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Hawaiian youth center in Keaau gets approval

Hawaiian youth center in Keaau gets approval

By Tribune-Herald staff 

The Windward Planning Commission approved an application by the Lili‘uokalani Trust for a special use permit to establish a youth center for Hawaiian keiki in Keaau.

At a Thursday meeting of the Windward Planning Commission, representatives of the Lili‘uokalani Trust testified regarding a proposed community center to be built on a 7-acre parcel of land immediately south of Keaau Elementary School.

The project would allow Hawaiian children, particularly from low-income families, to participate in cultural events and other after-school activities.

Michael Shibata, real estate director for the Lili‘uokalani Trust, said the project requires a special use permit as opposed to a land rezoning permit because the center would also use part of the land — currently zoned as agricultural — for educational farming programs.The permit was approved with little discussion, although commission chair Joseph Clarkson expressed concern about the safety of a proposed crosswalk across Keaau-Pahoa Road connecting the youth center with Keaau High School.

Shibata said the trust will ensure the crosswalk will be as safe as possible.