— ADVERTISEMENT —
Sunday, August 14, 2005
The Nuuanu-Punchbowl Neighborhood Board will discuss the proposed housing development at its meeting this week.
Time: 7 p.m.
The bridge at Kimo Drive, a major access point, is falling apart. The roadbed has needed work for years. Structural concrete is spalling to reveal rusted rebar, giving rise to concerns that it may fail under the weight of the traffic. The access bridge at Pelekane is no better. The sewage system has not been upgraded in years and is seriously inadequate. Even the street signs are deteriorating.
Enter the developers. A 45-acre subdivision application has been filed by landowner Laumaka, LLC, a Hawaii limited liability company controlled by Patrick Shin of Honolulu. If granted, the application would permit the development of what could be an enormous number of homes on the steep mountainside above the neighborhood, destabilizing the soil, threatening even greater floods and rockslides and introducing legions of new residents and traffic on the same failing roadways and bridges and burdening the same inadequate drainage, sewage and water systems.
Why would the city, having ignoring our complaints, entertain this subdivision application without first bringing the existing substandard infrastructure up to par? Why would the city consider accommodating the developer-builder involved, when it has done nothing to accommodate the residents affected? That is putting the cart before the horse. The city should not permit such development without meeting its primary obligations to maintain the infrastructure.
Everyone knows how far behind the city has been in maintaining infrastructure. The potholes are only the tip of the iceberg. And everyone knows how development is climbing up, and using up, the hillsides and mountainsides all over Oahu. It is not only Nuuanu Valley that should be concerned. Oahu is really at a turning point at which the city must re-evaluate its priorities for maintenance of community infrastructure against dangerous but profitable hillside development.
If there is property damage or injury or worse as a result of the city's failure to maintain the infrastructure in the neighborhood, or of allowing a subdivision to further burden this failing infrastructure before that work is done, the city is likely to be held responsible for the losses involved. That will cost the city and all taxpayers much more than the cost of fixing things in the first place. A step in time may well save nine.
The neighborhood is not so much proud these days as it is concerned and angry. Some 300 protest signs have sprung up on front lawns throughout the neighborhood. Protest petitions signed by more than 1,000 people have been submitted to Eng. Dozens and dozens of letters of concern have been sent to his office. But none of this has yielded any meaningful response or action. Is anyone listening?
These and related issues will be discussed at a meeting of the Nuuanu-Punchbowl Neighborhood Board at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Nuuanu Elementary School. Many people from Nuuanu Valley plan to attend and voice their concerns. If you are from the neighborhood or otherwise concerned about haphazard development on the mountainsides above our communities, please plan to attend.