005 Malama Ka Aina program states: “Our Puna Community Show…is born from the minds and bodies, the sweat and the tears of hundreds of creative people from our community. It has been the culmination of a year long social action project involving many local schools, Community Associations and Performance Arts groups. More than 250 youth and adults have participated in over 120 arts workshops. Our goal has been to build relationships between the colorfully diverse and multi-cultural community of Puna Makai. We believe that by working and playing together we can develop the essential relationships that create good quality of life. We are using performance and circus arts to generate the synergetic power that groups produce when they collaborate on a large project." This community strengthening process has continued through the activities of SPACE and has been demonstrated by the support given to SPACE in this Special Permit amendment application process. Our petition to support the activities at SPACE has over 730 signatures and a multitude of e-mails and letters have also been sent to government agencies and staff. (Exhibit I and Exhibit J) Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus has presented an average of 60 shows annually since 1984. Our shows have generally all included music, acting, dance, juggling, comedy, magic, balance and aerial acts. Just prior to the opening of SPACE our community circus shows included a marimba band, hip hop dancers, a hula halau, martial artists, gymnasts, actors, singers and a rock and roll band in addition to traditional circus acts. One of our lesser known achievements with local youth has been the success of our Hiccup Circus „Side Show Band‟ which continued as the hard rock group Liquid (aka Living in Question) and went on to become a favorite Big Island musical group and record 3 CD‟s with a renowned musical distribution company. These Hiccup Circus students have now moved to the mainland to pursue professional musical careers. Circus and live music are inseparable. Village Green Society We chose to name our IRS approved land trust “the Village Green Society” because we believe in the ancient wisdom that it takes a village to raise a child. We started as a simple homestead in 1987, learning how to live simply and in harmony with our jungle home and our growing neighborhood. We bought raw jungle with the vision to create a rural village environment. Originally we had no potable water, no grid power, no telephone service, lots of rocks and very little soil. We built homes, dug cess pools, erected water tanks, and installed solar systems. We also introduced diversified agriculture, including: fruit orchards; bee hives; chickens; goats and horses; we build soil and maintain organic permaculture gardens. Through the work of the Village Green Society TMK 1-2-9-034 has been converted into one of the most self-sustaining properties in the State of Hawaii. Since 1998, we have described ourselves as an Artistic Eco Village. We are members of a worldwide network of similar groups (see www.gen.ecovillage.org) described as “Alternative experimentation laboratories, with a food production, ecological buildings, a resources center, a reception place, or artistic workshops. The aim is to create, together, a convivial and fair way of life, with a minimal ecological trace becoming more socially, economically and ecologically sustainable.” An ecovillage is often composed of people who have chosen an alternative to centralized electrical, water, and sewage systems. Many see the breakdown of traditional forms of community, wasteful consumerist lifestyles, the destruction of natural habitat, urban sprawl, factory farming, and over-reliance on fossil fuels as trends that must be changed to avert ecological disaster. We see small-scale communities with minimal ecological impact as a preferred alternative. Today, there are ecovillages in over 70 countries on six continents. We became very enthused when the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan was adopted into law because many of the goals and strategic actions it proposes have been part of our experiment for two decades. The Village Green Society is able to demonstrate that ecovillages are one of the means by which many goals of the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan can be achieved HVC, SPACE and Village Green Society Today When SPACE opened in 2008, (seven years after SP#1122 was approved) our Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus Advisory Committee was expanded to include twelve Red Road community leaders (please see Exhibit L). In response to the current needs expressed by our growing community the expanded committee met to review HVC‟s strategic plan and mission statement. The decision was made to change the mission statement to the following: “To creatively promote sustainable local community in Puna Makai at SPACE.” As a result the central focus of our work shifted to include community building activities in addition to circus education and entertainment with the goal being to promote and encourage sustainable community development. In Puna, where most publicity about the district is negative, the positive and prominent educational, cultural and recreational programs provided by HVC and VGS have given a much needed boost in pride for our local community. Increasing numbers of families with children have moved to our immediate neighborhood. Our proposal provides children and adults from Kalapana Seaview Estates and the other communities served by our organizations with a much needed self-sustainable community arts center demonstration model. Community development and many services for children and the community will all be greatly enhanced. (see