Aina Haina condo permit denied
The city cites concerns about the community and structural impacts
The city has denied an Aina Haina developer's request to build a cluster housing project because of unknown drainage impact, questionable site conditions, and because it just does not match the rest of the area.
A 15-unit condominium was proposed to the city, but was met with resistance from nearby residents, who cited a history of unstable soil and falling rocks.
On Oct. 25, the city Department of Planning and Permitting denied developer Kent Untermann's request for building on the land. Untermann, owner of L&K Investments LLC, said he is going back to the drawing board to address the city's concerns.
"Because of community concerns, the city had more scrutiny, and we didn't do a good enough job," Untermann said. "We'll be resubmitting something later."
The permit rejection letter from Planning and Permitting Director Henry Eng stated that the project's impact on existing drainage facilities is unclear.
"It is not certain that alterations to drainage and seepage patterns can be mitigated to minimize effects on existing and proposed structures," Eng said. "In addition, the potential construction impacts to existing roadways and structures, and plans to remediate those impacts, have not been adequately addressed."
Eng also said addressing issues like rockfall, debris flow and slope stability would be costly and intrusive to current and future residents.
And lastly, the project would be inconsistent with the rest of the neighborhood, which has rows of single-family dwellings.
"Given the high visibility of the site and the nature, scale and scope of the development, the proposal would significantly alter the form and appearance of the hillside, and create a negative impact," Eng said. "Therefore the applicant should pursue other development options, which would have less visual, drainage, traffic and other detrimental impacts on the community."
Untermann said he will be meeting with Aina Haina Elementary School officials today to discuss the future of his project.
Some residents praised the decision, but said they remain cautious because of other vacant parcels of land on steep hillsides that are residentially zoned.
They also ask city officials to consider adding public notification to the permitting process to involve the community. No public hearings are required for the permitting process.
"We're not trying to be the building department," said Aina Haina resident Phil Manly. "I think the best thing we can do is try to help the city understand what the community is feeling."