Monday, September 19, 2005

Developer gains negotiation
rights for Kamilonui farmlots

Kamehameha Schools officials are
expected at a meeting tomorrow

Developer Stanford Carr has gotten one step closer to moving into Kamilonui Valley -- home to 13 farming plots since the late 1960s.

According to a company letter distributed to the valley's farmers, Carr has reached an agreement with landowner Kamehameha Schools to negotiate the purchase of lots. The news has prompted Hawaii Kai residents opposed to the valley's development to call a meeting tomorrow, in hopes of coming up with a new strategy for fighting off Carr.

"There's a ways and means for this development to happen and that's what's frightening," said Elizabeth Reilly, president of Livable Hawaii Kai Hui, a group aimed at stemming development and congestion in east Honolulu.

The meeting is set for 6:30 p.m. in the Mariner's Bay Club, which is at the intersection of Hawaii Kai Drive and Lunalilo Home Road.

Carr did not return a call for comment, but said in an Aug. 31 letter to Kamilonui farmers that the agreement with Kamehameha "was the result of three years of negotiations and it gives SCD (Stanford Carr Development) the exclusive rights to work on your behalf to apply for entitlements and to negotiate the fee simple purchase of the lots from Kamehameha Schools."

A spokesman for Kamehameha Schools confirmed that the agreement had been made.

"We will sell to him ... if he can gain the approval of all the farmers in the valley to turn their lease interests over to him," said spokesman Kekoa Paulsen yesterday, adding that the proposal was brought to Kamehameha by the Kamilonui farmers' cooperative.

"We'll have an agreement if we get all the farmers to agree," Paulsen added. "If the farmers wish to continue to farming, then we have a lease with them and we'll continue to honor that lease."

Carr, who announced plans last year to build 200 homes in the valley's 83 acres, still faces several hurdles to developing in the valley.

First, he must obtain the leases for the farming lots, and Reilly said at least three farmers are adamant about staying. Also, the City Council would have to re-zone the valley residential, from agricultural, and ask for public comment.

Last year, the council unanimously passed a resolution that supports keeping development out of the valley -- at least in the short-term.

Reilly said her greatest fear is that all of the farmers will eventually sell. Right now, she said, "they're all divided and conquered."

But Lillie Wong, president of the valley's farming cooperative, contends they're just old and tired and ready to retire. "My farmers are dying faster than you can think," she said. "They can't even die and age in dignity."

Reilly said her organization is looking into the possibility of purchasing the property rights of the lots and keeping the valley in farming.

But, she said, that would take a lot of money and planning.

Stanford Carr
Kamehameha Schools

E-mail to City Desk


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