Council kills ban on building near rail line
The City Council is backing away from a proposed moratorium on development surrounding a future rail transit line.
The Council's Zoning Committee deferred indefinitely Bill 86, which would have designated areas a quarter-mile of the rail line and a half-mile of a transit station off-limits to development. Developers of public and private housing, retail and other projects opposed the bill.
"To ask developers, landowners and investors to stop projects they may have invested significant time, money and other resources will send the wrong message," Frederic Berg, president of the Hawaii Developers Council, said in written testimony.
The author of the bill, Councilman Gary Okino, said he originally sought to protect properties near the transit line and stations from low-density projects that might not be the best mix for developments surrounding transit.
"The benefits of this mass-transit project is to allow us to increase density around rail lines so we can put more people in our existing urban areas in a more efficient way, and so it would preclude us from having to take more agricultural, more open-space lands," Okino said.
But Okino said after visiting some of the areas that could potentially be affected and talking to developers about their plans, he said his fears were unfounded.
"There won't be any threats to lands close to those stations," he said yesterday before asking that the bill not be advanced.