ALOHA!  I'm David W. Fukumoto, a resident of Kurtistown since 1973.  That year I formed Fuku-Bonsai as the first Hawaii State Certified Export Nursery.  I'm bullish on the Puna district and believe it can be the finest place in Hawaii to live.  But it has major problems and this portal directly addresses some of the problems.

               Puna is the fastest growing district in the state and between the 1990 and 2000 census population increased by over 50%! The cheapest land in Hawaii is attracting new residents. Hilo's current population is estimated at 45,000. Puna is already 37,000, growing much more rapidly, and will pass Hilo in just a few years. It can continue to grow and easily become several times the size of Hilo! The district of Puna is larger than the islands of Oahu, Maui, or Kauai and being relatively flat,  Puna can have a HUGE population. 

               It is the desire of Puna residents to preserve the rural character and primarily agricultural lifestyle.  But whether we like it or not, Puna is a rural sprawl of large parcels that already allow one (or more) structures!  Several huge substandard unimproved subdivisions were created in the 1950's and 1960's without paved roads, water, or infrastructure and are the cheapest land in Hawaii.  LET THE BUYERS BEWARE!  You get what you pay for and each subdivision community maintains their own private roads, lobbies to bring in water, and struggles to try to install infrastructure to allow neighborhood villages to purchase basic necessities in this auto-dependant situation.

                New substandard unimproved subdivisions are no longer allowed and there are a few subdivisions that include all infrastructure.  The major landowner W. H. Shipman Ltd. is known to be a community supporter and has announced a Keaau Master Plan that includes Keaau Village where it will be possible to have all amenities within walking or biking distance.  There will also be a Keaau Regional Center with shopping and services. 

               The mayor and county counsel has created a vehicle for citizen participation and the Puna Community Development Plan is an opportunity for our generation to shape the future for our district to prosper and become the finest place to live! I became interested in planning due to a number of morning meetings with then governor John Burns in the 1960's as he shared the concepts of planning the Queen Kaahumanu Highway that made possible the Kona-Kohala visitor destination area.  I participated in the State Transportation Plan and the Puna Regional Circulation Plan. 

                Fuku-Bonsai is off Olaa Road, a narrow one lane road with a 30' wide easement.  Somehow it is the primary access road to the top of Orchidland Estates and the bottom of Hawaiian Acres but was never improved in spite of being the primary access to Volcano Highway 11. It's like a time bomb as more and more people move into the subdivision. Our community does not want it to become a major arterial. I've made some friends in these subdivisions and we've been trying to develop a solution for many years.

                The Puna Community Development Plan focused efforts to enlarge our perspectives and I participated in the Growth Management - Land Use and New Alternate Corridors - Transportation working groups.  But neither of these groups were willing or able to address the larger issues and we decided to issue an independent report that was submitted by email on February 12, 2007.

                We need alternate roads instead of depending upon a single major road between Hilo and Keaau, between Keaau and Volcano, and between Keaau and Pahoa. A single obstruction can paralyze our district. With low family incomes we need larger scale business parks, light industry, and higher pay jobs within Puna. There is a strong need to design and build an efficient mass transit system.  Until and unless the jobs, services, and shopping are brought to where people live, we will continue to create increasingly larger traffic problems.  If properly located and built, roads will also create new economic opportunities!

                 Puna must step up, stop complaining, and assume a pro-active leadership role. We should dream good dreams and get down to work to make things happen!  

           ~~~David W. Fukumoto  (Kurtistown, Hawaii) 
                 Phone (808) 966-7668     david.f@fukubonsai.com


            THE GROWTH IN PUNA!  Hawaiian Paradise Park is symbolic of the rapid changes taking place. This substandard subdivision with private roadways is struggling to resolve the problems created in the 1960's and 1970's when "worthless lava land" was divided and sold for as little as $500 per 1-acre lot.  Each lot already allows one residence and there are over 50,000 of these lots in Puna! This essay begins to seek the basis for long-term win-win solutions.
            Where we've been  .  .  .  PUNA REGIONAL CIRCULATION PLAN (2003-2005)  It is popular for everyone to criticize the government for poor planning or claim that there's no long range planning. But that's not true. The Big Island has excellent planning. Our problem is partially due to meek government employees who are no match for the aggressive articulate anti-development forces that are collectively called NIMBY ("not-in-my-backyard").
          The three-page summary presents our priority Puna Land Use recommendation that an additional 2,500 acres be immediately identified and designated for urban expansion commercial-industrial zoning to serve as the basis for planned Puna growth. As Puna continues to grow, designate additional land to maintain Puna commercial-industrial zoning per capita with Hilo
            For a sustainable Puna economic future, large blocks of commercial-industrial zoned land are needed to create business and industrial parks to create higher-paying jobs and needed services and shopping.  This will be a major step towards resolving our traffic problems!
          There is currently only a single road from Hilo to Keaau, from Keaau to Pahoa, and from Keaau to Volcano.  Alternate roads are recommended that do not enter any of the private subdivisions.
           "Phase II" recommendations discuss various ways the the private subdivision roads can be connected to the public roads including a recommendation for a major new "Hawaiian Acres-Orchidland Parkway."
           This is a Puna Road Master Plan.
   PUBLIC NOTICE:  The information of this section of the Fuku-Bonsai website was posted to provide information to benefit the public discussion regarding the Puna Community Development Plan which has been completed. 

      I do not agree with the final report as it is essentially an anti-development / no development action that does not serve as a viable desirable master plan for Puna.

      But while my arguments were defeated, they are still a superior alternative to the plan that passed and the original postings will continue to be available as an alternative for future action if and when the problems continue to get worse and solutions are needed.

      However,  someone or some organization is using the feedback forms on this website to flood Fuku-Bonsai with spam.  I request that this stop.  I also request any information about the person or persons responsible for such spam.  Please contact me at (808) 966-7668.  Mahalo,

~~~David W. Fukumoto (david.f@fukubonsai.com)