FL MORRIS / FMORRIS@STARBULLETIN.COM
The Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board met yesterday at Hahaione Elementary School to discuss a developer's revised proposal to build vacation cabins on a ridge above Kalama Valley.
‘No’ to vacation cabin plan
Residents reject the proposal for vacation cabins in Hawaii Kai
Several hundred people packed the Hahaione Elementary School cafeteria last night to hear about -- and oppose -- a proposal for hillside vacation cabins mauka of the Ka Iwi Coast.
It was the second time in as many years that the cabin proposal was before the Hawaii Kai Neighborhood Board.
Attorney William McCorriston had an uphill battle last night trying to win over residents at a special meeting of the board.
McCorriston said his client, QRM LLC, would cut in half its proposal to build 181 cabins on the bare hillside above the Hawaii Kai Golf Course in exchange for the community's support for the scaled-back project.
QRM and landowner Maunalua Associates, a subsidiary of Zurich Insurance, would give land mauka of Queen's Rise to a nonprofit conservation organization instead of building 98 cabins on it -- if the community would agree to 83 cabins on a second parcel in Mauuwai Valley, which is near Kalama Valley.
But that unexpected offer received no support when there was a call for a show of hands. A later call for a show of opposition had nearly all attendees raising hands.
Phil Estermann, of the Save Sandy Beach and Ka Iwi Coast coalitions, called the attempt "deja vu all over again." He said the proposal evoked past battles to stop condos at Queen's Beach and a hotel near Sandy Beach.
"It's sort of a sophisticated, but not too sophisticated, effort" to call the development "vacation cabins," he said. "Even us common people can see through this one."
Daryl Matthews said his father Dave Matthews, a longtime Ka Iwi Coast advocate who died last year, would "roll over in his grave if he knew that we had to come back and have to protest the same issue just one year later."
Matthews recalled that his father was in a wheelchair and using an oxygen tank when he protested the 2006 version of QRM's proposal, on "one of his last strong days on earth."
The board took no vote regarding the proposal, but it may do so at its regular Jan. 29 meeting, chairman Greg Knudsen said. The board's vote will be sent to the City Council as a recommendation.
But Knudsen questioned whether the board had adequate information since nothing has been filed with the city's Department of Planning and Permitting on the latest proposal.
The development is on preservation-zoned land, which now would require a major conditional-use permit.
A June 2006 proposal by QRM sought only a minor conditional-use permit, but was rejected by the city as not showing sufficient connection between the cabins and recreational use of the land. Since that time, the City Council raised the standard for such permits to a major conditional use permit, which means a public hearing would be required.