In Hawaii Kai, there’s no room for a tourist resort
The Hawaii Kai community has twice expressed its opinion regarding the proposed cabin development behind the Hawaii Kai Executive golf course. One-hundred percent of the persons attending the mayor's meeting on July 12, and the community board meeting several weeks earlier opposed the development. Each meeting had more than 200 citizens present.
The developer has not submitted a proposal to the city as yet, so it is premature for the administration to take a position. However, the developer has issued statements to the media and all the newspapers have reported them. The statement most commonly quoted is as follows:
QRM development director Aaron Eberhardt said in a news release about the project that it would meet the "demand for increased recreational opportunities for a growing portion of East Honolulu" by offering hiking, mountain biking, rock-climbing, swimming, tennis, volleyball, golf, horseback-riding, fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving to visitors.
Despite the smoke screen about meeting the needs of East Oahu, what is described in the statement is a tourist resort. It is a business enterprise aimed at visitors, not East Oahu residents. Few if any residents of Oahu will leave their homes (where they are paying sky high mortgages) and pay to stay in a cabin at Hawaii Kai. All the other activities described, such as hiking, mountain biking, rock-climbing, already exist, and are readily available to the public either at reasonable cost or no charge. We don't need this tourist resort to enjoy these activities.
Additionally, the proposal does not meet criteria of the East Oahu Sustainable Communities Plan or stipulations necessary for the issuance of a conditional use permit.
The Sustainable Communities Plan states, "A new or expanded resort destination in East Honolulu would be contrary to the General Plan policy." How more precise can this statement be? No tourist resort!
The conditional use permit, which would be required for development approval, calls for the use to contribute to the general welfare of the community-at-large or surrounding neighborhood. The proposed development fails this simple test. The golf course cabin development will bring vehicular traffic through Kalama Valley and on to Mokuhano Street. This street traverses a residential neighborhood. It is currently a dead end with extremely light traffic. The proposal, if approved, would create a 24/7 thoroughfare through this residential area leading to the resort.
Further, a continuation of this roadway beyond Mokuhano Street and alongside the golf driving range would require grading of the mountainside and installation of a high fence for protection of the roadway from errant golf balls. This grading and fencing would detract from the natural contours and erode scenic views we all enjoy.
Finally, the developer's proposal does not meet the permitted use for preservation zoning. While cabins may be permitted, a "tourist resort" hardly meets the definition envisioned when cabins were included as permitted uses. The cabins described are larger than many of the homes in which we live.
Citizens should see this proposal for what it is, and urge their legislators and city to deny any application which comes before them to build a tourist resort in Hawaii Kai.
Ed McCauley lives on Mokuhano Street in Hawaii Kai.