HERE ON THE BIG ISLAND
By Kelly Moran
“They don’t get much bigger than this, so close to town!” said the friend I was showing around the property, “or have so many different things to like.” It’s true: on these 321 acres are fruit orchards, pastures, woodlands, a house with a bird’s-eye view over Hilo Bay, and two year-round streams. And there are practically no limits to what you could do with the land, if you wanted to buy it.
In fact, you’re too late: it’s already in escrow. But I just have to say that this is one of the most appealing properties I have ever represented, in large part because downtown Hilo is only about five minutes’ drive from just about anywhere on the land. Nearly every other parcel of 100, 200, 300 acres or more that you might find on the Big Island will be pretty far out in the country, whereas this place is just north of Hilo, on the Hamakua side of the Wailuku River.
For much of the 20th century, the land was planted in sugar cane, but when the plantation closed in the ‘90s, it was sold to a local family. It could have been turned into house-lots; so it was rezoned from “Agriculture” to “RS 7.5” – meaning that residential lots there could be as small as 7,500 square feet. If such a development had happened, it would have become the largest single suburb of Hilo. But amazingly, that didn’t happen. The new owners had it down-zoned back to Agriculture, which limits any subdivision of the land to lots of at least five acres each.
The land is crisscrossed with well-maintained dirt roads, giving easy access to all of its uses. Some of the orchards (in rambutan, lychee, mangosteen, longon, and coffee) are leased to a local farming concern; and some pastures are leased to cattle ranchers.
There are some small agricultural research facilities as well, and of course, there’s that three-bedroom, two-bath house with the amazing view from its grand lanai! More homes could easily be built, either on high knolls with views, or along the streams, with their waterfalls and swimming-holes.
Here’s an aerial video of the property: [https://www.dropbox.com/l/QpnDFws3KdUSdsCmGs6wCr ]
But there’s one more thing about the place that speaks to what makes the Big Island and its people so special. At the makai end (its farthest downhill point), there is an acre that fronts on Wainaku St., the arterial of the Pu’ueo neighborhood, adjacent to Clem Akina Park. Although it could easily be developed for apartments, the sellers hope that the new owners will do as they’ve done all along. They lease the lot to the County for a dollar a year, which doubles the size of Pu’ueo’s only public park and playground.