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Waipahu folks urged to speak up about rail


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POSTED: Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Mayor Mufi Hannemann is urging Waipahu residents to voice their comments and concerns about proposed rail transit development in their neighborhood.

Community members will have that opportunity at a public meeting tonight.

Hannemann is set to unveil Transit-Oriented Development plans for the community at a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at the Waipahu Elementary School cafeteria.

Transit-Oriented Development relates to the structures surrounding the terminals for the rail transit system. It would include housing, commercial space and even recreation space around the transit stations.

The two transit terminals in Waipahu are located at Farrington Highway-West Loch, in front of Don Quijote, and the Waipahu Transit Center.

“;I think the bottom line is we really want to encourage the community to please come out and participate,”; Hannemann said yesterday at a news conference. “;This is your plan. This is your vision. This is your future.”;

Total cost estimates were not immediately available, but David Tanoue, director of the city Department of Planning and Permitting, said the city has priced out the various phases of the development plan.

The development is a 25-year project that has been vetted by community members through a series of six advisory meetings, officials said.

Thirty-two members of the community — including residents, developers, landowners and government officials — were part of the advisory boards.

“;We want to continue working with the city to flesh out these plans and continue to gather input from the community,”; said Richard Oshiro, chairman of the Waipahu Neighborhood Board.

The city plans to solicit further public input before submitting a final draft to the City Council by the end of April.

Officials noted that the draft being unveiled tonight still is in the early stages, and the city plans to examine ways to attract developers, such as public-private partnerships.

“;We want to be real careful about not getting too much ahead of ourselves,”; Hannemann said. “;We need to have a template, a vision, a plan the community can buy into. Then we can talk turkey in terms of what we need to do to entice a developer.”;