Poamoho residents seeking city and state zoning variance
As Campbell Estate and the ILWU work toward a housing solution for residents at Kunia Camp, those at Poamoho Camp are still waiting for approval from the city on a zoning variance.
"We are working with the city Planning Department in terms of coming up with a process that would allow for the legalization of the camp houses and the eventual sale of them for individual tenants," said developer Peter Savio, of Hawaiian Island Homes Ltd.
Tracy Takano, international representative for the International Longshore & Warehouse Union, said approval from the city was necessary after Del Monte Fresh Produce ended its lease two years ago, ceasing employee housing on agricultural lands.
"We had to get approval for a variance from the city to continue the existing use of Poamoho Camp. That's still ongoing," he said.
Savio said he is attempting to get variance approval from the Department of Planning and Permitting for the homes as condominiums. That way, residents would get ownership faster and at the lowest possible price, he said. And they still need to go through a similar zoning variance process with the state.
"We still have a long ways to go," he said.
In 2004, Savio purchased the Poamoho Camp homes for $10 and the adjacent agricultural lands for $2.6 million. He plans to sell the homes for $30,000 to $50,000 each if additional agricultural lands are sold and upgrading is kept to a minimum.
Groups lobby to stay at Kunia camp
Residents, workers and retirees from Kunia and Poamoho camps attended a hearing at the state Capitol yesterday to support a resolution aimed at helping residents remain at Kunia.
The House resolution asks Del Monte Fresh Produce and Campbell Estate to allow residents to remain at the plantation village at least until 2008. That way, more than 500 residents now living at Kunia would have time to find affordable housing if they are forced to leave.
In February, Del Monte announced it would be shutting down operations by 2008.
Campbell Estate spokesman David Rae told House members that Del Monte agreed not to take any "precipitate action."
"To date, we have had several productive discussions with the ILWU, Del Monte and camp residents," Rae said.
It is important to preserve Kunia Camp because the residents are accustomed to the simple plantation lifestyle, said Brandon Bajo-Daniel, president of the Kunia Camp Association. Bajo-Daniel has lived at Kunia for more than 20 years.
It is a vibrant community where people know each other, raise each other's children and doors are left unlocked, said state Rep. Marcus Oshiro (D, Wahiawa-Poamoho), who supports the resolution.
The House Finance Committee is expected to hear two more bills dealing with Kunia tomorrow at 7:15 p.m.