Exhibit I, Exhibit J and Exhibit K) 3 A.2 Proposed Use including proposed hours of operation and numbers of employees/people served. Activities permitted under SP#1122 A DOE Charter School with a maximum of 40 students. (See Exhibit H Letter from Director Chris Yuen) This Performance Arts school has a Circus Arts focus integrated in the curriculum. We are applying to increase the maximum number of students to 72. Circus workshops mostly after school on Mondays-Fridays between 2.30 and 6pm with 20-30 participants. (we have agreed with neighbors to limit noise to 45 decibels) Occasional rehearsals ending by 9pm with 20-30 participants. (we have agreed with neighbors to limit noise to 45 decibels) A Certified Kitchen for the use of students, staff and faculty. Approximately 40 people maximum, teaching school home economics, facilities for farmers market vendors and small business food preparation, activities end by 9pm with a 45 decibel maximum noise level. School students and 10 local family businesses will use the facility. 12 student tent sites Commercial Farming with permits for one residence, three farm dwellings, two workshop/toolsheds Activities NOT permitted under SP#1122 The additional activities we are requesting to be included in our amended special permit have almost all been tested and have received tremendous community support, indicated by the attendance numbers at trial events. Where neighbors have expressed impacts from these events we have either stopped testing them or have developed solutions to resolve specific issues. An ongoing dialogue with our neighbors over the last two years has culminated in a series of recent meetings that have resulted in a member of the neighborhood joining our advisory committee and together we have produced the following proposal for additional activities and their respective limitations. Twelve Circus Arts Public Performances annually that end by 9.30pm with a maximum of 60 decibel noise level with a maximum of 300 attendees inclusive of staff and performers. Twelve Circus Show/Dinner Fundraisers annually that end by 9pm with a maximum of 55 decibel noise level and a maximum of 200 attendees inclusive of staff and performers. A weekly Farmers Market held on Saturdays from 8am-1pm with food and craft vendors and entertainment. Average attendance during the market is expected to be about 150 people. A weekly Night Bazaar from 6-9pm with food and craft vendors and entertainment. Average attendance during the bazaar is expected to be about 70 people. An Industrial Arts Center facility operating weekdays only between 9am-4.30pm with noise levels limited to those expected from an average residence with occasional power tool usage. Average expected usage is 5 people weekly. The previously approved Certified Kitchen will additionally provide a facility for teaching school home economics and for food preparation for farmers market, night bazaar and dinner theater vendors as well as small family food businesses, such as “Let‟s Go Pesto”. Two evenings weekly meals will be provided for a maximum of 40 local community residents and we plan to offer a free delivery service to reduce traffic. Kitchen activities will end by 9pm with a 45 decibel maximum noise level. A maximum of 72 school students, 10 local family businesses and attendees at the aforementioned Farmers Market, Night Bazaar and dinner theater will use the facility. Occasional community meetings and family events including weddings, memorials and birthdays provided free or at affordable rental rates on weekends only up until 7pm with noise levels of 60 decibels maximum. These activities will all be promoted and produced by SPACE/HVC/Village Green Society, with no public rentals of SPACE for any of the above except for the weekend community/family events. Many of the proposed additional activities have had trial runs over the last two years and their undisputed support from almost all of our local residents clearly shows that our SPACE Advisory Committee has accurately identified community needs. Community residents have also asked for a commercial kitchen and an Industrial Arts Center. These facilities are acceptable to our most impacted neighbors with the attached limitations. Our Puna Makai petition with over 740 signatures (Exhibit I), our many community letters (Exhibit J) and the letter from Kalapana Seaview Community Association (Exhibit K) requesting County support for these additional activities at SPACE is testimony to the inclusiveness of the community in the preparation of this application. 4 faculty/staff dwellings, a volunteers kitchen, a shower block, 2 solar power sheds and 12 student bunkhouses. (In place of the 12 student tent sites permitted in Special Permit #1122.) Self-Sustainable Living On our Village Green Society property we have experimented for 23 years with self- sustainable practices which include:- saving all hardwood trees cleared on our property and milling them locally to be used wherever possible in construction. The SPACE pavilion has lumber from our own property including 40 ohia posts, all the trim from ohia and lama plus mango slab counters. developing methods to optimize location-appropriate sustainable agriculture practices. Our 20-30 residents consume nearly all of our food production, thereby greatly reducing our need to purchase food. measuring our financial success by consuming less thereby reducing our economic impact - the complete opposite of a commercial farm. The Village Green Society has not exceeded $25,000 in gross income for eleven of the last eighteen years and is thriving. creating building designs which incorporate natural ventilation and natural lighting. SPACE operates without air conditioning or daytime lighting. SPACE