Future of Puna circus in limbo


By TOM CALLIS

Tribune-Herald staff writer

The future of Hawaii’s Volcano Circus remains to be determined six months after the Windward Planning Commission last tabled the matter of revoking a permit for its location in Kalapana Seaview Estates.

The county Planning Department initiated revocation proceedings in April 2012 after HVC was cited for hosting activities that exceeded a special use permit authorizing a performing arts educational center on the 2.5 acre site.

In response, the organization filed an application for an amended permit that would allow for the expanded use of the property while agreeing to trim back its operations. Those had grown to include the Seaview Performing Arts Center for Education, the Bellyacres “eco village,” a farmers market, and a satellite program for the Hawaii Academy of Arts and Science Public Charter School.

The Planning Commission in December tabled the revocation proceedings, allowing planning staff and HVC time to come to agreement on the proposed amendments.

Darren Arai, county planning program manager, said the initial application was incomplete, and the Planning Department is waiting on additional information from HVC. A traffic impact analysis is being reviewed by the Public Works Department, he said.

Ted Hong, HVC’s attorney, said his client had held a community meeting on the proposal last month and is working to address some of the requests from the county.

“We’re kind of in limbo,” he said. “We’re moving to address the concerns of the community.”

Once the application is complete, it will be about another three months before a hearing is held before the Planning Commission, Arai said.

That will allow time for agency review and possibly community meetings, he said.

In the meantime, the farmers market has been allowed to continue. One performance by charter school students per month have also been allowed.

Parking and noise issues had been raised by Seaview residents.

David Snover, vice president of the Kalapana Seaview Estates Community Association, said he is hopeful those can be addressed.

But, he said, some residents remain concerned that the proposed amendments would allow for too many events.

“There is talk about whether or not to actually file a contested case against it,” Snover said.

The amended filing would allow for 12 public performances and 12 evening fundraiser performances a year, a certified kitchen, and authorization to hold community meetings and family events.

Noise levels would be capped at 65 decibels at the property line.

The total land area would also be expanded to 3.377 acres.

The student population would be increased from 40 to 75, Arai said.

There are 148 lots within 500 feet of the site, with about 30 that are occupied, Snover said.

HVC did not immediately return a request for comment.

Email Tom Callis at tcallis@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

 

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