Diane Peters-Nguyen of the Limtiaco Co. has been named to a four-year term on the City & County Planning Commission.

Exec brings diverse
background to Honolulu
Planning Commission

Diane Peters-Nguyen

>> Day job: Vice president of corporate and public affairs for the Limtiaco Co.
>> New post: Honolulu City & County Planning Commission
>> Term: 4 years


Why did you want to serve on the commission? It is interesting, you know. In my work with the Limtiaco Co. I've gotten to see land use issues with a very broad perspective. I've worked with real estate development accounts as well as agriculture and diversified agriculture. It has given me a real interest in wanting to see that the concepts discussed under sustainable development are put into play. You could say Oahu is so built out already, why does it matter. But it does matter. We need to hear what the community has to say. That is a concept the city has taken very much to heart and I like that, I want to support that. So I wanted to get involved and to bring to the table a fresh perspective. I've become familiar with the interests of competing land uses and I think that has value. Also, being from here and coming back after being away, I can bring a diverse perspective and a real love for Hawaii.

Are there particular areas that interest you? Not really. I've seen enough of the process to realize there's a point at which all these layers are just an unreasonable burden. But you can't have development just going on pell-mell. So I'm interested in balancing the need for sensible oversight without creating unreasonable bureaucracy.

What are your goals as a commissioner? To bring enough understanding to each issue that I can make a responsible decision. When you serve on any board you have a duty to be at the meetings and to prepare for them. I plan to do that.

How is your participation in this arena related to your day job? It's not. I do have clients in these areas. I would recuse myself if anything came up that even hinted at a conflict of interest and I've made that clear to the City Council.

What do you think of the concept of Second City at Kapolei? The concept is a good one but there are some key things that need to be worked out before that. The transportation issue needs to be addressed before much more goes on out there.

What about Governor-elect Linda Lingle's expressway plan? I don't know enough about it. At this point, we need new ideas so let's look at everything that's offered.

Is Hawaii in danger of maxing out its water resources? I don't pretend to be an expert, but we do take a lot of things for granted. Oahu and some of the other islands are facing a time when we will not have enough drinking water. We need to look at recycling wastewater for irrigation and other alternatives.

What influence do you think Lingle's election will have on development in Hawaii? I hear people saying it's going to have a positive influence. I don't think that should be construed as buildings are going to start popping up left and right. There are some very strong anti-development forces in place and that's good. You've got to have a balance. There has to be development for growth. If you don't have growth, you don't have job creation and young people will have to leave. So you can't say development is a bad thing. The key is responsible development. That's what interests me.

Have you read "Land & Power (in Hawaii: The Democratic Years," by George Cooper and Gavan Daws)? I started that. I never finished it. I should now.

Do you think local developers and politicians are too cozy? I think there was certainly a case for that when the book was written. There's a shifting paradigm now, we'll have to see.

Inside Hawaii Inc. is a conversation with a member of the Hawaii business community who has changed jobs, been elected to a board or been recognized for accomplishments. Send questions and comments to

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