and several of our dwellings are viewed by many as a model of locally sustainable architectural design generating electrical power for all activities on the site from 6 solar systems, including the SPACE facility‟s 5.6kw grid tie. We have one of the most extensive alternative power concentrations on private property in Hawaii County. using solar heating systems for most of our hot water needs. collecting rainwater and storing it in twelve catchment tanks with a total capacity of 58,000 gallons and a system to transfer this valuable resource to wherever it is needed on the land. practicing the three R‟s – reduce, recycle, re-use. We reduce our transport needs by organizing a neighborhood car pool, using a solar powered farm vehicle and shopping for one another on a daily basis. We reuse linen table cloths, hand towels, plates, cups and cutlery whenever possible and have always used recycled costumes, recycled tools and often recycled equipment and building materials. We keep all cardboard onsite, recycling much of it into mulch for our fruit trees and return all glass and plastic to be recycled. building soil from horse manure, chicken manure, compost, mulch and coconut husks (after feeding the coconut meal to the chickens) maintaining over 10 acres of jungle without weedwacking or mowing by using two horses and a grass management plan. 3 A.3 Statement of Objectives and Reasons for this request Since the County Planning Commission approved SP#1122 in 2001, our community and our organizations have grown significantly. In recognition of these changing times and because several of the community services currently provided by our organizations are beyond the scope of our Special Permit #1122, we are applying to amend our permit to include these activities such that we can continue to successfully meet the needs of our local community while operating within legal guidelines. SPACE and the Village Green Society activities have evolved over time to create a working model of a self supporting Community Arts Center. Research indicates that we are undoubtedy one of the most Self-Sustainable Community Arts Center in the U.S. One of our organization‟s most significant strategic goals is to support other communities in Hawaii (and beyond) in their process of providing sustainable community services and facilities for themselves. We are putting into practice many of the goals and objectives of both the Hawaii 2050 Sustainability Plan and the County of Hawai„i Sustainability Primer. We believe that we have a lot to share as a demonstration model of sustainability. The Hawai„i 2050 Plan is the most comprehensive statewide planning process conducted in over three decades. It provides over-arching State goals that the counties can use as a guide to further their sustainability efforts. Hawai„i 2050 is intended to augment and complement other existing government plans, and provides an action agenda that is oriented toward achieving sustainability goals and principles. Education is a critical component of Hawai„i 2050; it is considered fundamental to the accomplishment of all five goals of the Plan and was made an integral part of all of the goals. The Hawaii 2050 Plan states, “We must understand the implications and merits of sustainable living. We must develop lifelong learning opportunities and public awareness programs to change behaviors and values in order to develop a sustainability ethic. Quality of life encompasses safe, caring, and engaged communities; healthy, sustainable surroundings; quality job opportunities for present and future generations; access to quality education, housing and health care; adequate, well-maintained infrastructure and governmental services; access to recreational facilities and leisure activities; and positive interaction and respect among the citizenry. We must ensure that our families and youth are supported and nurtured. For example, after-school programs, sports, musical and other extracurricular activities beyond the school day help keep kids out of trouble; provide expanded learning opportunities and interests; and enhance social skills that make for well-rounded citizens. Having a safe and decent place to live, access to health care, and a safe haven when difficult times are upon us are measures of a humane and compassionate society. Parks, recreational and leisure activities enhance our quality of life by providing facilities, services and programs that meet the emotional, social and physical needs of communities. Providing access to recreational facilities and activities to meet the varied needs of differing communities (e.g., rural, urban, large and small communities) are important aspects of a healthy quality of life.” The Hawaii 2050 Plan states that “integrating a curriculum is a straightforward, measurable way to directly educate the next generation about these concerns but the effort has to expand beyond that. It has to be embraced by churches, temples, youth groups, canoe clubs and others. This social movement is already building and it cannot be confined to government action. We must also invest in a public awareness campaign about sustainability, and encourage cross-sector dialogue to address key long-term and sustainability issues facing our state.” Hawaii‟s Volcano Circus is an educational organization. We believe that education is key for a sustainable Hawai„i and fully embrace a major premise of the Hawai„i 2050 Plan that “education and awareness of sustainability is essential to the plan‟s success.” Through programs in our resident Charter School, our SPACE workshops and performances and our sustainable ecovillage we are implementing the Hawai„i 2050 Task Force goal “to educate Hawai„i‟s people by integrating the concepts of