New law opens up possibilities near rail transit stations


POSTED: Thursday, March 26, 2009

A bill that would permit new land uses around rail transit stations was signed into law yesterday by Honolulu Mayor Mufi Hannemann.

Hannemann, who has favored developing a rail system from Kapolei to Ala Moana, said the transit bill will allow greater flexibility in planning a “;vibrant transportation system that will help all of us.”;

During a news conference at Beach Walk Plaza yesterday, the mayor also signed into law a bill that allows Waikiki businesses an easier process for developing and posting signs.

Waikiki Improvement Association President Rick Egged said the new sign law will provide more ease for businesses, including the placement of their names on parking structures serving their enterprises.

“;It's going to make a big difference to our Waikiki businesses,”; Egged said.

The transit bill establishes “;Transit-Oriented Development Zones”; around rail transit stations that would allow for more efficient land use by a number of means, including the elimination or reduction of minimum off-street parking requirements and allowing of higher urban densities.

City Planning Director David K. Tanoue said the public meetings will be held in respective communities to receive suggestions about the special districts.

The city has held several meetings already in the Waipahu area, he said.

Tanoue said the Planning Department will eventually draft a zoning bill incorporating various suggestions.

The law calls for planners to avoid the “;gentrification”; of special districts and to allow for mixed uses, including affordable housing.