North Shore campBy Gordon Y.K. Pang
project in danger
The fate of the Pua'ena Point Camp project in Haleiwa is in jeopardy after slipping out of the City Council's Zoning Committee with a 3-2 vote yesterday.
Developer Campers Village LLC now faces the challenge of mustering five votes to win a special management area use permit at a final vote of the Council on Aug. 9.
Two of nine Council members -- Donna Mercado Kim and Mufi Hannemann -- resigned from their seats yesterday to run for other office. And Council members John Henry Felix and Andy Mirikitani voted against the project yesterday, while Councilman Steve Holmes has stated his opposition.
Voting for the project in committee yesterday were Zoning Chairman John DeSoto, Haleiwa area Councilwoman Rene Mansho and Duke Bainum.
Project proponents are far from giving up, however. Following yesterday's vote, project attorney Douglas Ing got assurances from Felix that the two would meet before the August vote.
At issue are 72 "tentlike" structures planned for 145 acres sandwiched between Haleiwa Beach Park and Papailoa Street.
Lewis Geyser told committee members that the structures, on raised, permanent platforms, would be similar to those found at Molokai Ranch.
"This is not a resort," Geyser said. "If I advertised this as a resort, I would get sued."
But Renee Webb, chairwoman of the Friends to Preserve Pua'ena Point, told Council members they should not be misled.
"This is not a campground; it is an overnight accommodation development," Webb said.
Webb questioned whether the project would be subject to the state's 7 percent transient accommodations tax because of its tent description.
But Marie Okamura, deputy director for the state Taxation Department, told the Star-Bulletin later that a project with Pua'ena's description would be subject to the tax because of the transient nature of the accommodations to be offered.
Opponents to the project say it would set a precedent for other camp-themed projects to sprout in rural regions of Oahu.
Proponents say the project is a good compromise that would not adversely affect the environment and is badly needed to energize businesses in Haleiwa.
City & County of Honolulu