sustainability within Hawai„i‟s educational curriculum” because “such core concepts could provide the foundation for lifetime awareness about sustainability in the same way that Hawai„i‟s students learn about math, reading and history. Young people are our greatest asset. They are open and enthusiastic about sustainability as a mainstream concept. They use technology to connect with each other on this topic, and are developing their own environmental and community-based movement to plan for Hawai„i‟s future.” The 2050 plan further states that “the goal is that sustainability will be a way of life for all Hawai„i residents; not a technical term used by environmentalists, planners and political leaders. Integrating this ethic cannot be confined to government policy, but rather it is a fundamental shift in our understanding of our economy, society and environment. All sectors and individuals must play an active and vital role. This goal, more than any of the others, requires the collective action of all…It is important that Hawai„i‟s community be engaged and committed to the concept of sustainability, and be an active partner in ensuring Hawai„i‟s sustainable future. Such public acceptance, including the need to change social behavior, requires an aggressive effort to educate Hawai„i‟s people on the value and necessity of sustainability.” The County of Hawai‟i Sustainability Primer, published by the Department of Research and Development in 2009, states that “From a sustainability perspective, the problem is that we are creating ongoing structural barriers that actually prevent people from being able to meet their own needs. These barriers are rooted in our global political and economic systems, and include the abuse of political power, of economic power and of the environment…Examples include discriminatory government policies…” “This is a journey that is going to take unprecedented leadership. We are not going to get the future we want if we sit back and wait for someone else to start first. What the world needs now, more than ever before, is leadership. Role models. Champions. People who are willing to stand up and make a difference. And leaders aren‟t just CEOs and politicians. Leaders can be champions at any level of an organization or community…Effective sustainability champions have a special combination of passion and competence. They care deeply enough to make change happen, even if the obstacles seem great. And they are skilled enough and committed enough to identify those obstacles and remove them one by one.” The vision of our organizations is to serve as a Champion and a Demonstration Model for self-sustainability since we believe that in the current economic climate communities need to provide more services and facilities for themselves and not rely on County, State or Federal Government. The activities proposed in this application are essential to the sustainability of the Community Arts Center for the following reasons: Twelve Circus Arts Public Performances and Twelve Circus Show/Dinner Fundraisers annually will provide essential experience for the training of our students alongside seasoned professionals and will generate revenue to support our community programs. A weekly Farmers Market and a weekly Night Bazaar will support local farmers and artists with income and also provide a low but steady revenue source to support our facility. An Industrial Arts Center facility will provide an educational workshop facility for the Charter School students as well as community members. Art pieces produced may be sold at our Farmers market or elsewhere and provide another revenue source to support local artists and our facility. The Certified Kitchen will serve as a classroom for teaching school home economics and as small business incubator for small family food businesses, such as “Let‟s Go Pesto” and market vendors. A local cooperative will serve dinner 3 days weekly as a community service and to generate a small income. Facilities for community meetings and family events including weddings, memorials and birthdays will be provided by us as a community service. Facilities for such events are either expensive or located in Pahoa 14 miles away. Our sustainable farming practices on Village Green Society land provide us with the experience and research to be a leader and demonstration model for individuals and other organizations learning self-sustainability. The food produced and consumed by volunteers lowers our overhead and is an essential part of our balanced budget. Permits for essential dwellings and other farm buildings are needed since our budget for paid staff is severely limited and we require a level of volunteer support that includes at least 4 faculty, 8 staff and 12 student interns residing onsite. We are aware of the limitations of existing zoning regulations and have therefore joined the Hawaii Island Alliance of Ecovillages, which currently has 22 member organizations (Exhibit O). Within the next year the Hawaii Island Alliance of Ecovillages intends to submit a Bill to the County Council proposing to add Ecovillage Zoning to the County Code. Examples of Ecovillage Zoning already exist in Portland, OR, Eugene, OR and in British Columbia. There are many more Ecovillage zoning bills currently being reviewed by administrations around the country. As an interim measure we are requesting the County Planning Commission to give temporary approval for our 4 unpermitted dwellings, a volunteers kitchen, a shower block, 2 solar power sheds and 12 student bunkhouses. (In place of the 12 student tent sites permitted in Special Permit #1122.) We are asking for a five year time extension to come into compliance with these structures to allow for passage of the new legislation