Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Plans for the Ka Iwi State Park were to include
two new parking lots near the Makapuu Lookout,
the area shown here.

Some feel state
parks turning
a deaf ear

Waimanalo board members
voted against a Ka Iwi plan,
but they feel ignored

By Rosemarie Bernardo

Some Waimanalo Neighborhood Board members are criticizing the state for overlooking community opposition to a Ka Iwi State Park project.

Board member Mabel Spencer said: "The state should re-examine their priorities. They continually ignore us."

Wilson Kekoa Ho, chairman of the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board, questioned the state's decision to proceed with the plan. "It's very disappointing," Ho said. "It's heartbreaking to know that we're ready to give solid input and it doesn't mean anything."

Daniel Quinn, assistant administrator of the state Parks Division, said the project will proceed despite the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board voting Monday against that first phase of the shoreline park and the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board a month ago saying the design was premature.

Federal funds of $4.9 million have been appropriated for the project. Part of the plan includes a 40-car parking lot with space to fit five buses near the Makapuu Lookout and another 40-car lot near the Makapuu Lighthouse.

Other improvements include underground utility lights, off-road vehicle barriers along the makai side of Kalanianaole Highway and a partial restoration of "King Highway," a roadway built by native Hawaiians before the Europeans arrived.

Spencer said, "Building a parking lot is an inappropriate expenditure.

"I felt the money could have been used more wisely," she said, adding the funds need to be used for practical issues, such as improving the sewage system in Waimanalo.

Officials of the city Department of Planning and Permitting will determine whether to issue the state Department of Land and Natural Resources a special management area use permit to develop the first phase. A public hearing on the permit application will be held at 7 p.m. July 18 at Koko Head Elementary School.

"We don't think the parking lot is necessary," said Ho. "They're creating monstrous visitor-type locations in our area.

"You're talking about 500 (visitors) a day at least," he added. "We just feel like victims of bureaucracy."

The neighborhood board was created to be the voice of the community, he said. When the state ignores the board's vote, it makes it an exercise in futility, Ho said.

Anticipating an increased number of tourists to frequent the sites, Ho said, "How many local people will get to share the same thing?"

Quinn said, "Most people at the lookout as it is are visitors."

"Accommodating additional vehicles will not prevent locals to stop and enjoy the same view," he added. "They're the same accommodations for locals as well as tourists."

During the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board meeting two months ago, Chairman Charlie Rodgers believed there was a need for a parking lot but decided it was premature to support the plan. Members of the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board rejected the plan.

Discouraged by the feedback, Quinn said, "Hopefully, we can continue to work through the process and come up with a plan that's acceptable."

Ho and other board members plan to attend the public hearing to reinforce their opposition to the plan.

Ho believes the two sites should remain untouched. "It has a lot of character the way it is," he said.

"Somebody in the community is trying to say something, and nobody's listening," he said.

E-mail to City Desk

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