Kamehameha plans North Shore changes
The trust is re-evaluating its property, taking public comment and preparing to draft a plan
KAMEHAMEHA Schools, the state's largest private landowner, is re-evaluating the future of roughly 26,000 acres of land it owns on Oahu's North Shore.
The $6 billion trust is conducting a master plan for its North Shore property, which includes 15,000 acres of conservation land, 9,000 acres of agricultural land and 2,200 acres of rural community land zoned for commercial, agricultural and residential use.
Kamehameha Schools wants to make changes to improve what it deems underutilized land and infrastructure to support diversified agriculture, educational, cultural and economic projects.
NORTH SHORE PLANS REVISITED
What: Kamehameha Schools is re-evaluating its plans for its North Shore land.
Land types: 15,000 acres of conservation land, 9,000 acres of agricultural land and 2,200 acres of rural community land zoned for commercial, agricultural and residential use
Input: The trust began meeting with small groups of residents last year, and mailed about 2,000 surveys this week to randomly selected North Shore residents.
Timetable: Community meetings are scheduled through August; a definitive plan is expected to be completed by September and implemented shortly afterward.
"With the changes that are happening in agriculture, particularly biofuels and further diversification of agricultural in general, the land on the North Shore that is currently not under cultivation could be viewed as candidates for some of those uses," said Kekoa Paulsen, spokesman for Kamehameha Schools. "We don't have any preconceived ideas."
THE master plan includes 15 acres of commercial land along Kamehameha Highway throughout Haleiwa, some of which is underutilized, Paulsen said. Its largest commercial holdings in the area include the land beneath the North Shore Marketplace and Haleiwa Shopping Plaza.
Architecture firm Group 70 International Inc. won a contract to conduct the master plan. Kamehameha has held more than a dozen small-group meetings since last July, with three to 10 people at a time, and a planning workshop with about 150 North Shore residents in November.
Ward Research mailed about 2,000 surveys this week to randomly selected area residents to get broader input on what is needed in the community.
Additional meetings are scheduled through August. A plan is expected to be completed by September and implemented shortly afterward, said Giorgio Caldarone, Kamehameha Schools' regional asset manager, adding that full implementation could take 10 to 15 years.
"We're not doing another Turtle Bay. We're not doing another big resort -- it's almost the exact opposite of that," he said. "It's really about making the North Shore a better place by looking at traffic issues, infrastructure and preserving and enhancing agriculture."
Bart Smith, a Pupukea resident who attended one of the early community meetings last year, is concerned about any potential new developments on the North Shore.
"I think they have a lot of valuable land that could be put to good use," Smith said. "The main thing for people is to keep the country country."
NORTH SHORE resident Mary Barter, 61, said there remains widespread concern that the re-evaluation will merely result in more development in the largely rural area. "The community hopes that they did listen to what we have to say and that the meetings aren't just a PR exercise," she said.
Pupukea resident Larry McElheny, 62, who also attended one of the meetings, said, "They're obligated to periodically re-evaluate the best use of their lands. It's a perpetual trust -- it's not a typical business where they have an exit strategy and in 10 years they're going to sell and move on."
Kalani Fronda, Kamehameha Schools' land asset manager, said the trust is looking to strengthen sustainable activities and is considering "value-added" agricultural products, alternative energy, senior assisted living and affordable-housing projects -- proposals that came out of the community meetings.
Fronda said some vacant agricultural land could be repositioned for commercial use as a transportation hub and for entertainment venues, cultural activities and retail projects.