and implementation of the zoning changes. Approval of this application to amend Special Permit #1122 will allow our organizations to continue providing our community with one of the best working models of a Self- Sustainable Community Arts Center in the nation and will further help to bring Hawai„i 2050 Sustainability Plan objectives into fruition. Our purpose is to provide inspiration and learned wisdom in a climate of economic downturn and increasingly scarce support from County, State and Federal governments. It is worthy of note that in the Hawai„i 2050 Public Opinion Survey (2007) only 36.3% of Hawai„i residents believe the government will be effective in solving Hawai„i‟s problems. This indicates that the public supports organizations such as ours experimenting with ways to solve sustainability problems. As IRS non-profit organizations we are specifically charged with the responsibility to provide leadership for such community services. In conclusion we believe that the community facilities and services provided by our organizations for the benefit of the public save the County of Hawaii taxpayers many thousands of dollars annually. The Pahoa Recreation Center which currently has far fewer activities and serves far fewer Puna residents than our SPACE facility cost $548,000 to build in 1975 (SPACE cost $385,000 in 2007) and the current monthly expense to operate the County facility is over $11,000 (SPACE $7,000) with an average revenue per month of $300 (SPACE $7,000). You can see by these numbers (Exhibit P), why our SPACE facility is such an excellent demonstration model of a self-sustainable Community Arts Center and why it is important to approve this application. Members of our Puna Makai community, with very few exceptions, are eagerly signing petitions, writing letters, attending meetings and lobbying to support our application because they believe that in the current economic climate rural communities like ours cannot rely on the County or State to provide these basic facilities and services. We are asking for your approval to allow us to continue in the best way we can to promote self- sustainable community health and welfare at a community level using community resources. 3 B SUBJECT PROPERTY DESCRIPTION 3 B.1 Location Two of the subject parcels are owned by the Village Green Society Ltd. and are TMK 1- 2-9-034. (10.35 acres) and TMK 1-2-038-050 (6,000 sq ft). The third lot TMK 1-2-038- 049 (6,000 sq ft) is leased by the Village Green Society. The lots are located within the Kehena-Keauohana-Keokea Homesteads in the Puna District, Island of Hawaii. 3 B.2 Existing Uses and Structures The Performing Arts Educational Center (SPACE) comprises of a Pavilion, a Greenhouse and storage facilities providing multi purpose spaces with two offices, costume and prop storage, bathrooms, equipment storage and vehicle parking. A commercial kitchen, a shower facility and 12 student camping sites were approved by SP#1122 but have not been built yet. Uses of SPACE facilities include school classrooms, arts education and training, farmers markets, community events and meetings, family activities, public performances and emergency shelter facility. In addition to SPACE the Artistic Eco Village also comprises of two agricultural greenhouses, eight dwellings, three bunkhouses, a communal kitchen, a workshop, two solar sheds, a sauna, a bathhouse and a toilet block. Uses include accommodations for eight staff, four faculty and 8 student/interns, storage of farm vehicles, tools and equipment and sustainable living and farming facilities. Diverse tree and garden crops include: 125 coconuts, 8 breadfruit, 12 mangoes, 120 papayas 25 avocadoes, 80 bananas, 28 assorted citrus, 5 soursop, 1 jack fruit, 8 lychee, 4 macadamia nuts, 6 berries, 10 different species of lumber bamboo, 2 cashew, 3 mamay sapote, 9 jaboticaba, 2 plantain, 2 surinam cherry, 2 mountain apple, 3 starfruit, 1 acerola, 1 loquat, 1 cinnamon, 4 abyu, passionfruit, pumpkin, taro, cassava, sweet potato and conventional market vegetables. We are constantly working to improve our food production, food processing, and local food distribution through our weekly SPACE Farmers Market. We have developed a model for a fully self-sustainable chicken program with over 120 egg laying hens, excess roosters for meat and a sustainable source of nitrogen to feed our tree crops. Our two horses provide manure and have replaced mowers and weed-whackers through range management principles. We have had 16 honey producing bee hives for over 20 years. The remainder of the property consists of natural vegetation, landscaping, grazing pasture and medicinal herb gardens. 3 B.3 Topography The SPACE site is entirely on the 1955 flow. The vegetation on the 1955 flow is sparse, consisting of lichen covering most of the surface with dispersed young „Ohi‟a trees. The Land Study Bureau‟s Detailed Land Classification report designates the site poorly suited for intensive agricultural activities. The soils series is almost all bare „a„a lava with no soil material. It is well drained, with slopes generally about 20%. It is very poorly suited for machine till ability. Under the Agricultural Lands of Importance to the State of Hawaii (ALISH) classificatory system, the subject site is designated “Other Agricultural Land” or not classified. The remaining land inside the kipuka is approximately 8 acres and located on Puna Basalt „a„a, which is classified by the USGS as 750-1500 years old, with some lower portions, which are probably older. A four hundred year old flow is found at the western edge of the site, adjacent to the 1955 lava flow (USGS, 2007). These soils consist of a thin, decomposing organic layer of two to six inches over coarse, porous, well drained „a„a. The topography is varied, with most slopes under 5%, and a few slopes ranging from 10% to 30%. These soils are extremely rocky, and poorly suited for mechanical tilling. Under the Agricultural Lands of Importance to the State of Hawaii (ALISH) classification system, this site is designated “Other Agricultural Land”. (State Department of Agriculture, 1977) Portions of the land have been cleared for use as a sustainable homestead with diverse food crops, driveway and buildings. The site also has areas of the original degraded, lowland mesic forest, with patches of mature native trees including „ohi‟a (Metrosideros polymorpha), lama (Diospyros sandwicensis) and scattered hala (Pandanus tectorius). The original canopy is closed, and rises 12 to15 meters above a dense understory, which is dominated by strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) and scaly swordfern (Nephrolepis multiflora). On the eastern edge there is an older flow area with mango (Magnifera indica) while the neighboring lots are dominated by alien vegetation, including melochia (Melochia umbellata), and gunpowder tree, (Trema orientalis). References: Geologic Map of the State of Hawai‟i; Sherod, Stinton, Watkins and Burnt; USGS, 2007 Agricultural Lands of Importance to the State of Hawai‟i; State Department of Agriculture; 1977 Manual of the Flowering Plants of Hawai‟i; Wagner, Herbst and Sohmer; 1990 3 C. STATE AND COUNTY PLANS 3 C.1 Hawaii County General Plan The subject site is designated rural, zoned Ag-3 with some extensive agricultural and some important agricultural land on the County General Plan Land Use Pattern Allocation Guide (LUPAG) map. Section 25-52 of the Zoning Code provides that permits issued pursuant to Chapter 205, HRS – such as the Special Permit – are considered permitted use. Educational/recreational facilities are considered part of such uses. Accordingly, the requested use would not be inherently inconsistent with the General Plan. The subject area is not located within the County Special Management Area (SMA). Thus, a SMA Use Permit would not be required. 3 C.2 Puna Community Development Plan Our proposed activities are in accordance with the following intentions of the Puna Community Development Plan Ordinance #08 –116 passed in Sept. 2008: Section 1.2 - “Because subdivision lots were sold in their undeveloped state rather than with dwellings, development has occurred in a leap frog pattern which makes it even more difficult to develop infrastructure and provide services to the population. Residents must often make long trips to employment, schools, shopping and other destinations to meet daily needs… The combination of these challenges calls for bold planning initiatives to re-shape the pattern of future growth and development in a manner that is more in harmony with the natural setting and more supportive of a better, sustainable quality of life.” Section 3.1.2 - Includes the objective to “enhance the role of existing and new village centers by allowing expanded commercial uses, facilitating the development of farmers markets and community gathering places, opportunities for special needs housing and infrastructure to support more compact development form and multi-modal travel.” Section 3.2.2 g – “Form partnerships with local businesses and educational institutions to advance education and training in… the Green sector, to include agriculture, alternative energy, resource recycling and recovery, and other related areas.” Section 3.3.1 e. - Includes the goal “Public education is better integrated into Puna‟s communities.” Section 3.3.2 e. – “Increase the availability of accessible and affordable housing through… innovative housing tenure arrangements such as co-housing, limited equity cooperatives and community land trusts.” Section 3.3.3. c – “Build partnerships between the County and non-profit organizations to increase the range of social services and economic development opportunities.” Section 3.3.3. i – “Amend building codes to allow occupancy of residential dwellings before final inspection and to facilitate bringing non-conforming structures up to the code effective at the time of their initial construction.” Section 3.5 - “Puna will clearly need to expand its parks and recreational activities as the population grows.” Section 3.6.1 - “Promote the of solar technologies, such as solar water heaters and photovoltaic power systems.” Section 5.2.1 - “The formation of village centers is a keystone of the Puna Community Development Plan‟s growth management theme… the floating zone may also allow mixed use within a building and establish special place- appropriate development and design standards, including for public facilities.” Section 5.2.1 - “Existing buildings… in village centers may be repaired, replaced or expanded without the floating zone review procedure.” Based on County standards of five acres per thousand population, over 800 acres of recreational areas are needed within Puna subdivisions to meet the future needs of the currently permitted population. 3 D. SURROUNDING ZONING AND LAND USE The County and the State Land Use Commission zoning of the surrounding land is Agriculture, 3-acre (A-3a). To the north and west of these properties there are vacant lava fields. To the south and to the east are scattered dwellings and vacant lots. 3 E. FIRM DESIGNATION The Flood Insurance Rate Map (FIRM) designation is X. 3 F. ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES A “no effect” letter (Exhibit D) was received from the State DLNR Historic Preservation Division. 