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StarBulletin.com

A protest takes root


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POSTED: Thursday, December 24, 2009

KIoni Dudley, a retired professor and high school teacher, led the battle against D.R. Horton-Schuler Hawaii in its bid to urbanize 1,500 acres of prime agricultural land in Ewa to build 12,000 homes in a community it calls Hoopili.

His Friends of Makakilo group, with backing from the state Office of Planning and the heads of the state Transportation and Agriculture departments, won a state Land Use Commission ruling rejecting the developer's plan.

Dudley does not claim a single-handed victory.

“;We certainly have a good, large number of people ... working with us,”; he said. “;They were not only members of Friends of Makakilo, but also concerned citizens from Ewa, Ewa Beach, Kapolei and the Waianae Coast.

“;They were the people who went door to door and waved signs. They were the people who helped me in getting together town hall meetings and so forth,”; he said, naming Glenn Oamilda as well as his own wife, Doris Dudley—“;the super-organizer.”;

But the August decision ended just one battle.

The ruling was based on D.R. Horton-Schuler's failure to submit a plan detailing the timing, phasing and location of developing the community. Such detailed plans are required if a project will take more than 10 years to complete, and the Mililani- or Hawaii Kai-sized Hoopili development would take some 20 years.

“;Obviously, we're disappointed in the decision,”; Horton President Mike Jones told the Star-Bulletin at the time. The developer vowed to push forward “;to plan for the future of Hawaii, for future job growth and local housing.”;

There are currently 29,000 houses on the Ewa plain. Zoning has been approved for 33,000 more.

The additional 12,000 homes at Hoopili, on what is now prime farmland mauka of H-1, would require hauling away the rich topsoil and “;filling up our farmland with coral so they can build their houses,”; Dudley said. “;So it just plainly does not make sense.”;

The traffic problem is already huge, “;and we're going to double the population out here and try to put them on H-1,”; he said. “;Let's consider that for a minute.”;

Federal law will also require construction of “;10-foot, solid concrete cement-block walls along the freeway in order to prevent the sound of the freeway from going in to Hoopili,”; Dudley said. “;It's an urbanization of the country that is just unpalatable.”;

For Leeward-bound drivers, seeing the open space past Waipahu is good for the soul, Dudley said.

“;If we allow Hoopili, it's going to cause solid houses from Hawaii Kai to Ko Olina, unbroken city,”; he said. “;The Second City was supposed to be separate from the First City.”;