Ward-Ala Moana plan needs public input
Public comment is sought on a 60-acre residential and retail project in Kakaako.
THE state agency in charge of redevelopment in Kakaako does not want a rerun of public hostility and a legislative slap-down it went through two years ago concerning a project on makai lands in the district.
Lesson learned, the Hawaii Community Development Authority is actively seeking public opinions on a master plan that will transform the Ward Avenue and Ala Moana Boulevard area with a mix of residential and retail structures of varying heights.
Just as the agency is acting responsibly, so should residents and other interested parties make their views known now before HCDA makes a decision to accept or reject General Growth Properties' 60-acre project.
The massive enterprise has many components that are expected to alter view planes, the skyline, streets and the overall surroundings through the next 20 years.
HCDA has begun an effort to get community comments, sending out postage-paid cards to nearby residents, running newspaper and radio ads and setting up a phone line after a public presentation in May drew few people. The agency also will conduct a hearing later this year, but must decide before a Feb. 1 deadline or the plan will automatically be approved.
Some neighborhood leaders already have criticized the plan, mostly because buildings as much as 400 feet tall will block some mauka-makai views and because density will be increased with 4,000 more residential units.
The agency is trying to avoid a repeat of a disruptive episode when public opposition and a legislative ban shut down a proposal by Alexander & Baldwin for retail and residential development near Kewalo Basin.
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