3 G. FLORAL AND FAUNAL RESOURCES Plants on the property: 10 different species of bamboo, mostly with edible shoots or can be used for lumber, 2 cashew, 3 mamay sapote, 9 jaboticaba, 2 plantain, 2 surinam cherry, 2 mountain apple, 3 starfruit, 1 acerola, 1 loquat, 1 cinnamon, 4 abyu, 125 coconuts, 8 breadfruit, 12 mangoes, 120 papayas 25 avocadoes, 80 bananas, 28 assorted citrus, 5 soursop, 1 jack fruit, 8 lychee, 4 macadamia nuts, 6 berries, 10 different species of lumber bamboo, 2 cashew, 3 mamay sapote, 9 jaboticaba, 2 plantain, 2 surinam cherry, 2 mountain apple, 3 starfruit, 1 acerola, 1 loquat, 1 cinnamon, 4 abyu, pumpkin, taro, cassava, sweet potato, 200-300 ti plants, a large 800 sq. ft.organic vegetable, herb and spice garden, , 2 cacao, 2 figs, many edible guavas, 1 soursop, lots of lilikoi and hundreds of landscaping plants, including croton, ti, gardenia, ginger, heliconia, water hyacinth, ferns, many flowering trees, several pua kini kini, palms, and lots of weeds. Animals: 120 Chickens, 2 horses, rats and mongoose. Birds: Mynah, Dove, Cardinal and Japanese white-eye. 3 H. VALUED CULTURAL RESOURCES There are no known traditional and customary native Hawaiian rights that are currently exercised in the area. We are not opposed to traditional and customary native Hawaiian rights being exercised on our land. 3 I. PUBLIC ACCESS There is no existing public access to and along the shoreline or to mountain areas. 3 J. DESCRIPTION OF ACCESS Access to the subject site is via State and County roads. Thus no road improvements would be required to service the requested use. The Pahoa-Kalapana State Highway (Highway 130), then the County roads to Kalapana Seaview Estate would serve as the principal access to the facility. The overall road condition comports to county standards is 24 feet wide with 10-foot setbacks. There are two ways to access these properties, both are paved to the lot. The first is via Kamoamoa Homestead Road in Kalapana Seaview Estate subdivision to the easement access to lot TMK 1-2-9-034. The second is via West Puhakupele Loop in Kalapana Seaview Estate subdivision to lot TMK 1-2-038-050. Both lots are owned by the Village Green Society Ltd. Throughout the property the access road is graveled, as is the parking lot. 3 K. TRAFFIC IMPACTS 3 K.1 Traffic Flow Estimates for our proposed activities are: School: 72 kids attend. Approximately half of the children arrive by School van. 16 children will reside in the immediate neighborhood and walk or ride bikes. 20 students will arrive by car, some carpool. Night Bazaar: We estimate about 100 cars once a week between the hours of 4pm and 9pm. Farmers Market: We estimate about 200 cars on Saturdays from 7am until 1pm. After School/Evening Classes: Attendance varies from 10-15 people per class. We estimate that classes and workshops bring approximately 20-25 cars per week to SPACE. Evening Events: Attendance varies from 20 people to a maximum of 300 people including staff and performers. Overall, we estimate with all our programs in operation we would have a maximum 300- 400 cars per week coming to SPACE, which averages between 40-60 cars per day. Seaview has 933 lots, with about 236 currently occupied by a house. If each house has an average of 2 vehicles, that means that there are currently 472 vehicles in Seaview, which could go up to 1,888 if all the lots become occupied. If each vehicle makes 1 trip in and out of Seaview each day, that means currently 472 resident vehicles are on the road per day compared to 40-60 cars coming to SPACE. This means that SPACE increases in the traffic from 8% to 12%, or about 1 in 10 cars on the road in Seaview are here for SPACE. With build out on Seaview lots the maximum rate of traffic from SPACE would increase traffic in the subdivision just over 3%. In order to prevent vehicles speeding in the subdivision, we continually remind SPACE patrons to drive slowly and safely. If there are specific complaints about specific drivers we have talked to those people directly. We painted our own sign that reads SCHOOL – GO SLOW and put it up along the street. We have “SLOW – CHILDREN AT PLAY” signs at the entrance to SPACE and throughout our land. We are willing to request the county install a speed bump, if that is what the community would like. 3 K.2 Parking/Security (see plan Exhibit M ) We have 4 areas where 116 cars can park off the street at SPACE. The SPACE lawn, the main parking lot in front of the pavilion and 2 lots near the street. If other undeveloped lots near SPACE would become available for our use, we would be willing to bulldoze and gravel them as we have done with the two we currently use. Other steps we have taken: We hire a parking/security person with volunteer assistants for the Farmers Market For all our large events produced by SPACE we hire security and parking people. We require that large groups who are renting SPACE to hold their own events provide parking and security staff. We will have a firm 9.30pm cutoff time for all activities and encourage everyone to leave the subdivision as soon as possible after the event finishes. We have a SPACE representative responsible for all evening events and one of this person's responsibilities is to be the “last one out”. Before we implemented this procedure, early in 2008, we had a problem where some people remained in the parking lot after an event making noise. When that was brought to our attention, we changed our procedures. 3 L. UTILITIES 3 L.1 Water System Potable water is provided by a catchment system and by trucked in County water. Onsite are catchment tanks with a total of 58,000 gallons. At SPACE two water tanks have been installed. A 9,000 gallon water tank containing catchment water provides water for toilets and showers. A separate 12,000 gallon water tank containing County water filled via a water truck provides water for cooking and drinking purposes. 