CZO Update (Phase II Description)

Phase II of the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) Update builds upon the approval of CZO Update Phase I which involved the codification and reordering of the zoning code. Phase II focuses on recommended policy changes from internal staff and our consultants from the firm of Helber Hastert and Fee, Inc. For discussion purposes Phase II has been divided thematically to aid discussion with the what could otherwise be characterized as a complex code. 

The Department is seeking public comment on these different "bundles" of changes. The public comment period will be open until Friday, June 28, 2013.  Please submit comments in writing:

  • At the Planning Department front counter
  • United States Postal Service at 4444 Rice Street Suite A473 Lihue, Hawaii 96766; or
  • Via e-mail at

Comments should clearly state the bundle number (i.e. Update Phase II-D) and the code section number. Comments submitted with "Ramseyer" text are helpful for Departmental receipt and processing, and should include an explanation for the modification from the proposal. 

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Deputy Director Dee Crowell at 808-241-4050.

CZO Update (Phase I)


The County of Kauaʻi adopted the first General Plan in 1971 (updated in 1984 and 2000). Subsequently, the County of Kaua‘i adopted the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance (CZO) in 1972. Since its adoption, the County of Kaua‘i has approved several amendments to specific provisions of the CZO. However, the entire document has not been updated in a comprehensive manner. A project to update the CZO was initially started in 1996. Shortly thereafter, the County began the process for the third update the Kaua‘i General Plan in 1998. The decision was made that the General Plan Update process should be completed first and then followed by the completion of CZO update. In this manner the findings and recommendations of the General Plan could be utilized to supplement the amendments proposed under the CZO update. This course of action would also provide a formal guide to ensure that the changes being recommended in the CZO update are consistent with the updated General Plan. As a result, finalizing the CZO update was deferred until the General Plan was adopted November 2000.


Under Section 9.3 (b) of the 2000 Kauaʻi General Plan, entitled "Preparation of amendments to the CZO to conform to General Plan policy", listed in general order of priority are amendments to be prepared which include but are not limited to the following:

  1. Regulation for alternative visitor activities and accommodations, including B&B vacation rental units.

  2. Transfer of zoning regulations from Chapter 10 into Chapter 8, R.C.O.

  3. Review and revision of the Open zoning district and the Constraint Districts.

  4. Review and revision of zoning requirements for residential use in Agriculture zoning districts.

  5. Development of Scenic Roadway Corridor regulations, based on preparation of a study assessing scenic qualities of Kauai’s major roadway corridors.

  6. General review and revision of zoning regulations for Resort, Industrial and Commercial districts. Regulations should incorporate revised standards that reflect ongoing practice, with reference to the typical conditions placed by the Planning Department on zoning and use permits. Wherever possible, discretionary zoning permits should be eliminated or reduced in favor of clear standards that are included in the CZO. This is intended to reduce uncertainty for landowners and developers, and to eliminate unnecessary permit actions to save time for applicants and County staff.


After consideration of a comprehensive update of the CZO, it became apparent that the extent of the proposed changes may become too complex and cumbersome to incorporate into one update document. Certain amendments to the code may also have generated substantial discussion and could have delayed the entire CZO update process.

In February 2007, the Planning Department resumed the CZO update project and hired the consulting firm of Helber Hastert and Fee (Consultant) to assist with the Update of the CZO and over the course of the past two to three years, the Planning Department and the Consultant has worked on updating the CZO. The draft CZO document is a result of the following task:

  1. Review recommendations from the 1996-1998 update of the CZO.

  2. Series of meetings and in house review of the CZO by the current Consultant and Planning Department beginning in 2007. The Consultant has incorporated these changes and revised the overall look and function of the document to make the zoning code a more user friendly document. This has been accomplished by reorganizing the document, using charts and figures to provide better visual aids in understanding the document, and providing suggested language changes based on their review of other codes and laws.

  3. Review of the 2000 Kauaʻi General Plan recommendations for amendments to the CZO.

  4. Codification of amendments made to the CZO some of which were based on certain recommendations of the 2000 Kauaʻi General Plan. This includes individual amendments to the CZO such as, the Transient Vacation Rental Ordinances (Ord. Nos. 864, 876, and 904) which originated from a 2006 Single Family Transient Vacation Rental study conducted by a consultant hired by the Planning Department, the Open District Ordinance No. 896, and the Additional Dwelling Unit Ordinances Nos. 843 and 886.

    The document also includes other adopted amendments to the CZO including the recently adopted Shoreline Setback Ordinances Nos. 863 and 887, the Enforcement Ordinance No. 883, the Farm Worker Housing Ordinance No.903, and the Transient Accommodation Unit Certificate Allocation Program Ordinance No. 912.

  5. Modification of the overall look and format of the zoning code to provide a more user friendly document. To accomplish this end, changes to the organization and format of the document were made. In addition to organizational changes, new sections were created to accommodate user friendly aids, such as the "use table".

In presenting CZO Update to the public and the decision makers, the CZO Update document has been divided into two phases, with the first phase focusing on organizational and format changes. This involves mainly moving or relocating existing provisions to more appropriate locations in the code. The first phase also includes the re-codification of ordinance amendments made to the CZO to date. The second phase will show the newly reformatted document with recommended substantive changes to the code in a Ramseyered format which will be forthcoming after the first phase has been completed.

This first phase provides the public and the decision makers (Planning Commission and County Council) with a document consisting of all existing provisions and new codified language in the new format. No substantive changes have been made. New material generally consisting of language from adopted Ordinances which have amended the CZO is underscored. Material to be deleted is bracketed and strikethrough.

PDF icon Click here to view the CZO Update Phase I draft document

Comments to the Phase I draft document are welcome. Please submit your comments by January 20, 2012 by sending email to