Discovery Harbour Subdivision, Kau, Big Island - what you should know before moving there (Hilo: sale, rental)
Big IslandThe Island of Hawaii
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I have been thinking of buying vacant land in DH & am trying to find out whether they have an HOA with HOA dues, and if so, what they are. I am also concerned about HOA building restrictions & restrictions on renting & business use. Can someone who lives there comment on the HOA?
Yes, they do have an HOA who is very active. The HOA dues are about $85 a year -- no big thing. They do have building restrictions and regulations. I suggest you go to the website for Discovery Harbour, which is Discovery Harbour Home Page and you should be able to get the information that you need or find out who to contact there.
I don't think that there are any restrictions on rentals. We have both full-time and vacation rentals in the subdivision. Business use would depend on what you were planning. It is zoned residential and I know lots of people who have small home businesses, but there are regulations on home occupations that are pretty common everywhere.
Feel free to contact me privately if you would like to discuss further. We built our house there in 2005 and plan to move permanently next year.
p.s., if you are planning to build, we have a great contractor to recommend.
Actually Babette, isn't DH (at least my lot is!) zoned agricultural? My understanding is you just have to plant a few fruit trees and one is in "compliance" (not that I think it's a real issue there).
In addition to the lots listed on MLS, I saw quite a few FSBO signs when I was last there.
yeah, Lok, you're right. The whole subdivision is zoned agricultural, although how they got a residential subdivision with 1/3 acre lots on there is a mystery to me. I've never hear about a rule to plant a few fruit trees, but maybe that was part of the agreement with the original subdivision approval.
Babette, well here's the story I heard, the real estate experts or locals could get us the facts:
officially each lot is agricultural which means one is supposed to "cultivate" something and sell it. One house is allowed as "farm house" - where the farmer can take residence to take care of their land. This is actually the case in many/all farms on the mainland so I didn't take it as a joke when it was explained to me.
So I guess you would be considered a farmer by the county when you move there. Just put up a fruit stand in your driveway
At this point in Hawaii County, for most property owners, the distinction only becomes important when you want to build a second dwelling on the property. In Residential areas, you can get a legal Ohana permit if the property meets certain requirements. On Ag land, it is more of a grey area, and the county can require that you show "evidence of agricultural activity or farming operation."
For those who have already purchased, take a look at your Purchase Contract (DROA). You probably signed an Agricultural Disclosure form that your agent included with the contract. We have to cover that base--making sure that anyone who buys an Ag property understands that they may not be able to build a second dwelling unless they are actually "farming."
That said, there are some interesting stories floating around about what "farming" actually means. I'm not going there! Just be aware that every once in while there are headlines in the paper when someone decides that this issue should be re-visited. If you are considering a purchase, discuss the matter with the Planning Department and be sure that you are clear on what you can and cannot do with the property!
There were some discussions about requiring folks who want to build on ag land to prove they have been farming and show income from farming. It was in the legislature on Oahu, I think, and they had an entirely unworkable theory going that each farm should make $10K profit a year minimum or some such. Which would work perhaps for the larger farms, but many of these "ag" lots are small - less than an acre residential lots and nobody could farm 10K a year from them. It was just talk and I think they finally shelved the idea, but that they had it in the first place seems a bit ominous if one wanted to buy vacant land and hold it for a long time before building.
....."Please consider all this before you buy.
All the best and good luck! Aloha!"
Discovery Harbour is going through a transition. The golf course has a new owner. The clubhouse and front nine of the course are being rehabilitated.
South Point is not for everyone, but it has many pluses for those who believe in buying at the bottom of the market. There are windier communities on the Big Isle. Still the abundant sun and wind provide an opportunity to build homes with green, renewable energy while still being hooked to the grid and having county water. Kit homes are availabe for less than 60K for those who want to do it themselves (check with local lumber yards). Hawaii's plan to build electric and plug-in hybrid vehicle charging stations around its islands and its goal of being energy independent make Discovery Harbour a good location for going "green".
Hiking and biking opportunities are plenitiful, with trails running along the coast and up to the summit of Mauna Loa. Volcanoes National Park is forty miles away. The coast is rough but does have isolated beaches. Sea kayaking might be the best way to enjoy it.
Home prices were higher two years ago. Many selling in the 300K plus range. They have moved down with the national market. One should expect them to rebound especially if the course is brought back up to standards.
The Discovery Harbour homeowners association maintains a website complete with minutes. The following is an excerpt from its August 2009 meeting:
..."Gary stated that 7 people have pooled their money to buy the golf course. He went on to report that he still
owns 527 acres below Discovery Harbour and referred to this as phase 2. Larry indicated that this
investment group is in the process of creating an LLC in order to move forward.
Larry stated that SPIG would accept additional investors at 100 thousand dollars per share for those
interested in joining their group.
Gary reported that a miscommunication has developed in that SPIG doesn’t have the 7 million dollars to
renovate the golf course. Efforts are underway to rezone the commercial property acquired in the
purchase. The plan is to sell this property in order to raise the money to rebuild the golf course. Gary went
on to state that SPIG still intends to fix the pool and tennis courts. He stated that 665 thousand dollars
would be needed to provide all the amenities. The goal is to get the golf course playable with new greens,
sand traps, and the clubhouse re-modeled. Bernie stood and stated that he feels the county would not
approve the current wastewater system in the clubhouse.
At that point Gary and Larry started taking questions from the group. There was discussion regarding the
commercial property and its location relative to what they intend to sell. There were suggestions from the
group that SPIG should sent letters or e-mails to all property owners to establish contact and provide
Gary was asked a direct question “can you go through with the project without a subsidy”? And he stated
“No”. Then the question was asked “will you address costs and time line of work to be done and present to
us a written proposal in the future?” and he stated “Yes.” “Who will be the contact persons?” and Gary
stated “Larry or I at firstname.lastname@example.org.”
Gary reported that they have no liability insurance at this time but Mercury Insurance will start coverage
with a signature from one of the owners. He went on to indicate that once due diligence is done and
insurance is in place the clean-up effort will get underway. He stated that the golf course should open
within 5 to 6 months from the start of the clean up. There was more general discussion regarding the
rezoning of the commercial property and the meeting was adjourned to take a break...."
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