Mayor joins in Kahuku planning
Campbell Estate seeks to sell 2,000 acres that includes affordable housing
Mayor Mufi Hannemann says he hopes he can come up with a way to keep 70 Kahuku families in their affordable homes while not disrupting Campbell Estate's plans to sell its lands.
"I have roots in many parts of the North Shore, so I knew anxiety was building and so I wanted to go calm their fears and let them know I want to bring about a good solution," the mayor said yesterday.
Last week, the mayor met privately with a small gathering of Kahuku leaders and asked them for a couple of weeks to come up with a game plan.
The Estate of James Campbell is looking to sell 2,000 acres in Kahuku that include the land beneath those homes in an area called Kahuku Village V.
"Any good compromise in life, that's what it is: people giving, people taking and not wanting the whole guava tree, the whole mango tree -- maybe taking a part of it," the mayor said.
Residents fear they would lose the homes with a new buyer.
And there is also fear that the nine-hole municipal golf course in Kahuku, which the city operates as part of a lease with Campbell, could also become a private course under new ownership. But Campbell Estate says any sale of the golf course land would be subject to the city's lease.
The city owns the land in what is known as Kahuku Village IV, which has never been developed in the past 20 years because of flooding problems. It is located adjacent to the golf course and Kahuku Village V, which sits on Campbell lands.
Council Chairman Donovan Dela Cruz said some of the residents in the fifth phase had been waiting for the city to develop affordable housing in the fourth phase, but it never got the project under way. Now, he wants the city to push forward with developing its stalled subdivision.
Dela Cruz said he is glad the mayor is stepping in.
"The Council always welcomes the opportunity to work with the administration," he said.
Kahuku residents say they also welcome the mayor's involvement but said that any solution the mayor comes up with should include certain things. "Keep the golf course, keep the beachfront and keep the residents on that land," said Margaret Primacio, a vice president on the Kahuku Villages Association Inc. board.
"I think (the mayor) is sincere. We look forward to see what he's going to be able to do about it, but we as a people also know what we have to do ... keep it as much country as possible."
Board secretary Leslie Llanos said the mayor "wants to act as a mediator, so he asked us to give him a couple of weeks to try to find an investor that can help us. ... He can kill more than one bird, so to speak, with a stone by doing this and helping the people, and he's also helping Campbell and he's also helping his own political career."
Campbell Estate Executive Vice President Bert Hatton said in a statement, "We welcome the mayor's involvement and are hopeful that it will lead to a win-win situation for everyone involved."
In the meantime, Primacio and Llanos said the community will continue to support resolutions aimed at protecting the affordable homes, the golf course and the plantation way of life, including measures calling for the city to use its powers of eminent domain to condemn the land and seeking a land exchange. They say the resolutions at this point are giving them clout.
Some of those resolutions, authored by district Councilman Dela Cruz, are scheduled to be heard next week at a Council meeting to be held in neighboring Laie.
Campbell Estate has said talk of condemnation has scared away at least one prospective buyer who would have allowed the residents to keep their affordable rentals.
Hannemann said the last place he wants the city to end up is in court, and will try everything he can to keep litigation as a last resort.