3 L.2 Wastewater system A commercial septic tank system meeting Health department requirements has been installed at SPACE to service the facilities restrooms, kitchen and showers. We propose installing four or more composting toilets to serve the additional numbers of people utilizing our facility. On the remainder of the property individual wastewater cesspool systems meeting Health Department requirements presently service the staff, faculty and student/intern accommodations. 3 L.3 Drainage System The subject site is designated Zone X, areas of minimal flood and/or drainage hazards. The proposed parking area should increase the area of semi impervious surface, and the buildings roofs should also add to on site drainage. However, given the existing permeable condition of the land, on site drainage problems are not anticipated. 3 L.4 Solid Waste The proposed use should not generate a significant amount of waste. Nonetheless, whatever waste is generated will be disposed of in Hilo at the main dump and not at one of the county‟s solid waste transfer station sites in Puna. 3 L.5 Electrical/ Telephone Electrical services for activities on these properties have been provided totally by solar energy since 1987. At the SPACE facility the 5.6Kw system is grid tie connected which gives the public facility buildings a backup power source. There are two 2.4Kw solar systems and several other smaller solar installations serving the other buildings on the property. Five Telephone services and High Speed Internet DSL connections are installed on the site. 3 L.6 Other Public Facilities Additional public services should not be required for the proposed use. This area, being partially developed and with it‟s volcanic attraction, already generates fire and police protective services. This proposed use is not expected to significantly add to the demand for these services. The distance from this property to police, fire and school services is about 14 miles. 4. HOW THE REQUEST MEETS THE FOLLOWING CRITERIA 4 A. CHAPTER 205 HAWAII REVISED STATUTES The proposed use is consistent with the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Chapter 205-6, Special Permit, allows for persons to petition the Planning Commission for approval to use the land for other than agriculture or rural use. The proposed use does not interfere nor is it contrary to any specific land management specifications. The sustainable community arts center demonstration model will not affect the coastal zone or ecosystems. There are no public access routes or scenic resources located on the parcel. 4 B. EFFECTS ON SURROUNDING PROPERTIES The proposed use will not have any significant effects on surrounding properties. On site parking is available and activities will be contained within the property. We plan to use access from West Puhakupele Loop in Kalapana Seaview Estate subdivision via lot TMK 1-2-038-050. Adequate off street parking is provided on the 3 lots (see Exhibit M) Telephone and electrical services will not require any new poles. The effect on surrounding properties is expected to increase their value due to their proximity to our community arts center. 4 C. PUBLIC AGENCIES The Sustainable Community Arts Center Demonstration Model and associated activities will not unreasonably burden public agencies to provide roads and streets, sewer, water, drainage, schools, police and fire protection and any other infrastructure. 4 D. UNUSUAL CONDITIONS Unusual needs have arisen on the island of Hawaii in this time of increasing focus on Sustainability there is an ever-growing need for successful demonstration models. The proposed use would help to alleviate this problem. 4 E. THE LAND IS UNSUITED FOR THE PERMITTED USES Although the subject parcel is classified and zoned Agricultural, its soil characteristics are not inherently unique and suitable for intensive agricultural activities, its potential for intensive or less intensive agricultural uses is quite limited. 4 F. USE WILL NOT SUBSTANTIALLY CHANGE THE ESSENTIAL CHARACTER OF THE LAND The site contains an abundance of trees and is relatively large in relation to the facility structures. There is open space and buffer of trees between the facility and surrounding properties. Cultural, educational and recreational facilities are common in communities, and rural/agricultural areas are no exception. This facility will not be at all visually incongruous with the surrounding area. All activities will be within the property and away from the view of adjacent residences. 4 G. CONSISTENCY WITH THE GENERAL PLAN The proposed use will not be contrary to goals, policies and standards of the General Plan. Economic Goals 2.2A states “Provide residents with the opportunity to improve their quality of life through economic development that enhances the county‟s natural and social environment”, and 2.2B “economic development and improvements shall be in balance with the physical, social and cultural environments of the Island of Hawaii.” Section 25-52 of the Zoning Code provides that permits issued pursuant to Chapter 205, HRS – such as the Special Permit – are considered permitted use. Educational/recreational facilities are considered part of such uses. Accordingly, the requested use would not be inherently inconsistent with the General Plan. 4 H. CONSISTENCY WITH OBJECTIVES OF LAND USE LAW AND REGULATIONS The proposed use is an unusual and reasonable use of land, which would not be contrary to the objectives to be sought by the Land Use Law and Regulations, which for the Agricultural Districts, seeks to preserve or keep lands of high agricultural potential in agriculture use. As the buildings already exist on the parcel, no agricultural land will be usurped for construction and the present agricultural use will continue.