A Bit of History & the Facts
Princeville at Hanalei Community Association (PHCA) was established almost 50 years ago. From its inception through the next 20 years or so, much (though not all) of the land you see on the Princeville map below was declared to be subject to the PHCA Protective Covenants. As a result, buyers of vacant land, homes or condos automatically become PHCA members.
The hotel (currently under renovation and to be reopened with the 1 Hotel Hanalei Bay brand) is a member of PHCA. The Makai Golf Course (18 holes) and the Woods Golf Course (9 holes) were never declared to be subject to the PHCA Covenants and so are not members. Starwood Capital Group (SCG) is the owner of the hotel, the Makai Golf Course, and the Woods Golf Course.
Combined, the Makai and Woods comprise about 290 acres of open space in the middle of our Princeville community. As you can see on the map, this is a substantial amount of “greenbelt” land in our community.
The Makai and Woods (all 27 holes) are subject to a “Dedication,” which limits the use of the land to “golf course and ancillary recreational uses.” This Dedication expires February 28, 2026. Kaua’i County’s Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) applies to the golf courses, and upon expiration of the Dedication, both golf courses — as permitted by their “Open” zoning designation — can be developed for single-family residences. According to the CZO (and after the Dedication expires), no public hearing is required for the owner to use the golf course lands for residential development. Preventing the owner from exercising this property right in 2026 would require litigation. Legal cost could be six figures, length unknown, and it is the PHCA Board’s belief the probability of a favorable outcome is fair to poor.
At its November 25, 2020 meeting, the Kaua’i County Council discussed and deferred indefinitely a proposed Ordinance drafted in 2002 by then-Council Chairman Ronald Kouchi. Called Bill 2044, it sought to impose a building restriction on certain open spaces in Princeville. The Bill has sat dormant with no action for 18 years. Proponents of Bill 2044 would like the current county council to approve it or a more modern version of it, and a couple of council members have indicated they will introduce a replacement bill. Landowners are expected to argue that Bill 2044 is an unconstitutional “taking” of private property without compensation if development restrictions are placed on their Open-zoned lands without their consent. PHCA anticipates Bill 2044 (or its newer version) will follow a different track and timeline than the “glamping use permit” about to be submitted by SCG and described below. For County Council documents on Bill 2044, click here.
Glamping in Princeville & 2026
As the owner of the golf courses, SCG has the power and authority to sell, encumber, or develop the golf courses subject to CZO parameters. SCG and its partner, East West Partners, are planning to build a glamorous luxury camping site (“glamping”) with 50 campsites on about 25 acres of what is currently the Woods holes #1 – #3. Project renderings are unavailable at this time and will be forwarded to the community should they become available. As time is of the essence, this newsletter is being distributed without the renderings.
With the Dedication still valid, the glamping project requires a “use permit” from the Kaua’i Planning Commission. The public may participate in the permitting process and may support or oppose any application. SCG has indicated that it will submit the glamping project permit application to the Planning Commission within the next few weeks, so we need to act quickly. PHCA’s participation in the glamping use permit process could influence the outcome for SCG, and SCG has sought PHCA’s support for the glamping project to increase the probability of use permit approval. To date, PHCA has taken no position on the glamping project.
There are two principal matters for consideration:
1) The glamping project and PHCA’s position;
2) The possibility that SCG may develop the golf course lands for residential use beginning in 2026.
Through its partner, East West Partners, SCG has stated that if PHCA will support its use permit application for the glamping project, SCG will:
* Preserve the Makai Golf Course (18 holes) as open space with zero residential development.
* Maintain status quo on the Woods Golf Course holes #4 – #9 until 2026.
* Enhance fitness, restaurant and recreational offerings at the Makai Clubhouse.
The PHCA Board acknowledges this is a profound and weighty issue. Although the Makai and Woods golf courses are not subject to PHCA, how the Board addresses the glamping project and SCG options to build residences on the golf courses (starting in 2026) will affect our entire community and directly impact many homeowners. The Board fully understands the enormity of that responsibility.
The Board has conducted extensive research on these matters and obtained legal opinions on what type of development is allowed on the golf course parcels, land use laws, and zoning regulations. With a priority to achieve the best outcome for the entire membership and avoid costly and lengthy litigation, the PHCA Board has begun negotiations with East West Partners. To be clear, the negotiations have begun but the Board has not made a final decision on its position regarding the glamping project.
A look at the numbers:
Appx. 290 acres of golf course greenbelt in our community (Makai and Woods).
2,968 = Total number of single-family homes and condo units in PHCA.
285 homes / condo units that border the Makai Golf Course (18 holes).
122 border the Woods Golf Course (9 holes).
50 border the Woods holes # 1-3 and therefore are directly impacted by the glamping project.
2,561 do not border any golf course.